Saturday, February 13, 2010

Very Superstitious

I've never been superstitious, in fact I found it fun to defy superstitions just to see what would happen. Well that was before I hung out with kids with autism. The behaviors they exhibit can be unexplained, random, and downright spooky. It scares me when nothing I can see or think of has sparked a full out on the ground, screaming and hitting self tantrum. And there is very little I can do when my little guy reaches this level except keep him safe as possible. The most frustrating part is that he cannot tell me what's going on as he's basically non-verbal.

They say people with autism have heightened senses, they can hear, taste, see, and feel things typical people cannot. Which is in someways miraculous, but in other ways frightening and overstimulating. So I can only guess that these tantrums are caused by some level of over-stimulation that my senses aren't able to experience. My guesses have turned into rituals and my rituals have turned into hard and fast superstitions.

For example I do not wear perfume to school anymore because I became convinced the smell was causing self injurious behavior. Also I'm sure to bring a lunch with me and eat during the same time each day because I swear that him seeing me break this routine was a source for major tantrums a couple times.

I'm realizing as I type this that a lot of my so-called superstitions surround routines. People with autism tend to be obsessed with routines, insisting that everything, from brushing teeth to waiting in the lunch line, have a specific method. I suppose it is a way to create predictability in a world of chaos. Have I peeked through a window into this world by insisting on my own routines to prevent chaos? Maybe it's not superstition after all, just a bit of autism.

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