Monday, October 29, 2012

#Autism Uncensored

Today I was asked a question about swings on my Inner Aspie FB page.  I have lots of experience in this area, as we have purchased a few different types of swings for our boys. I thought it would be nice for  if I were to go through my photos and post pics of the boys using the swings and give a description of how they worked for us, and why.

As I was searching through photos from the last 4 years I noticed something. I kept thinking, I will need to crop this one if I use it, so that the mess Beans makes doesn't show, or even bypassing pictures, because I didn't want my my messy house to be on a page with several hundred people looking at it. I was trying to censor my life on a page about autism, when the censored parts were a part of life with autism. How does that make sense? I thought to myself, no. My page is real. It's not a magazine cover. My boys swinging on their swings on a regular day in a house where autism lives is messy. Beans has never (and may never) exit the toddler stage where they carry random objects around.  He has to have something in his hands all the time.  Even when he leaves the house, he almost always carries something with him. I don't know why this is, but I've see it happen with a lot of very profoundly autistic people, as well as those with intellectual disabilities.  I think it's a comfort thing. So, on any given day, if you were to drop by my house you'd see random objects strewn about the floor with no rhyme or reason, until we pick them up before bed, to begin again the next day, This is a house where autism lives. I used to try to hide it. I used to try to keep it immaculate. I used to try to minimize it, or corral it. Not anymore. This is a place where we live. My attitude is different now. My attitude is about making my boys comfortable and happy. I do this by not censoring who I am or who they are.  On my blog and on my FB page I am authentic.  I don't hide away the struggles. I don't pretend they aren't there. I don't gloss over anything. I also don't advocate feeling shame over these differences that autism produces.  For me to have selected only 'acceptable' pictures to post where I felt the environment was perfect that would not be what I say I am about. I would be saying one thing and doing another.  So, with integrity, and with authenticity I open my imperfect life up to the public, so that other parents out there can see it displayed without fear and shame and maybe they will stop thinking about how much they don't measure up to other parents with perfect houses and perfect days. (Honestly, there really is no such thing anyway) We can be okay with our mess, and with our differences on the outside, so that we can be okay on the inside, as well.

I sincerely believe that the more we can let others see the parts we find unacceptable about ourselves, the more we see each other reflected during those moments.Those moments where we are being truly authentic, and without reservation or prejudice are the ones that shift our perceptions about who we are, who are children are and what really matters in the grand scheme of life.

8 comments:

  1. Love this!! You make an excellent point. Why should a mess equal shame?? I only pick up my boy's things once a day before he goes to bed, otherwise I'd go insane. I really don't care if the mailman/neighbours think I am a terrible housekeeper. I have more important things to worry about!

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  2. Still carry around "random" objects, though as adult now easier to keep hidden and to fixate on specific "acceptable" objects. Lavender bear main one goes everywhere: http://tinyurl.com/9czshyo Also rocks, bits of string, pens, small boxes, scrap paper, marbles, tiny glass or plastic containers, empty bandaid wrappers, animal figurines, toys, empty key rings... But those kept within pockets or hidden in closed hands until dropped. People react oddly otherwise.

    For me an anchor to reality. In some sensory-based but otherwise inexplicable way making chaos seem less chaotic.

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    1. I wondered that with him. He does like to tap on things. That's his main stim, so I think it's both. Something to keep him connected to the world, and something to stim with. I think it's especially telling that he does it during transitions, like from the house to the car. He needs something solid that is non-changing to carry with him.

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    2. That is when do it most too, moving from one discrete environment to another. Some thing has to stay the same or will get too lost.

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  3. Awesome! I needed to read this today. I tend to loop about how messy or "dirty" I feel my house is when I am feeling anxious or the aftermath of major social events. I used to go into complete cleaning frenzies before I would even take pictures. I am getting better with this.

    Daniel and Joshua are toy dumpers. Any room you go into you will find a heap of toys sometimes organized and sometimes not. I would cause myself to get physically drained from trying to stay on top of the house and keeping everything immaculate. I just cannot do it. It is too much. However, on days like these when I am trying to feel in "control" my mind drifts to going into a cleaning frenzy!

    All three of my kids carry objects with them. Sometimes they leave them in the car, but many times they keep it with them. It can be the strangest of things. For instance, Daniel was taking the remote control for the ceiling fan for a month every place we went.

    "So, with integrity, and with authenticity I open my imperfect life up to the public, so that other parents out there can see it displayed without fear and shame and maybe they will stop thinking about how much they don't measure up to other parents with perfect houses and perfect days."

    YES!! Thank you! :-)

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    1. Yes, the amount of time that it would take in my home to keep everything in it's place and uncluttered would be impossible, as well as my kids would be unhappy with the amount of rules that would have to be imposed. When I go into people's houses that are like that, usually it's shoes off, and kids are allowed only in their rooms, or downstairs, where it is a pit of a mess. My kids are allowed everywhere in the house, with the exception of Beans, only because it's dangerous. I'm glad that you're feeling better about letting your house be, too. It's a liberating feeling!

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