I think in colors. My thinking colors have sound and movement. When I hear spoken words my neurology automatically goes for the match. When I was a girl, I heard the saying, “I got the world by the tail.” Immediately, the matching pictures of tail started popping up in my head. It’s like having a personal version of Google Images.
We need to be careful about how we think about and talk about people with disabilities. One example is the reference that those who are autistic or deaf or blind or have some sort of movement differences are “in their own world.”
The fact is we all share the very same world. But we also all try to make sense out of the world we live in. One way we all make sense of what we see in other people is to assign meaning to what we see according to what it would mean if we were engaging in that behavior. Most of the time this strategy serves us well (Endow, 2013).
Recently, I went to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store near my house with my laptop. It reminded me of just how far I have come in regards to technology in a few short years. It is hard to believe that I lived a half century on this planet before becoming versed in sending and receiving email! In 2005, my oldest, David, set up a Hotmail account for me and taught me how to do email. I had read an autism book and wanted to email the author. In a few months I had a few more people to email. It snow balled. Today email is my main source of communication with most others and I receive over 200 emails most days!
Meltdown behavior is quite common for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. And, indeed, the most frequently asked question by parents and educators is: “What do I do when my child has meltdowns?”
When the meltdown is occurring, the best reaction is to ensure the safety of all concerned. Know that explosive behavior is not planned but instead is most often caused by subtle and perplexing triggers. When the behavior happens, everyone in its path feels pain, especially the child.