Aspergers, Autism and Co: Walking Your Talk

Last week we attended the first meeting in a series of five, run by the NAS in Bristol, aimed at supporting parents of teenage children who have been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. Although our son has been assessed with what would be classed as mild Asperger’s, we were at first unsure of whether or not this course would be suitable for us.

However, despite arriving late and not being able to find anywhere to park our car, we joined the class and found them to be a lovely, welcoming group of people.

I always like to think about what my main takeway was after any class and this time was no exception. I was fascinated by the conversations and found lots of inspiration for blogging and vlogging. Issues were coming up which were really giving me food for thought. Things that had been causing stalemates within our family.

I just briefly wanted to share that I was amazed at the stories and experiences the others shared and was quite astonished to hear that many of the habits and behaviours in our family were prevalent amongs the other families in the class.

And one of the biggest surprises was that quite a few of them were doing home education. That really brought a smile to my face. But I’m going to come back to that later.

So back to what my takeaway was. It was about ‘walking my talk’, to put it in my own words. The conversation had touched upon how it was sometimes really hard to engage our children in dialogues, especially when they had emotionally closed down.

I realised that I had been making things hard for myself when the group facilitator, Andrew Powell, talked about how it wasn’t beneficial to insist that the child looked at us when we were talking together.

Children on the autistic spectrum find eye contact difficult, indeed sometimes very painful and will often avoid it at all costs.

In the past I had always made a point of asking my children to be open in conversations and look at the other person. However, this had never worked with our youngest. When it came up in the group, I really took note and saw that it wasn’t helping in the least and was actually further closing down communication. We were urged to instead just sit down at the child’s side and talk with no eye or face contact. It even occurred to me that I could sit down in the far corner of the room.

And then I remember walking. The light went on. Whilst out walking we never had difficulties discussing anything. The conversation always seemed to flow effortlessly. Today I was reminded of that as I went for a walk and talked through some inspirational plans for business.

I realised that my son could have just as much inspiration whilst in motion. Getting completely out of his head, side by side with us, and allowing the energy to come into full flow.

On one level, I have always known this about the eye contact, but for some reason I thought it was more to do with strangers outside the home. I had been equating the avoidance in conversations with unwillingness to cooperate. I hadn’t truly understood that the eye contact can be so penetrating that it causes pain.

And so I have learned something very valuable. I can approach my son and kiss him on the back of the head and now talk to him while he doesn’t look up from the computer screen.

I also know that the communication is happening in a way that is much more comfortable and acceptable for him. This allows me to be with him in his space just exactly as he is.

Walking my talk takes on a completely new meaning.

And a big thank you to Andrew Powell who runs the class. There are no fees for the attending parents. Much gratitude.

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4 Responses to Aspergers, Autism and Co: Walking Your Talk

  1. Paula says:

    Hi Fiona,
    Thank you for posting. Here’s some of my reflections after the session.
    Children assessed with ASD are here

    1. to help us recognise the inherent violence of compulsory education.
    2. to help us drop adultism denial
    3. to help us recognise our own insensitivity and lack of empathy, which we happily project onto them
    4. to help us see through the banality and relativity of cultural rules/conditioning and the inherent violence in our attempts to force them upon our children
    5. to help us find more effective ways of communicating, beyond words
    6. to help us face our own lack of sensitivity, empathy, patience, and trust in the unique pattern of development of each individual child
    7. to awaken us to the current war against introverts, or the current tendency to pathologize our children’s natural love of solitude and quiet contemplation
    8. to help us become aware of the importance of neurodiversity
    9. to awaken us to the fact that aggression is caused by fear and anxiety
    10 and that this fear and anxiety are the result of our attempt to mold them into the shape of whatever cookie cutter pattern we happen to believe in

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks a lot for commenting Paula and so lovely to meet you there. And yes, this is a huge topic so lots of scope for many future discussions. Looking forward to further meetings and sharing. 🙂

  2. Luciana says:

    Hello, greetings and thanks for the beautiful website !!!

    I share with you the path of spiritual search and love for painting on silk … colours
    do have a healing effect on me as well !!!

    I have once read the free book of Suzanne Lie, an out of stream psychologist who finally after decades, freely speaks about her spiritual adventure here on earth.
    Among her writings this book describes the descent of the Soul into the Body when the soul has to incarnate here …:
    she says that when the soul travels to incarnate in the body, the soul still remembers from where she comes from as well as the Light and the Love of the Unseen Dimension. While the soul keeps on travelling, she thinks that once in the body she will remember that …. instead dimension after dimension when the soul enters the body is like passing through the head of the needle ….

    at that point some souls at the last moment … do have like a resistance to let go of the Beauty of the Unseen Dimension and pull the break …. she says that these children are the children among us with autism or asperger’s spectrum …

    the soul is so shocked to enter into this dimension (the 3rd) that at the last moment she withdraws and enters in the body with a melanchonic attachment to the life before Birth … this description has always touched my heart so much ….

    and it makes so much sense when I think that in the after life there is an immense world that we barely know and that we got to know thanks to the thousands of experiences of NDE occurred everywhere in the world …

    it makes so much sense … actually many Indigo (adults) crave for returning to where they came from and never feel at ease on this Earth ….

    I hope I did not go to much OT …. i just hope I could add some important information … Dearest Blessings of Light,
    Luciana

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