I don’t want to read one more article on what causes autism and what might cure it. I also don’t particularly like reading about ways to help your child “fit in”. The world is made up of many people who see, feel, and think differently. We need to start being ok with a world that doesn’t look and do things one way. We might be ok to see someone jumping on the spot because it calms them. We might recognize that someone needs to chill and be alone and that doesn’t mean they are mean or that they are angry with you. We might not call someone lazy because they don’t want to jump from their school day to another activity or don’t like to partake in certain events. Taking in your sensory world like a herd of galloping clydesdales is exhausting! Trust me! Let them focus on the things they love..help them find confidence in doing things that use their natural talents and bring them peace! That way, their precious stores of incredible, abundant or limited, energy will be used in the best way!
We might not laugh about someone who speaks awkwardly because we would know it’s just because their mind is going 1000 miles a minute and they can’t instinctively find the right words at the right times. We think and speak and wonder and rearrange and worry and visualize all in the same moment. We wouldn’t freak out over a meltdown in public because, hey, being out in public is a touch tortuous. Being with people who don’t know how and why it is, makes it even more painful. Like being the only one who can see a tornado coming, nobody else is sweating and screaming and when it is over your little house is the only thing that got blown over and everyone is looking at you….then you retreat into solitude to feel confused but also feel happy that you’re now alone.
We would start making things easier for each other instead of trying to chop down a person’s strongest roots. Eliminate the undesirable behaviours….grrrr hate that term. Here’s the thing…if you give me a chance to breathe and step back and close a door, I can do so much more than if you downplay my emotions or remove comfort zones or routines.
You can’t just say “oh we make him/her do this/that because autism doesn’t rule our life” I just cringe anytime I hear people talk like that because that sounds like they are disregarding the difficulty their loved one has with certain outings or situations. You actually DO need to adjust your life a little. Great things come from gentle, loving encouragement. And allowing time for our minds to get wrapped around whatever it is your wishing us to do. I like a start time, an end time, break time, and the ability to be comfortable wherever it is we are headed. I might agree to lunch out, but I don’t want to sit at a table by the line up waiting to be seated or in the path of the glaring offensive sun beaming through a curtain-less window. You wouldn’t pour a 10 kg bag of flour into a teacup. Or put a lovely dinner salad in the blender. Why would you do that to your beautiful salad? I’d much rather let my salad be a salad and let my smoothie enjoy the blender. One simple step back can give someone struggling the power to move 100 steps forward. Trust me on this. Enough.
If you know someone who has autism, know that they’re doing the very best they can at every possible moment. It’s the only way they know. If you are able to help someone get through their day a little easier you can then see just how super fabulously smart, dedicated and kind they are.
When someone sees their path ahead full of scary beasts, and they know they have to get through it no matter what they go in cringing and screaming and waiting for pain. Torture. Then guess what? They get to look forward to a replay every day of their life. Enough. I grew up with all kinds of sensory issues that I worked at 100%, 24/7 just to “fit in”. That fitting in felt like fighting the beasts. I still have to work at it every day. I have a husband who recognizes when I’m struggling and does his best to protect me from the big scary world hahha. He finds me secret hidden passages all the time. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He makes me feel that I’m enough just as I am.
Why can’t it become typical to see a group, some looking each other in the eye…some looking anywhere but. Some polished, some fidgety, some with a bouncy leg, some humming, some sounding all together and completely calm. What if some kind soul opened a side door where the beasts couldn’t fit…and they could go along with their day free of pain, feeling safe all while knowing they had a friend. That sounds nice right? And logical too?
It can be as simple as:
Turning down your music.
Forgetting about eye contact.
Closing a blind.
Letting someone sit in the chair they always sit in.
Allowing a chill out for 5 min.
Stop talking so much.
Give someone time to absorb new info and see it clearly anyway they need, whether through visuals or just extra time to think it through before demanding input or decisions.
Don’t be offended if they don’t want to eat lunch with you or get together later. They may have had all they can take just with the basics of life never mind adding in extras.
These sound like small and fair things for anyone no matter who they are doesn’t it?
My son is here for a reason. He is who he is for a reason. He doesn’t need to change anything. He will continue to work and grow and learn just like the rest of us. But I’m never going to try to stop him from being 100% Max. He has helped me to understand myself. What an incredible thing to do!