It is World Autism Awareness Day and a video (follow the link in the Tweet) was shared of students with autism addressing their teachers about their differences. The person who shared it describes it as heart breaking and it is but it is also hopeful.
— mar (@poeticsNormani) April 2, 2017
Recently I was reading a poem by someone with autism and it reminded me of me. It was describing a feeling of not fitting in with the normal types of people but not wanting to be lumped in with the type of people who couldn’t communicate at all:
- “You don’t know autism” by Justin Mothorpe: gvsu.edu/autismcenter/module-spotlight-view
High functioning people with autism might understand and listen and be interested but not be comfortable or able to speak their thoughts well. They might enjoy going to a party and just listening and smiling on the outskirts rather than chatting much but they could still be enjoying themselves in their own ways. I liked to water plants during social gatherings at a church where I was a member. I was part of the group and enjoyed saying hi’s briefly to people and it helped the plants and gave me something to do so it wouldn’t seem odd to not get into longer chats with people. I’m much better at talking about nutrition then about social chit-chat.
Some families have found that smartphones allow instant texting as a modern solution to conversation. The family talks and the person with autism listens and texts back to them in response. It can also be common for people with autism to communicate in snippets of quoted lyrics or other phrases – using other’s words to say what’s also on their mind.
- Apps that may help people in the autistic community: http://mashable.com/2016/04/02/autism-apps/#icoetdFC_Gqx
- Some tips for working with people with autism – aimed for helping caregivers with students and children with autism but the tips are constructive and aspects would apply across the lifespan. https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/autism-awareness-month-a-facts-andtips-for-working-with-individuals-on-the-autism-spectrum
- And here’s some tips for therapists working with adults or children with autism: http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Exceptional%20Learners/Autism/Articles/Personal%20Style%20and%20Interaction%20Tips%20for%20Working%20With%20Individuals%20Affected%20by%20Autism%20Spectrum%20Disorders/ It mentioned that people on the autism spectrum tend to like to know details about what to expect, such as where and when to go somewhere, and what the plans are to do and for how long to be expected to stay. That does sound nice and clear.
- The amusement park Legoland is adding special ‘quiet rooms’ that don’t have loud rides, instead the rooms have silent toys that are fun to touch to give a place for children with autism to enjoy playing and possibly as a safe place to unwind in case they were over-stimulated by the rest of the park. https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Legoland-Upgrades-Guests-Autism-43373028?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
The Legoland article reminded me of my favorite “amusement” museum. The City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri is full of decorations made from recycled materials built into mosaics and patterned walls. The museum is built within and on the grounds of a large multi-storied building that was a shoelace factory. Shoelaces are still made there and can be purchased. There are numerous imaginative landscapes that can be physically explored and played on and in and under and above – the place is a jungle and cavern and a maze and amazing – truly. If I could live anywhere on the planet that I wanted to, then it might be here: http://www.citymuseum.org/
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.