Sometimes it feels like autism can be too honest.
I’ve had children state in a matter-of-fact voice that my haircut makes me look like a rooster.
Adults have interrupted my workshops in front of 50 people to say my voice irritates them.
Sometimes it feels like this brutal honesty is a bit too…well…honest!
Autism can be perplexing and overwhelming – meltdowns, rigidity and mysterious behaviors. But when we pull back the curtain and explore what is beneath it all we always discover the same simple truth.
We are who we are.
And how we respond to the reactions of any human being will shape how they feel about themselves and the world, so it is worth being kind and conscientious.
Underneath every behavior there is a message.
Imagine the 4-year old who is unable to talk but wants a glass of juice. How can she get one? She’s too small to lift the jug out of the fridge, so instead she finds the nearest big person, drags them by the hand and stops at the fridge.
When mom refuses to pour the juice because it’s almost time for dinner she has a 45-minute meltdown and can’t recover, she is misunderstood as being controlling or manipulative.
Now imagine the 19-year old who talks but doesn’t understand the social rules of communication. So he rambles about the things he likes, reciting philosophy resembling a college professor and totally misses the body language of his female peer who only listens out of politeness and waits for the moment she can duck out of the interaction.
And, like the 4-year old, who is misunderstood and can’t get her point across, he, too has a meltdown. But his looks more like social withdrawal, video game addiction and severe depression from year after year of poor social outcomes.
When we look into the heart of behaviors and Autism we discover an unquestionable truth: these individuals live and respond from the honesty of what is in their hearts.
Even though behaviors such as meltdowns and social withdrawal can be challenging, I wouldn’t want to live without the purity of their honesty.
This honesty teaches us how we can become better helpers, how we can be kinder, how we can make a difference.
Children and adults with autism have unique brain wiring, and we celebrate them for the gifts they bring: honesty, directness, a strong sense of personal values, focused interests and commitment. And we can all learn something from them.
So as we raise awareness throughout our communities this month; stay aware of your neighbor or loved one’s Autism and how their honesty informs you of who you are.
It’s how we all become more human.
Do you want to learn practical parenting strategies to reveal your child’s gifts of listening, cooperation and calm? Check out our upcoming EVENTS page where you can learn the 8 Pillars of Parenting from our Mad2Glad Blueprint.