I just watched a fascinating programme on TV about how our brains develop as children and the potential link with autism. Many of the issues they mention, such as sensory overload issues, are exactly what I have been talking and writing about for years and I am delighted that this subject is being recognised, discussed and researched.
It will be fascinating to hear how about the results of the research and perhaps how this can influence the diagnosis and teaching of children with autism and how we support them in the world.
What struck me (near the end of the programme) was a mother and her autistic son flying a kite. This was a significant achievement for both of them but it was the symbolism of the kite that (for me) represented our journey with children who have autism.
I felt that children with autism are that kite. They have a link (the string) to the earth, their parents and the world – but it is a slim connection. Their view of the world is from a very different (higher) perspective and they struggle with our lower, grounded perspective (eg reading emotions, coping through the senses and communicating). They have this slim, grounded connection but their development depends on who is holding the string and how they support that kite’s (the child’s) journey.
We equally struggle to understand the perspective of children with autism and what the see/feel and experience. We don’t know what it’s like to see the world in this way and we watch them and struggle to make sense of why they move and behave in the way they do
Guiding them down to earth
Sometimes we try to control them yet this doesn’t necessarily work and can sometimes can cause us to weaken the connection if we are too aggressive in our approach. It’s as if we have to tune in to the slightest of movements of the ‘kite’s’ movements through the string so that we can help the journey – hopefully we can help guide them back down to earth, safely into this world.
Perhaps by teaching our children mindfulness and meditation we will help that process. Our own mindfulness will help us tune in more sensitvely to their needs (and ours) and we will gently guide and be guided on this journey.
If you are interested in seeing the TV Programme – here’s the link – BBC 4 – autism and children
Here’s a useful link to resources about Autism – Autism Resources
How much do you know about Autism – Autism Quiz