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Conversational dialogue with Masako Sakurai

Sakurai, Masako
Ahn, Jae-Young
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming obstacles; Relationships with people and places
Masako Sakurai talks about the difficulties and challenges of raising an autistic child.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jae-Young Ahn interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
MS (Masako Sakurai): ( ) Mind. So we, of course, me, and didn't know, um, what is real autisms person. Um, but after had a son, I too, I studied about autism, autism. So I read a little bit to learn about autisms person. So I, I, I know what is autism real, means what is autism. So, mmm, it is very difficult to understand after, to understand. Mmm, usually, usual, mmm, kind of, um, many, many, many, ah, many, many, ah, what it is? Many, many, [long pause] many [pause] [giggle]. Sorry just a little bits. Uh [pause], uh, and they have a, they have a eng-, eng-, ah, ah, accurate, accurate, accurate, um, trouble. So, um, usual, mmm, usual, usual sense, ah, and, other way, um, usual sense and, um, common sense not to equal, um, ah, them not have autisms person. Ah, eh, and so, for example, um, kind of five sense, uh, it is not all different. But many kind of, au-, have an autism person, ah, ah, ah, diff-, different for us. Uh, for example, my son when he was little child, um, he has trouble, um, kind of sense. So one sense, ah, touch, uh, it's so, so, hard to other, ah, the things. For example, um, sand, uh, outside sand, so he never touched it. Um, but now he's OK because, uh, he to learn, ah, he to learned what is [clap] many kind of, many kind of, uh, to touch. So after, um, little bit, um, changed, uh, touch or kind of feeling, touch feeling. So now it's not so, um, different for us. And, when we're kind of sense, um, taste, taste sense is, of course, I don't know what kind of taste, but, um, sometimes I, I thought different to us.
BREAK IN RECORDING MS: Mmm, now I eat, um, but, a little bit of, for example, make a cookie. So first time not to use kind of sugar, but a little bit, um, add more, more add sugar. So now is he likes, not all but little bit, a kind of sweet food. So, um, [long pause] oh, and behavior? Um, so he had a disability, but, um, if, ah, don't know about kind of autisms children or autisms person. So if we teach something, ah, sometimes too hard to learn, or, ah, him to learn, to learned of him. So, eh, um, sometimes we want to more to learn, um, so we hurry up but, um, he won't to, um, he won't want to hurry, because he can't, just can't. Uh, he, he not, he's not, doesn't no, no, he not do. Um, it means he want to, ah, ah, he want to slow, um, he wants slow, he want not slow, um, just slow [laugh]. OK, ah, um, and some person have a, um, behavior, kind of beha-, behaviors trouble. So sometimes is, um, sometimes have many trouble behavior, behavior of many trouble. Um, for example, um, compare by itself, and is it correct? Compare? I can't, I'm sorry, bite, bite, bite self, um, scratch, pinch, or hits self, um, bumps on, uh, head, bite others, and scratches, pinches, or hits others. Um, grabs other people. Um, touches other, um, ina-, ina-, inappropriately and, ah, throws, throws, throws things. Oh, it's trouble, so and, um, gets into, into personal belongings. Learn the way it's so hard, um, not if he was, when I was child so learn the way. But now he's, if I called his name he return now. So before, um, when I know Ricky's little child, I can never, ah, never, ah, when I, um, when I go and I went, uh, shopping. So I never paid the money because if I, uh, if I know Ricky's hand, ah, what you say? Um, I never catched. If I not touch, how to say sorry, um, um, slow, eh, after soon know Ricky run away. So it means I never paid money and of course returned money. So it's so hard sometimes think, just think he need some kind of rope, some kind of yeah, but now he's, um, um I count. And, um, climbs, um, furniture. It's, yes. I, I, mmm, know Ricky's friend come my home so he climbs any, any furniture. So, of course, not low, of course, highest furniture. Yes, he likes very much. So it's, um, even roof. It's never, ah, mind.
JA (Jae-Young Ahn): Uh-huh.
