Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Self-observation of Change

[Ed. Note: I know the title kind of stinks but it’s all I’ve not. I’m not even really sure where I was wanting to go with this post. Maybe “Self-musing of Change” might be better? Hmmm…no. You’re just going to have to bear with me on this one. I’ve been trying to catch up on school Halloween parties and costume preparations all the while getting more behind in my work. I’m tired and my brain is a bit scattered. If it weren’t for the chocolate I’d have no use for this holiday at all! Also, I realize that I am WAAAY overdue for a post about our Autism walk as well as my many thank-yous . I’m still trying to gather the words…maybe the Halloween treats will help me to work through that…Anyway, moving back to today’s musings…]

Sometimes there are moments when I realize just how much autism has changed me.

Yesterday afternoon I was picking up Lucy from her preschool and we were headed down the hallway toward the front doors. Ahead of us was a mother (I’m assuming) and her daughter. The little girl was jumping down the hall instead of walking. Her mother was holding her hand (at least she was trying) and repeatedly asking her to walk. You could hear the frustration in the woman’s voice as the girl continued to giggle and jump. When the woman would try to keep her from jumping, the little girl would drop to the floor. Finally the mother sat the girl on a bench along the hallway wall and was reprimanding her for not walking and not listening. The little girl had not been loud or overly rambunctious. She was just jumping and giggling as she moved toward the doors. In fact, Lucy and her friend that we were walking with at the time were probably laughing and running and jumping louder than the girl getting into trouble.

Now I realize that this one little snapshot of a moment I was getting at this point was completely out of context as I have no idea whether this little girl was a special needs child or a typical child.  Our school has quite a few of both with several integrated classrooms. I don’t know if this was a particular behavior they have been working on or what the situation was at all. What I do know is that once upon a time, had I come across this moment, I might not have thought much of it. Perhaps I would have thought, Oh. How good this mother is to teach her daughter the proper way to move about the school. Then I would have probably moved on.

Now at this time in my life, since autism, my thoughts yesterday were, I wonder if this little girl needs that sensory input of the jumping. Maybe she was really needing that release from spending the day in a classroom and was ready to let go for a bit. Perhaps it was helping her transition from the classroom to home. How would I handle a similar situation with my own kids? What might they be trying to tell me. And I am still thinking about it.

My thoughts were in no way meant to be  judgemental but more of an observation. A wondering. It was a moment where I could see the change in me. I can see how much autism has caused me to change; to see things so differently. To think about things in a different light. It struck me that how before autism, I might have been giving similar instruction to one of my kids. And then not give it another thought. Now, well, autism has given me an awareness that behavior is truly a  form of communication and I am learning how to translate that. I process more. Probably even over-process occasionally.   And I try to learn from that processing. (For those of you who know me personally, please continue to let me think that the “over-process” only occurs rarely!)

It’s funny and interesting to me that autism has changed how I see even the most insignificant things at times. I’m not sure if some of that change is a help or a hinderance in my parenting but I would like to think, I hope, that autism is changing me for the better.

Although it is not changing me to feel differently about Halloween…let’s just skip the costumes and decorations and get right to the treats okay? Oh, and maybe an episode or two of Ghost Hunters.

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Comments on: "Self-observation of Change" (3)

  1. Hello Karen. I loved this post. I think differently now as well. For example, my friend was talking about her 4th grade son and his failure to complete a book report. Her response was punitive (no games, grounding, etc.) My thought was that it would be best to consider what the boy needed to complete the project timely rather than to punish him. I told her so (in a kind, non-judgmental way, I hope.) It seems to me that our experiences can be helpful to others. Best wishes.

    Amy Faircloth

  2. It’s interesting to find that new sensitivity in one’s self. Breeds compassion, in the best case.

  3. This is very interesting. I too look at kids differently since you have taught me about the spectrum. No longer do I roll my eyes and think wow what an in-mannered kid. Now I look and wonder if the parent that is with them is having trouble coping today and hope things work out for them. Thanks Karen for opening my eyes.

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