Touch Me, Touch Me Not

A few weeks ago, I tried to pat Robert’s head. With a swift and determined movement of his head, he prevented me from doing that. It felt strange. As if he were afraid of being hit. I was surprised by this reaction, which had never happened before. But then, I didn’t remember stroking his hair either. It was probably not because I didn’t do that in the past, but because I did it almost instinctively. Had Robert ever reacted by tilting his head to avoid being touched, I would have noticed.
I tried again, a few days later. The same reaction.
A few weeks passed. Robert, Jan, and I were meeting our friends at Burger Joint in Bethesda. As I was talking about Robert with friends, we had not seen for a long time, my hand stretched to pat Robert’s head. Swift movement allowed Robert to avoid being touched. Our friend made a connection with the movie There is Something About Mary and considered this behavior to be typical of autism. Except, that for me, it was relatively new. So was Robert becoming “more” autistic?
Another week passed. Robert, Jan, and I were eating at Outback with Robert’s grandmother. Again, my hand stretched and I stroke Robert’s hair. He did not try avoid being touched, but was quite happy. Moreover, he took my hand and with a smile placed it on his head repeating the movement.
I wondered.
1. Was that because on some days Robert is more and on some days less “autistic”?
2. Was it because, he was growing and found such displays of affection not appropriate in some circumstances, but acceptable in others?
I wonder…

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