How can I better understand what my autistic child is experiencing?

William Stillman
Health Education
We all experience neurological blips, misfires and disconnects not unlike the person with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, or Hodgkin’s. On a grander scale, the person with autism experiences such anomalies to the extent that it precludes speech and facile movement. You’ve experienced an “autism” moment if you’ve:
  • Driven from Point A to Point B, but upon arriving at Point B you have no recollection of the drive
  • Been driving along and hear a song you like with the intention of listening all the way through, but soon realize your mind has wandered and you haven’t heard a word of it
  • Happened upon someone familiar while out shopping, but seeing them out of the context in which you know them disables you from recollecting their name on the spot and in the moment
  • Had to physically retrace your steps in order to remember something, or you’ve misplaced something you suddenly realize you’ve been holding the whole time you’ve been searching for it (a pair of scissors or your eyeglasses)
  • Lost track of time or self-awareness (no need to eat or use the bathroom) while immersed in an activity for which you hold great passion (painting, dancing, gardening, etc.)
  • Had a case of the giggles so severe that you could not regain your composure until the experience ran its course
  • Been so angry or afraid that words escaped you in the moment
  • Absolutely had to scratch an itch and could not focus on anything else until you were so relieved
  • Calmed your anxiety by biting your nails, tapping a pen, shaking your leg, rocking yourself, twirling strands of your hair or toying with a piece of jewelry, or talking or humming to yourself
  • Experienced uncontrollable shivers so intensely that your teeth chattered involuntarily
  • Struggled to decipher the meaning of certain words in the appropriate context, such as “she shed a tear over the tear in her new dress”
  • Organized your items in your kitchen cupboards, bathroom, work space, or clothes closet in alphabetical order (canned good with labels facing out), by color-coordination, or at right angles
  • Had a song in your head that absolutely will not go away! You may have even been awakened in the middle of the night hearing the song you cannot seem to banish. Imagine if that experience of being “stuck” with the song in your head (which precludes your thought processes) transferred throughout your body, or lodged in your throat and hindered your vocalizations?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.