Honestly, I am not sure that this one was ever an issue for me at all.
As the mother of six, PanKwake being the last, I understood that ALL little humans are different. Having already parented one special needs child not even that daunted me.
I have always focused as much or more upon PanKwake’s strengths as her challenges. Seen her as PERFECT and COMPLETE just as she is.
I also recognize that even those challenges are not unique to autism or Pathological Demand Avoidance. Every human being has both. Strengths. And Challenges that they must work to minimize, control.
Yes, the challenges that are those ‘realities of the situation’ we talked about are hard. Harder on PanKwake than on me. Especially ones like Executive Functioning and Memory. And…Sensory…especially sensory issues.
I saw a Tweet yesterday asking the #ActuallyAutistic and parents of #autistic little humans…what was their greatest challenge? I immediately thought…sensory issues. But being me, of course, I went right to the expert…the only expert I truly trust…PanKwake herself. Without missing a beat, she replied…SENSORY.
We have accepted those as fact…never minimizing or dismissing them. I would NEVER, ever, never seek to force her to mask the discomfort of those sensory challenges. From the beginning, I resisted ANYTHING that even hinted of ABA or cognitive behavioral therapy.
I never even thought about forcing my #HappilyAutistic child to mask her #autism…and I consider it CHILD ABUSE to force a person incapable of giving truly informed consent to ‘extinguish’ their fears/discomfort through aversion therapy which is what ABA and CBT truly are.
I don’t get it honestly. If we recognize and ACCEPT that our senses…touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing and even proprioception are defence mechanisms…to keep us safe and ensure the continuation of the human species, how then are super senses BAD?
Hearing is really hard for PanKwake. She can be the loudest person in the room…but not be able to tolerate a whispered conversation at certain times. In this #HomeCrazzyHome, we shut up. We move to another part of the house. We even ask guests to do the same. This is her home and she has a right to feel safe and secure here.
Outside…that is a bit more of a challenge. When she was younger and we lived in London, PanKwake wore bright pink fuzzy earmuffs…on the hottest summer day. It was just enough to dampen her sense of super hearing without blocking out all noise that might have been dangerous.
Unfortunately, her other #AutisticSuperPower is touch. She does not tolerate certain feels well. So while there are wonderful noise blocking headphones that other families swear by, she cannot manage the feel of them…especially anything on her head. We ACCEPT that too.
Even her unusual sleep patterns and meltdowns…we have just accepted as the other side of the coin for all the wonderful ways that her autistic brain works better than my own. I have just always ACCEPTED that…
For Every Gift There Is a Price!
And no, I would not change it or her for the world…quite literally sometimes. But I do wish I could change the world for her.
Sure, I do not want her in pain or uncomfortable…and sensory overload is both those things. Which is why we keep looking for solutions/accommodations that work for her as an individual. And that is how we have taught her to manage her #AutisticSuperPowers too.
Acceptance like this is not always easy…on us…on other people in our lives…or especially on PanKwake. But I believe that as I said…it above all the others is the difference between #HappilyAutistic and #ProudlyPDA and the mental health problems that were for so long seen as co-morbidities of #autism but are now being recognized as not directly linked to autism but to the way that #ActuallyAutistic people are treated by society, schools, ‘experts’, and most especially #AutismParents.
But that is something I CANNOT ever seem to tolerate…
How others treat PanKwake…autistic people…#neurodivergent…anyone who is different from them.
Those are things that I do not and will not tolerate. I call them out…every time. Whether on my blog, Twitter, FaceBook, or a stranger on the street. And my Acceptance of her as a PERFECTLY ADEQUATE, VALID, SUITABLE, SATISFACTORY, and RIGHT human being has given PanKwake the voice to call them out too.
She is already at not quite twelve an opinionated, eloquent, and logical spokesperson for her rights and the rights of others…not merely the #ActuallyAutistic. I honestly can’t wait to see the woman she will become.
Being ACCEPTED for exactly who you are…challenges…warts…and all…is one of the deepest human psychological needs there is. We ALL seek it. First as children from our parents, teachers, and other adults…then as teens from our peers…as adults we seek it out in every single relationship we have.
Which is a great lead in to our next topic…