Saturday, February 27, 2010

Things autism has taught me...

They occur to me all the time, and I think I should start writing them down.

1. A person is not the sum of what they are able to communicate to me

It strikes me all the time that Billy is so much more than what people see. We get so used to judging people by what they tell us or show us. And Billy probably shows the rest of the world around 10% of what he's got on any given day. Maybe even less. Some days he doesn't talk. Some days he doesn't even look. Some days he is a charming chatterbox. Some days he is Animal Planet stuck on repeat.

So, if were not familiar with autism, and you met him for the first time on a mute day? You'd probably think, 'Man, that kid's pretty limited/quiet/dumb/whatever'... without realising that he's got a huge amount more going on in there.

So, beyond ASD, I really should remember that. People are not just what I see them being, or hear them being, or am told they are.

2. Animals are not just good for postcards with captions

Non-verbal communicating entities are awesome. They take the pressure for understanding away. They open the doors for genuine reciprocated communication. They just don't use words, which is great, because words coupled with facial expressions, body movements and social context are really confusing.

If you don't believe me, have a chat to a dog... they truly don't care what you are saying, they're generally just happy to listen. It makes you feel good. It makes you relax.

3. The world is really loud

It is. It really is. We know this because sometimes it's just not possible to make Billy calm. Because... the world is too loud.

Here are some thing that are loud, that I never thought about:
- the kettle boiling first thing in the morning
- an owl hooting, especially if it's a recorded part of a soundtrack
- xylophones and chime bars in backing music
- crackling, scrunching plastic bags

All big surprises to me.

That's it for now. Like famous people dying, these things tend to come in threes.

Feel free to add your own observations in comments. We can build our understanding together!

1 comment:

Christina Shaver said...

Hi Valerie! Just noticed that you put the widget for recent posts at the Hopeful Parents Community on your blog. THANK YOU!