Perception seems to be a buzz word when it comes to living in the world of autism. This is a good thing and a bad thing at times. While an older child may look like they are coping in a certain social situation that they have been taught, they may actually be falling apart on the inside. Talk about your sensory overload moments. Here they are nervous, upset, and working their hardest not to do something that they are told by neurotypicals is unacceptable. At the exact same time, they are also trying to do what they need to do in a specific environment, and continuing to deal with other stimuli that we take for granted. Personally, it hurts my head and mostly my heart to think that this is what my son is going through each and every day of his life. He can’t simply be a carefree child, he has to be shown how to do things and just accept them, even if he may never completely understand it. While some may say, but he doesn’t know any different – that does not make it right and means he has less rights to these moments.
Just because a child is laughing and seems to be enjoying something, they may just be going along with the group because they do not want to appear awkward or left out of the group. Meanwhile, they have no idea why they are laughing, they are anxious, and all they really want is to have friends and people that understand them. Of course, everyone looking at this picture will think that the child is having a great time because they see a smile and laughter. This delayed reaction to what is really happening allows for a lot of mixed up messages about the child. Later on when they decompress and feelings, emotions, and words come out, they are raw. Tears flow from not only the child, but the parent that so desperately wishes they could make it stop and help others to understand.
As I have said before, being an autism advocate has moments that you just want to erase from your mind and never go back to. Unfortunately, many of them happen over and over and over again. You get a tough skin with time, but having to constantly fight can be draining.
- does not define a person, it is just how they are wired.
- may mean that a person has a hard time replying to others in a social situation and they can be flustered finding the right words in conversation.
- means that just looking at a person may not simply tell you the whole story. Their reality versus perception can be very different
- often requires a person to cope and not be able to express how they truly feel while in that moment.
- can cause anxiety when things change, or the person is not used to a social situation.
- does not mean that a person lacks empathy or does not want friends. Most of the time they are even more in touch with emotions and they crave friendship, but too often are afraid to hurt others by saying or doing the wrong thing.
Please know that this post is not me whining about autism, a specific situation that happened, or life. I would never change my loving and amazingly sensitive Aspies, but I would change the ability of others to understand them, be more flexible, and help them not have to worry about what everyone else thinks about them. Knowledge is power and so is educating others about those individuals living on the autism spectrum.
Some of my other posts about autism:
- Seeking the Innner Voice of Autism
- Sparkle Minnie Ears in the Name of Autism Advocacy
- Project Understanding Autism
- Early Intervention is Key with Autism
- Tuesday Tales – Can I Tell You About Asperger Syndrome?
- Simple Wishes From a Mother
NOTE: The image above contains my words over gray-illusion created by 10binary that can be found on OpenClipArt.org.