FROM SIMONE – Although many of the ASD symptoms I had as a child made difficult for me to have relationships, friends, to socialize, some symptoms I still like to have or perhaps I choose to have and you will find that if you look your child closer there is a lot to be admired and a lot to learn from them.
If we observe our children in the spectrum we will find they have great authenticity, it is almost as if they are unable to lie, or are very bad at lying, as if lying was a foreign language they struggled to speak.
Another great characteristic I love in some ASD individuals is how tidy and orderly they are, and how thorough. How artistic and aware of their own space and how to arrange objects around them.
Perhaps my favourite aspect in some ASD individuals is how they are so able to live in the present, no resentments or fear of the future.
What about finding beauty in simple things? One of the definitions of autism is the inability to use imagination or play with imagination, which is a statement I will always debate, how do they know? Are you in the child’s mind? When I just sat down in the corner of the school playground at recess, rolling my hair on my fingers, staring into space, I was indeed imagining a whole different world in my head, much more appealing than the one around me. I didn’t play with the other children because I wasn’t able to, but because I thought they were boring, they needed a doll and a toy bed to put the doll to sleep and I knew dolls didn’t need to sleep so why waste my time? Instead I imagined the classroom in my mind was a museum full of dinosaur bones and I was a Paleontologist, my desired future profession.
In the same way I didn’t play because I didn’t need to, I sometimes wonder my son does not speak because he doesn’t need to, as I could swear he reads my thoughts. Another debatable autistic symptom, inability to read social cues, other peoples intentions or emotions. If I don’t feel well I can fool everybody by saying I am ok, but not my son. When I interview new volunteers, after my initial talk, I present them to my son who will “tell” me if they are trustworthy or not, by either cuddling them or looking as frightened of them as if they were a wild animal ready to attack him! He never fails to point me in the right direction of people who will be good for his Program. The volunteers I had trouble with were the ones I insisted in Keeping despite his frightened reaction to begin with, I no longer make that mistake, no matter how much I like them.
When playing with your child today look closer, there’s a lot to be learnt from them.
Enjoy all your little teachers!