Imagine you live in a world where you sense things in a different way to everyone else.
Do you remember being a kid and having that one thing that you absolutely couldn’t eat because it stunk? For me, that was parmesan cheese in a can. We went to a restaurant and it was sprinkled on my spaghetti bolognaise, it smelt like vomit. Seriously, you want me to put vomit in my mouth Mum and Dad?
For my husband it’s Tuna. I’m banned from cooking Tuna Mornay when he’s in the house.
Now imagine you have Autism and your particular super power is an increased sense of smell.
Let’s see what you do when you walk into a food court. Let’s see how you behave when no one understands why all of a sudden you won’t take another step.
Do you have ticklish feet? Perhaps you like a back rub? How does it feel when your shoes are rubbing and it’s causing a blister? Is there anything that you absolutely can not touch?
My Nana can’t touch velvet and it’s been a running joke in our family for years. For some reason she always received a lot of jewellery in nice little velvet boxes”¦ from me.
Now image you have Autism and your particular super power is having a heightened sense of touch, the extreme sensation of different textures on your hands and feet drive you to distraction.
How would you feel when you are asked to use paint, to eat sushi, to play in the sandpit to take your shoes off and walk on the grass. Let’s see how you behave when no one understands why all of a sudden you won’t eat, participate or play.
Would you be capable of studying when your children are being noisy? Do you tune in and mentally sing along when you hear your favourite song on the radio? If someone is having a conversation and you hear your name mentioned, would you try to listen?
I’ve been incapable of studying with ANY background noise since I was about 12 years old. When I got my drivers license I used drive down to the train station and study in my car”¦ away from my noisy parents and brother.
I also can’t handle the sound of a rake on cement.
Now image you have Autism and your particular super power is a heightened sense of hearing. Going to the shopping centre is like being in the middle of a rock concert, an afternoon playing involves noisy planes, noisy traffic, a ticking clock, a snoring dog, music, the next door neighbours having a chat and the leaves on the tree rustling with the wind.
How would you respond when your teacher said your name and started talking about some random topic? Would you even hear her? How do you think people would respond to you not listening, how much trouble would you be in, would they think you’re rude, naughty or maybe deaf?
Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes, and imagine how you’d react in a situation that was really uncomfortable for you, think about your behaviour and how you’d feel or how your Mum would have felt if everyone just thought you were being naughty.
It’s World Autism Day today, let’s celebrate different”¦ what’s your superpower?