MS: Yeah, and bites others, dumps, ah, "Be, be quiet Rick-, Ricky," um, strips own clothing.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: Yeah, so children is little bit easy to raise, um, no proven but chil-, when children is not so many.
JA: \\ Uh-huh. \\
MS: \\ But, um, \\ adult ages person sometimes have, ah, this problem. It's so parents or other unlearned people it's so hard. Yeah, ex-, expo-, exposes self no public, in public. Ah, yes. And here, OK. So many kind of problem and they have a, a behaviors, behave, kind of, um, behaviors.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: But that is, um, that trouble is from not autism.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: Which means we make, maybe we make, um, this trouble, these troubles. So, um, you own trouble is kind of, um, um, we don't know where, we don't explain what is, uh, real. Um, why is um, um, why is, ah, being autism. So, um, but autisms own trouble is just brain. So we don't understand after, um, don't under-, understand what is autisms. But we hope more better, and no, we hope better than now, so, um, we often to teach not good, um, no, not, not good, um, not good, um, method, use method. So after that, um, second program or third program?
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: Is it OK? Uh, so, after that um, maybe lots of, uh, behaviors trouble there is. Yeah. And, oh, so and for example, no, Ricky can't speak, um, conversation. But um, if he can't speak, ah, kind of communication, but we need of course, he need kind of communications things. So, um, if he hope, maybe he hope, ah, his program to, to, to learn, um, his hope and a kind of anyway, kind of communication. So I, um, um, I teach him. When I teach him he don't use speaks. So, um, I use, um, many kind of picture and, or photo. And sometimes use, ah, um, um, sometimes word write, write down, write, downs, write downs word, um, first time. Um, if he, um, for example, if he want something, um, how to use, um, to understand of him. No? Yeah. So, for example, tick- tickly- tick me-, um, [long pause] OK, ah, tickle, tickle, tickle me. So, um, for example, about I, I told him, "Tickle me." So first time, uh, I make write down the word "tickle me." Of course he don't understand what, what, "me" mean. So first time, um, just, um, tickle. "No, Ricky." So he likes of course, he likes tickled. So many times tickled after I point, ah, this me-, memo-, memo-, memorized, memorized? Memorized. So if I, um, want tickle, touch this memorized. So second, of course, want more touch. So he little bit how to use, understand, um, what means just use tickle. Other things no, not used. So, um, so to learn and learned, he, eh, don't understand. Ah, if don't understand, ah, of course, understand no problem. Just touch this memorized. So anyway in he know if he touch this memorized, so tickled himself. I tickled him. Other, other person tickles him. So, um, yes, tickle. Yes, tickle. Tickle. So he understand what's just one word, just one word. [Background noises] So, um, yes, so it's, it's several, several word, ah, used these, these kind of things.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: So, and, who, for example, kind of foods name or whose, um, what is, what do, what is, what's, what is, what does he want? Um, what does, food he want? Um, so first time, of course, he, I use, uh, his likes food, for example, apple, apple. If he want apple, um, usual first time use object apple, apple. So and, if he eat apple, uh, when he eat apple, I make picture or, uh, photo. And together, um, object and, um, pictures together to use. So if he eat, want to eat, just touch picture and next, ah, he, he can eat. So many times use it, he understand, um, uh, useful, it is useful for himself, so he, um, um, pointed that picture, uh, he, um, if he, um, when he want to eat. So, um, many kind of, um, many kind of, ah, many kind of, um, way, um, he have to learn. So we need, we need, um, many, we need many, sorry just wait, ah, creative-.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: Creative things. Yes. So, um, anyway he can't use, um, word, um, but we, um, um, never use, um, never use word, if we never use word, uh, we, we understand each other. Um, for example use picture and if someone deaf can't of course, they, that person can't speak. But, um, um, that person use, um, how do you say? Uh, use gesture, or how to say, use a, use a finger, finger, finger conversations, communications. It's, ah, enough to know each other.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: Yes. I think so. So, um, many kind of communications we, we have and, um, we should have that way, yes.
