Emma Nicholson talks about her autistic son Ben and how she taught him to swear

Emma and Ben

Emma and Ben

Emma Nicholson, Charlottesville, Virginia – recently blogged over on Huffington Post on how she taught her autistic son to swear. Her son Ben is now 19.

Emma says in her blog:

“I realized it was time to teach Ben the underbelly of language when he came home from middle school and asked me if “p***y” was a bad word. It seems several of his classmates asked him if he knew a word that started with “p” and was another word for “cat.” Of course, he fell for the joke and got in trouble for spewing a most unacceptable word in class.”

You can read the blog post here

Emma then goes on to say that she would eventually have to teach Ben these words and that she was dreading the task.

We were eager to learn more about Emma and her son Ben and how she came to the decision that she needed to teach him how to swear.

We asked Emma what the early years were like for her and Ben. She told us that Ben was diagnosed with moderate autism in 1996 aged 2.

Ben's Senior Portrait

Ben’s Senior Portrait

Emma explains:

“Getting services for him was more difficult than it is now and the process was exhausting.”

Ben started to receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, and he attended a private preschool for children with autism until age 5.

Emma told us that when Ben started first grade in the public school system she had to fight for him to be in a typical classroom with a full-time aide. She did this because she had seen him regress in a self-contained special education class when in kindergarten.

He was the first student in the system to have this service.

Emma told us that although the aide was wonderful, she had no formal training in autism and the school did not offer her support with training opportunities. Therefore Emma together with the aide designed systems to help Ben with the academic and social difficulties he encountered.

Emma told us that Ben did not begin to speak comfortably in conversations until around age 10.

“Up until that time, his speech was limited to brief answers and repetition of questions. During middle school, he began to speak more naturally and quickly caught up with his peers.”

BenBen graduated from high school last year with a full diploma and now attends community college and has just completed his first semester with a 3.0 average.

“Ben is an avid reader, movie fan, and gamer. He enjoys writing and is planning to be a journalist.”

Emma told us that Ben is socially expanding every day.

“He makes a point to seek out people to “hang with” during his breaks in school.”

We told Emma that her sense of humour comes across when reading her blogs and we asked her if she uses humour to get through the day.

“Our household is a fun one as humour is important to us. It was difficult to get Ben to understand sarcasm and jokes but now he is an expert and cracks us up with his impressions.”


Read about how Emma taught Ben to swear in the next instalment of Jo Worgan’s interview with the Huffington Post blogger.

You can follow Emma’s on Huffington Post here

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Her blog Hot Flashes of inspiration can be found here