There is something hard for me to admit as a parent. For years I did not understand my own son and his sensitivities to different items. One minute he would hide and cry from a vacuum cleaner, but the next he was dancing to loud music. Another day, he might be smiling and happy, but moments later he would shut down and crumble before my eyes. I knew something more was going on that I could not and probably will never understand. Of course, without a point of reference and a diagnosis it is hard to convince other adults that your kid is not simply being an out of control brat with no manners.
This is the life a parent of a child with autism lives with every day. We never know when we wake up if it will be a calm day, or a day filled with anxiety and sensory overload. What is sensory overload? It is a reality for most people living on the autism spectrum. Kids who are learning the social cues of life in a world filled with neurotypical rules are stuck trying to learn to cope with items that you and I may take for granted. That clock ticking away in the classroom could be like nails on a chalkboard to me. Those fluorescent lights that buzz and flicker which we learn to ignore or never notice, could hurt a child’s head and eyes and make them more sensitive in an environment.
To this day, I still have to remind myself that when NHL thinks I am yelling at him it really may be his perception. With everything else in the room, car, or store going on, my regular talking voice may be too much for him to handle. Even several years into our autism diagnosis, I still have to stop and remind myself that just because it is not bothering me, it may be highly alarming to NHL. What’s harder for me to grasp, he does not know anything different. These heightened senses that can lend themselves to moments of sensory overload are his norm.
Curious what it may be like? The other day someone shared a link to a post on TheAutismSite.com. They included a video that everyone working or living with people who are on the autism spectrum should watch. It really is an eye opener and like no other I have seen before.
The short video breaks my heart and the words at the end are beyond powerful. There truly are no words, just moments where I know that sharing this will help more people to be aware. As always, knowledge is power and so is educating others about those individuals living on the autism spectrum.
Some of my other posts about autism: