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
I worked for a long time with a variety of people with issues on the spectrum
My son has Asperger’s its been an interesting journey
The people I have worked with have given me a great understanding and he helped me understand them
Stepping into their world and doing things their way is a massive learning experience
Drawing them into mine was made easier a balance was found according to each individual
With my son a lot of it was unconscious on my part drawing him out into the world with patience and fun he wasn’t diagnosed until he was 18
The person who assessed him was interested in his coping strategies of which he has many
He is doing very well the journey is not over but then mine isn’t either
Each flower blooms in its own time and the more patience and encouragement (without pressure) they receive the more amazing the bloom
The boy who would not be hugged has a partner and a child and is studying Psychology because he wants a better understanding of what makes him tick
He used to meditate always had to have candles and liked nothing better than a bath with oils candles and music
The kite is much closer to the earth than it used to be it does need to travel further away occasionally but isn’t that all part of flying?
He has his grounding stone’s(dependable people he trusts) and if you wait and let him come to you it works x
That is such a beautiful analogy and one that I thoroughly agree with. As an occupational therapist and a yoga instructor, I have worked with many children on the spectrum that have compassionate open hearted parents holding the string. These children seem to flourish with this sense of acceptance, understanding and allowing of the natural flow of energy wit their child. It is this type of connection which I hope to perpetuate for other parents and help them to understand that their child has this beautiful gift of subtle communication to teach them, if they quiet (through meditation) and become fully present.
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