Yesterday, Josh, my sweet, severely autistic ten-year-old—my non-verbal ten-year-old–dropped the F bomb.

Oh My God. Everybody heard it. My eyes and mouth flew wide open. It came out of nowhere. I mean, how did he navigate a voiceless fricative? He didn’t even bite his lower lip. I’m so proud of him.

This is a breakthrough. Where did he even pick it up? I bet you fifty bucks it was his hippie aide. He’s denying it, though. He’s pointing the finger at me. Me? I don’t use the F word. No really, I don’t. I use the S word. Shit works just fine for me. And when you consider that Josh has bowel disease I get to use it all the time. And when you consider that most people are full of it I get to use it all the time.

The F word is vulgar and should be uttered sparingly. Like with your husband, but not his family. Shit is a constant. And I’ve seen some pretty scary shit. Especially bullshit. I’ve also seen chicken shits, dumb shits, and dipshits. I’ve known shitheads who’ve ended up on my shit list, and I’ve been scared shitless over my shitload of responsibilities. My son has the shits, I feel like shit, and I suffer from shitty days. But I digress. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the F word.

Well, I suppose I’ll have to curb his usage in public. Josh doesn’t know what it means but most people do, and it just isn’t socially acceptable. It’s kind of funny, I still fantasize about the day when my son’s brain unlocks and he’ll be able to express himself fully. I’m pretty sure he’ll look me straight in the eye and say, “What the fuck, Mom?  I can talk now, and I’m sick of listening to your shit!”

About the author: Shelley Stolaroff Segal is a playwright, actor, composer, and essayist living in Greensboro, NC. My Son, her play about autism and race, premiered in NYC and was presented as a TED talk at TEDx East.  Her most recent productions were all-female variety shows presented in honor of International Women’s Day. Her non-fiction essays and articles have been published in the books, Voices from the Spectrum, Cup of Comfort/Autism, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the magazine, Autism/Aspergers Digest. She’s ENFP married to an INTJ, and loves raising her fraternal twins, Josh and Jordan. You can watch her TED talk here.


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