My children often astound me with their deep levels of understanding and insight into other peoples and their own psychology. These little gems of wisdom they come out with are often followed by me collapsing in fits of giggles as my rather neurotypical brain interprets their neurodivergent comments in a totally different way!
This is how I often feel when I’m communicating with my children. Different brain wiring, not better, not worse, just different.
Bear in mind also that I’m very much the minority in our house, although I have speculated endlessly over the years as to whether I am indeed on the spectrum as well, it’s just that every test I take and every Psychologist I talk to reveals that I am very much not on the spectrum? I’m quite sad about that really.
My life revolves around autistic and neurodivergent people, even Kacie is severely Dyslexic and has OCD, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. These people have enriched my life in innumerable ways over the years and have allowed me to gain a much deeper insight into the way the human brain works in general by studying how their brains work. And they are different, not just because they’re autistic, but also because they have their own very unique personalities alongside it.
An autistic person isn’t ‘an autistic person’, their autism doesn’t define them, it merely alludes to them having a brain that is wired differently and therefore perceives certain things in, sometimes, unusual ways. Understanding these variants helps us to understand the person better and digging beneath the behavioural struggles they may have, and understanding what is causing them, gives us the opportunity to adjust their environment accordingly and allows for better, more effective communication.
I’m constantly being reminded of all of these points with situations with my own children, I arrived home recently to be informed by Osborn that he was having an ‘Aspie’ panic attack. This was a slightly different view for me and made me think. We all talk about people on the spectrum going into ‘meltdown’, but what if these ‘meltdowns’ are actually sometimes panic attacks? What if we assessed our view of challenging situations and expanded our thinking to take into account that it should, maybe, be thought of in a different way.
We have a lot to learn about autism generally, but we also still have a long way to go towards acceptance and the world genuinely valuing neurodivergence for being the valuable human variation that it actually is.
The day will come and I’ll keep doing my little bit to try and speed that process up.