I think in colors. My thinking colors have sound and movement. When I hear spoken words my neurology automatically goes for the match – a match for the words I hear to a familiar concrete picture of something in the world outside my skin or to an internal picture I have stored in my memory..
The neurology of a person with autism does not automatically organize the world outside their skin. When we are able to organize the happenings in the world we usually do so differently than neuro majority people.
As a young child I saw over and over how light from the sun interacted with water particles rising from the ground and with water droplets in the air. This repeated experience became useful over time in that I learned the predictability of this occurrence. I also learned the effects of various factors (such as clouds, rain, air temperature, wind, etc.) had on impacting the interaction of sun brightness with air and ground moisture.
The “hidden curriculum” refers to the set of rules or guidelines that are often not directly taught but are assumed to be known. Most people automatically pick up this hidden information; their brains work that way. For those of us with autistic brains, this information is truly hidden; we do not automatically pick it up. Hence, the term, “hidden curriculum.”
Lots of people like to eat out. I do, too. Because of my sensory sensitivities, I have learned to reduce certain input to the best of my ability in restaurants so as to better enjoy the experience.
Every first Friday of the month, I am part of a group of seven women who go out to eat. We are all moms of children with autism ranging in age from 13 to 30-something. Most of us have served on autism-related boards together over the years. Each month we choose a new restaurant. No matter where we go, we are the table of people who laugh the most!
Christmas will soon be here again. There is much about Christmas I love. There are many things about Christmas that took me a very long time to figure out. This is because my autistic brain doesn’t work in a way to automatically allow me to pick up social information that others expect me to know. This expected social knowledge is called the hidden curriculum. It is the information that everybody knows – everybody except people like me!