JA: Ah, and can you tell me other autistic people?
MS: Ah, um, so it means, ah, so, some trouble.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: Some trouble, for example, what is, what is, um, ah, how about Temple Grandy? Temple Grandy. Ah, um, it's Americans professor. Her name is Temple Grandy, um, she has, um, high intelligent autism. So he can speak well.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: But sometimes have, um, sometimes have behaviors problem. But he, she, have a high, uh, intelligence. So how to, to learn, um, to learn um, [child sounds][laugh] OK. OK. [Long pause] Yes. So she has, uh, to learn own sense way, um, she, um, [child laughing] about, about kind, kind of five sense, about five sense. She has, uh, hard trouble five sense, one, one of five sense. Um, uh, touch? Touch sense is trouble, uh, for example she never touch fur coat. Um, um, it's fur coat, fur coat goes touch sense, um, kind of sandpaper for her. Um, that's, that's, that is usual person never understand, never understand. So, and, uh, um, she, ah, and she has higher intelligence so but, um, even hard for her to pick out dog and cat is, um, they're very different. "What is different dog or cat?" Um, usual, usual we don't never explain. But we can which is cat, which is dog. We can understand. But if asked that, um, "What is, what is different," maybe we can't explain, not too, at least not soon. So, um, her way, eh, to know, each different, uh, first time, um, he, uh, no, she uh, thinking of, uh, kind of, um, shape, kind of shape, which means, uh, big is bigger than, dog is bigger than cat. So first time dog is big, cat is small. But, um, when, um, her, when she saw the small dog, um, um, that, ah, nevers has small dog. Uh, and, so she, she saw that one's small. Small is cat but that is a dog. So, uh, and she changed, uh, changed his, uh, her thinking, um, um, ah, where is different cat and dog. So, next time she, uh, she think about dog, ah, dog's nose is bigger than cat, cat's nose. Now is, uh, her way, nose, big nose is dog, small nose is cat. So we never think about maybe, "What is dog, what is cat."
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: If, um, but we understand, why we understand-.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: -We don't know but we can. Yes, and, ah, [pause] [laugh] eh, [pause] ah, and one way, one way, yes, I remember. Ah, concept-.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: -Uh, for her, Temple Grandy? Um, and she said, uh, it's difficult about concept. Uh, we maybe not difficult, for example, what is fruit? Maybe we can't explain, what is fruit and vegetable, but we understand. Um, it's not vegetable, is not all name, fruit either. So, um, for example, um, up and down, maybe, "on" or, "up" this means on, ah. On under, up under, which is first? And this flower is on the TV. This flower, under the TV.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: Oh, yes. So, uh, uh, for her, too difficult. Um, "on," for example, "on and under." On is where, under is where.
JA: Oh.
MS: Yes so, uh, it's so hard for her to understand "on" and "under." We never think about what is "on?" What is "under?" Maybe, um, we can if not round but we understand that means so kind of, um, kind of, um, concept. So why she can't understand? Uh, one time, I help her to well but maybe, some, some, um, some emergency things, things happen.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: So she under the desk. So it mean, uh, under, uh, not desk. So she, that time, from that time she understand what is under. But under is many things under.
JA: Uh-huh.
MS: So um, sometimes difficult for her but, uh, under the table, under the desk, under the TV, under the, uh, building, under the building. So many case to learn. [Child noises] So after that, not just under. Many case she know many case under. So it's means many different ah, ah, ah, wait. [Pause] [Water running] So usually we say we think about just concept. But, for her one each one way to understand, um, for example, under is many under so understand to what is under. Yeah, so, usual autisms person maybe, ah, we to learned about to, uh, everything, everything. But they autisms persons, uh, of course, many kind of understand things but, uh, different way they have. Yeah, um, is it, uh, OK? I'm finished. [Laugh] It's OK, yeah. I'm finished.
JA: [Laugh] Thanks so much, umm.
MS: Finished.