I wonder if that surprises people! It’s quite a common misconception that people with autism don’t show any affection; this couldn’t be more false – actually we like to argue over who loves each other more and see who can give the most kisses!
So in the spirit of autism awareness month, I thought I’d talk about Austin’s diagnoses a little, and what this means…
Austin has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), speech delay and learning difficulties. He also has sensory processing disorder (SPD) and it’s highly likely he has ADHD too.
Anyone who’s met my Austin knows the boy never sits still. Even when he’s sitting he’s not still, in fact the reason I don’t post many pics of him is because they are usually a blur.
Austin engages in what’s known as stimming – which is short for self-stimulatory behaviour – he has a lot of sensory problems, including being under sensitive to vestibular and proprioceptive sensory input. What that means in simple terms is he has to jump, spin, swing, run, flap, rock, basically he loves to move!
If you were to put your arms out and close your eyes, you still know where your arms are. Austin doesn’t have that sensory input, so he likes to be cuddled tight and be covered in blankets.
Austin is also over sensitive to auditory stimulation – which means that although he’s the noisiest child I know, he can’t bear a lot of sounds that made by other people and will clamp his hands over his ears.
He has lots of stims such as loving lights and screens, what I’ve written is just a snapshot into how his body and his mind are different. Different should never mean less, and when he is stimming he is at his absolute happiest and I would never stop him, it’s what he needs to do
What angers me the most is when people talk about Austin in front of him… he understands what you’re saying even though you wouldn’t think so, it takes him longer to process what people say so with a little patience it is possible to communicate with him. This is true of a lot of autistic people, and knowing this can help them if you are lucky enough to know someone on the spectrum.