Qui suis je?

Maman: Un petit garçon très attachant qui a besoin de beaucoup de structure et de rassurance. Qui a besoin de beaucoup d'amour, comme tous les petits garçons d’ailleurs, attachant ou non. Et qui n'est pas cassé ou n'a pas besoin d'être "réparé". Si on cessait de voir les personnes autistes comme "cassées", malades, pas comme nous, on pourrait créer une meilleure place pour elles – et pour nous - dans la société. Parce qu’elles ont le droit d’exister pleinement dans la société, pas dans des écoles à part, dans des stages à part, des activités à part, cachées, pour que leur apparence, leurs particularités, leurs tics, leurs anxiétés et crises n’offensent pas le regard des gens "normaux".

Papa: Mon partenaire de randonnée. Un garçon drôle et affectueux qui est curieux et aime explorer tant qu'il se sent en sécurité et qu'il a suffisamment de structure et de points de référence en place. Celui qui m'a poussé à me remettre en question et à changer plus que n'importe qui ou n'importe quoi d'autre.

Matei lives with his mom and dad in Brussels. Both his parents have been born in another country and have come to Belgium about a decade ago. He is an only child.

Matei likes to build elaborate stories for his paper cutout friends. he brings these friends with him in the trips he takes with his dad. He organizes for them school days at home, in which he acts as teacher or school principal.

Il peut entrer dans une crise de rire à partir de rien. Toutes les émotions sont ressenties et exprimées intensément. Il écrit souvent des textes invisibles avec son doigt en l'air.

Matei expects things to happen in a certain way. Predictability is reassuring for him. He may have a hard time accepting a sudden change in the schedule.

Il est doué pour l'orientation spatiale et temporelle, les mathématiques et la planification.

Matei is sociable but social codes are still a mystery for him. Sometimes, when he meets people for the first time, he asks about their name, age, and address. He knows the birthdays of everybody by heart.

Matei has three questions ready when he meets someone for the first time: “What is your name? “, ” How old are you ? and “Where do you live?” “. The questions always follow this order. If the name is not a problem, people start to be hesitant about their age or address. However, it’s surprising how many of them end up pleasing Matei. I guess some people understand the game (“these are the things that make it easier for me to communicate with you”) and decide to play it. We all need our anchors to connect.

Être dans la nature

M. takes a lot of trips with his dad. Most of these are short, 2-3 day trips not far from home. Still, preparing such a trip is not easy. For him, as for many kids with autism, it’s important to know in advance what the place looks like and what the program will be. It’s also essential that they leave home exactly when planned, not one minute later.

Les destinations de ces voyages sont fortement négociées. M. est assez accommodant avec n'importe quel programme pourvu que ses souhaits soient pris en compte : une visite au McDo et au supermarché du coin. Il ne se plaint jamais d'avoir à marcher trop longtemps mais il demandera des collations toutes les demi-heures.

Les moments passés en silence à marcher le long d'une rivière ou à suivre un sentier étroit dans les bois sont les meilleurs. Il y a suffisamment de silence et d'espace pour que M. et son père soient seuls avec leurs pensées mais ensemble. Il n'est pas nécessaire de décrire ou d'expliquer. La communication est réduite à l'essentiel : soif, faim, repos, réconfort, soin.

Il y a beaucoup de choses qui peuvent être communiquées en silence. Il y a une énergie qui se déplace et qui a besoin de suffisamment de silence et de présence pour se faire sentir. Les mots peuvent surgir ici et là mais ils n'ajoutent rien d'important à ce flux d'énergie.

Petite pause le long de la rivière

Cartes mentales

M. aime savoir où il est et où il va. Il est toujours bien orienté dans l'espace et dans le temps. Lorsqu'il conduisait vers leur prochaine destination, son père demandait parfois à M. où ils se trouvaient. Sans avoir de portable, de carte ou quoi que ce soit d'autre, il répond presque toujours correctement.

He likes to draw maps of the city’s public transportation system. He uses different colors for the different types and lines of transport. M. is able to tell exactly which buses and trams pass by a certain stop. His mind seems to run a simulation of the entire transport system.

M. dessine un de ses plans des transports publics bruxellois.


Matei has difficulty reading and extracting meaning from text. Without visual support, concepts are difficult to manage. Causal relationships are difficult to understand and he sometimes confuses cause and effect when asked to explain why he said or did something. On the other hand, he is good with numbers and spatial orientation. When he travels in the car with his father, he is able to know where they are along the way, without a map.

Matei instantly remembers almost everything from the past: the places he visited, the people he met, that morning when Dad was angry with him because he shouted a lot. He can tell without hesitation on which day of the week a particular future date will fall. At school, he does well at most tasks but gets bored quickly and rushes through tasks just so he can finish and change activities.
Finding the right balance between routine and exploration is a moving target. Matei was very adamant when it came to discovering new places during his weekly trips out of town with his father. Not only did he ask over and over again to go to the same 2-3 places, but he wanted to do the same things in the same order while he was there. Today, a few years later, he looks for new places on the map and negotiates the program of the visit with his father every week. Some things stay the same, such as stopping at a restaurant along the way. But much else is likely to change, and the need for control and predictability seems to have faded to just a few things.


Matei needs a lot of attention and affection to regulate his own emotions. Sensory and emotional regulation go hand in hand. He often asks to feel his mother’s eyelashes against his face. Or pressing his lips to the corners of Dad’s eyes. Or even putting your fingers in your parents’ eyes. It’s sensory. It’s not comfortable for the other person. It’s repetitive. But it is his way of letting out a whirlwind of emotions and affects. It’s their way of asking for connection or reassuring themselves that the connection is still there.
For Matei, verbal expressions of affection are rare. When they appear, they appear unexpectedly and without an obvious link to any antecedent. For a long time, Matei’s mother would lie down with him at night until he fell asleep, which could take up to two hours. She always wished him goodnight as she lay down. One night he started replying “I love you.” It lasted about ten days, a good night on one side and an I love you on the other.

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