Thriving School Psych Thriving Students

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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Comments on OJ is Going to Jail

  1. Kelley says:

    Wait, I am stuck on the beginning of the post, where you say “When I picked up the paper..” Rebecca Ann Bell is reading the paper? What’s next – watching the news? Ah, you have blossomed so much since our graduate school years.
    Also, please elaborate on when an obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine is part of a typical, age-appropriate restricted interest and when it becomes a RESTRICTED interest….

  2. I know! Turns out that when I don’t have 8 hojillion articles to read for grad school, I have space for these things! Old habits die hard though…I still am not a subscriber. I glance at neighbor’s newspaper every morning to make sure I’m not missing out on something major. 🙂

    Thomas, I’m sad to say, will be with your family until your last child is at least age 6. Just stay away from purchasing the DVDs or you will have to watch them over and over again! Mr. Toppenhatt kind of creeps me out.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another example of a restricted interest: As a high school German teacher, I had a lovely ninth grader, that could only communicate with me as either James Brown, "CAN WE HIT IT AND QUIT IT? CAN WE HIT IT AND QUIT IT, FRAU?" or Larry/Moe/Curly, *WHOOOP WHOOOP WHOOP WHOOOOP WHOOOOOP! BONK! OW!*
    Now, if only I could get him to do this in the target language….

  4. Rebecca says:

    How do you say "Can we hit it an quit it" in German anyway? I've been dying to know 😉

    Good example!

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