02 03 Notes from the School Psychologist: OJ is Going to Jail 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

OJ is Going to Jail

You are thinking: “How is OJ Simpson’s latest pending incarceration possibly related to educational psychology?”

WELL. This is a full-service blog, people!

As I picked up my morning paper today, I saw that OJ was going to jail for 9 years and I smiled, not because I particularly enjoy when ex-athletes get incarcerated, but because I have a fond memory of an autistic child I worked with who could not stop talking about OJ Simpson. It was one of his “things.” As many readers know, one of the characteristics that can be present in children with Autism is both restricted interests* and echolalia (repetition of words or phrases). This particular boy was into OJ. Now this was 2 full years after OJ’s acquittal, and he always repeated, in the same voice tone, “OJ’s going to jaaaaaaaaaaaaail!” As in:

Me: Hi, how are you today?
Him: OJ’s going to jaaaaaaaaaaaaail!
Me: Honey, OJ isn’t going to jail. They let him go.
Him: OJ’s going to jaaaaaaaaaaaaail!
Me: OJ is not going to jail.
Him: I want juice.

*ten seconds elapse*

Him (screaming and running up and down the stairs ): OJ’s going to jaaaaaaaaaaaaail! OJ’s going to jaaaaaaaaaaaaail! OJ’s going to jaaaaaaaaaaaaail!

I can’t help but wonder this morning if that kid feels totally vindicated today.

*Be careful before you self-diagnose your 8-year-old child or nephew as “Autistic” because he is really into trains, Bakugan Battle Toys, biking or PS2. Those are normal restricted interests. We’re talking about RESTRICTED interests that are waaaay beyond the scope and intensity of normal fads and hobbies.

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