Going places with T. usually includes some significant interchange with the public.
My husband and I have seen it from a skinny, white boy in a faded Mega Death t-shirts at the DMV who takes the time from looking sullen and bored to breaking into a crinkly smile and saying, “Dude, really great kid” after an impromptu break dance by T. in front of everyone waiting for their number to be called to a gaggle of dental hygienists at the dentist who left their duties to stand around him while he picked out his after exam toy.
In this instance – an officious looking woman sauntered over. I thought she would get these women back to work and she ended up staying. She joined the rest of them in guessing what prize he would ultimately decide to take home???!!!
I felt like a real buzz kill but I finally put a stop to this 10-minute will-it-be-the-moose-mask-or-the-miniature-kaleidoscope-or-the-pencil-with-the-streamers-show and I made him pick something so we could leave. It was the moose mask.
I tend to be an introvert in a new social scene. I try to pick a person or two I know and glom onto them for the evening. Going to the bathroom or getting food creates sort of an anxiety because what if someone takes my seat and I have to find a new person(s)? My strategy is to ask a lot of questions of other people. Get them talking about themselves. I make others comfortable so they will want to stay with me.
Where as, T. tends to take over the room. At a recent gathering – T. started by doing the splits just to get the party started. He had most of the attention of the 12 adults in the room – the other 5 children present were playing together upstairs. He moved into performance art – using just a borrowed Spider Man mask and his mad skills he engaged the entire room in an exchange of everybody wear the mask!
I sat with my mouth open watching while my son worked the room for 20 minutes getting these strangers to put on a mask – with a mix of admiration and something close to horrified by the blatant display of attention getting shtick.
Clearly, T. has a charismatic personality and I don’t know how much it has to do with him having Down syndrome.
I do know that this miniature prima donna could teach me a thing or two.