Well let me start with what autism isn’t.
- It is NOT a social disorder
- It is NOT a behavioural problem.
- It is NOT an intellectual deficit.
- It is NOT a language deficit.
- It is NOT a lack of understanding social cues
- It is NOT a lack of attention to you.
- It is NOT a lack of really loving parents who have tried everything.
Yes, some of these can show up in some people diagnosed on the very broad spectrum. However, I am speaking of the type of autism I, and my non, minimally, and unreliably speaking friends are affected by. You might call us “low functioning.” (How wrong a label this is!)
– highly sensitive with an ability to read too much about those around us. We must shut some of this down to function. When we can’t our sympathetic nervous system totally takes over and we fight or flight.
– capable of understanding everything we hear and see. You could say we have the memory of an elephant or a high powered computer.
– 100% able to formulate complex thoughts. Some of these stump our parents. And yes, math is easy for a lot of us.
Why can’t we talk?
– a motor cortex difference that has us be not in full control of our bodies, and
– a sensory processing difference that has us be always on guard for too much of anything.
Because we are always overloaded our motor cortex is always dysfunctioning. It is using all its power to manage that our bodies don’t lose it. There is not enough energy left to power our articulators. They account for 75% of our supplementary motor cortex.
Can you imaging not being able to get your body to follow a simple direction? To even be able to point to indicate your intelligence? Or to be able to laugh out loud appropriately? Every motor task takes intense concentration and effort combined with a peaceful environment to execute. I am so tired just writing this.
So please do the following when you encounter someone with non, minimally, or unreliably speaking autism.
- Do speak to them like they are listening and understand age appropriate material or higher.
- Behave like a regular human.
- Control your crazy yo-yo emotions.
- Ignore everything that comes out of our mouths.
- Be a good friend and patient communicator.
- Help our bodies with firm, loving, and broken down directions.
All of these are crucial to being a fabulous friend, teacher, or therapist.
I hope this is like common sense to all, and have heard stories and personally experienced otherwise. I believe these people were well intentioned, but misinformed.
Hope to make a difference with this blog post. To learn more about this manifestation of autism join the Nonspeaking CommUnity Consortium Facebook Group and ask me question here. I am an open book and would love to education more people.