One of the challenges of autism is sensory system difference. These differences are so prevalent that they are part of the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This difference comes into play because an autistic neurology typically doesn’t automatically regulate sensory information. This can happen in a variety of ways and accounts for the sensory difference variation we see amongst autistic people.
I am a speaking autistic woman. Even so, I rarely have fluid access to my speech. Often times I have in mind something I would like to discuss with a friend so as to get their thoughts and ideas on the topic, but even though I know what I want to discuss the words are not available as speaking words. Oh, I know the words – they are in my head – I just cannot get them to come out of my mouth at will.
When I was a teenager, the “too much” of life caught up with me. Everything in the world around me was just too much.
…too much noise with the varying sounds of the world clamoring to grab my attention, their pitches and tones wildly crashing into each other as if competing for a speed prize on a race track – or so I wished … If only the cacophony of the world outside my skin would at least line up and compete in some orderly fashion – like race cars on a race track – it would then allow me to watch the color of each sound going around and around, and thus enable me to keep track of this forever multi-tonal, warped schizophrenic sound in the world all around me –
Many any individuals with classic autism seem to have neurological movement differences. When these movement differences play out in our bodies, it is easy for onlookers to see, as we may get stuck in one position or in repetitive movement. Sometimes there can be difficulty in getting a body movement going, and at other times once our body is in motion, we cannot stop even if we want to.
I recently presented to a room full of people on the topic of Autistic People and Literacy. A few days later I again presented to another group of people on another autism related topic. It doesn’t matter the autism topic or whether the group I am presenting to be educators, therapists, or parents of children with autism – I am almost always approached by someone wanting to know how it is that I do not look or act anything like the autistic children they know.