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.
In fact, I’m certain if we look to those who see and feel and think differently and value their experience, perspective and ideas we will see beautiful change in this world.
Someone jumps on the spot because it calms them.
Someone needing to chill and be alone 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 the sensory world usually feels like a herd of galloping clydesdales heading straight for you! It is exhausting!
Let us focus on the things we love.
Help us find confidence in doing things that use our natural talents and bring us peace! That way, the 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 need to search for somewhere to retreat into solitude, confused but also happy that you’re now safe and 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….a terrible 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. And there is no “getting used to” things that bring you extreme discomfort. Exposure therapy?? No. All you are doing is taking my reaction and suffocating it when it’s best for you. Where does the pain go that I’m experiencing? I’ll tell you a few places it could show up. A meltdown. Lashing out. Eating disorders. Alcoholism. Depression. So you think you’ve handled the “undesirable behaviour ” but all you have done is forced your needs on another and forced them to seek comfort in destructive ways to self.
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.
If we decide we will take on this request. . I like a start time, an end time, break time, and the ability to be comfortable wherever it is we are headed. Please be ok with going over the plan a few times if necessary I am mapping it out in my head to be ready for each step. Please don’t surprise me with unexpected people and extend the duration of the outing. 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. Yes you got a teacup of flour but what happens to the rest of that perfect and valuable flour? I would never run my lovely dinner salad through the blender. Why would you do that to your beautiful salad? I’d much rather let my salad be a salad all colours, fresh and crispy. One simple step back can give someone struggling the power to move 100 steps forward. Trust me on this.
If you know someone who has autism or a sensory processing disorder or any other type of amazing difference, know that they’re doing the very best they can at every possible moment. It’s the only way they know. We learned early on about expectations and the inner calm we would sacrifice to meet them. 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. Total torture. Then guess what? They get to look forward to a replay every day of their life. Starts to feel like dread. Starts to feel like an ending before the beginning. Defeated. You know there won’t be time to refuel. You know you’ll have to mask or pretend through most interactions just to get by.
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.
It must become typical and wonderful to see true authenticity. Let’s scratch the idea of conforming. Let’s praise our kids for being real and honest and not giving in to the pressures of society. Embrace the quirks. Until quirks are the norm, life will never be as fun as it was surely intended to be. Let’s stop assuming and expecting. It’s hurting people! Let’s find out about comfort zones and preference and know that not everyone can show up or tackle stuff or manage basics without costing them their entire energy allowance for that day. Or week or month. Burnout happens. It happens much quicker when little tasks use huge amounts of your energy and peace of mind. You feel life become a pool of quicksand where you know you will never get out. The more you try the more you sink. The only way to win is for the struggle to be recognized and adjustments to be made. You CAN walk a different path. You don’t NEED to go through the quicksand.
What if some kind soul opened a side door where the beasts couldn’t fit…and we could go along with our day free of pain, feeling safe, all while knowing we have 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 and just cannot fathom adding extras.
These sound like small and fair things for anyone no matter who they are doesn’t it?
We need each other! We need our differences. We need to change this world from a place where everyone needs to “strain” the unique flavours out and pretend to be vanilla into a world where possibilities and the magic of true self are endless.