Jo and I have highlighted chosen words that we think describe Joe and his autistic talents. Not one single deficit here thankyou very much !! We will try not to over kill.
So to start.....
Joes passions and hobbies!!!
Passions and hobbies have been the back bone of Joes stimming/regulation and due to past and future traumas will give him so many therapeutic benifits. But why are these fantastic self taught stims not harnessed and extended in his community and Why for the love of Stranger Things( we love stranger things by the way) do people insist on writing about autism in a negative way and calling his passions and hobbies "fixed interests" or "obsessions"?
I wish people would realize that Joes passions and hobbies are the window to unleashing his talents, not only bringing out his creative side but supporting his ability to process and understand information. His enthusiasm about his chosen topic enables him to share oodles of info and his vocab suddenly becomes alive with loads of interests facts with amazing attention to detail.
I like to practice getting my languages right and researching really helps me.
I like the feeling when I'm writing my languages. There's loads of different ways you can write accents too. It helps me to feel calm and happy and I'm very good at it. I really love it when I sing in my languages. Its an amazing feeling.
I joined a preforming arts school last year but it was too much for me and too long. They were doing their own thing too. My Mummy joined in to help me. That was Funny and amazing!! The children were mainly neurotypical there. I'm still waiting to find somewhere.
Joe is super talented, he loves DRAWING with a black pen.
He loves Five nights of Freddie's which is an on line horror game. I know shock horror, what a bad parent I am allowing my 14 year old son to play horror games. Luckily because of his amazing brain he reassures me its not real and loves to research on line everything he can on the history of the characters. He loves to draw his own characters too. His detail is second to none. As his parent I have to throw away the usual rules of parenting and use our own set of neurodivergent rules instead. To be honest its quite liberating!!!
I dont limit his game time/screen time and ill explain why.
As an autistic person he has lived on this planet for 14 years years. For most of that time he has not been recognised as an autistic person, in fact he was repeatedly told the opposite.
Your not autisitc, you dont look autisitc, hes fine hes just quirky, hell catch up!. Well first of all I know "hes fine," in fact hes fantastic!!.
I just want to validate his identity.
Living in a world that doesnt support your neurodivergence (the state of being) neurodivergent and therefore doesnt embrace his talents can as a consequence stump his talents, hobbies and passions as they are very swiftly labelled as "obsessions" and "fixed interests."
For many of Joes peers who are happily embracing their interests through community activities and events it only reinforces the massive divide between opportunities for them and him.
I feel so cross about it.
Hes had to watch most of his peers crack on with their lives having oodles of choices to help shape their experiences/minds whilst hes had the opposite.
So going back to why he must have autonomy over his gaming choices?
Please check out the above link for fantastic straight forward information on sensory processing. I'm not a specialist but Katie Kerley most certainly is!!
Anything and anyone that supports Joes regulation gets a massive great big yes from me and more importantly him.
Joe is learning what his brain/mind/body needs in order for him to be the best version of his autistic self. His central nervous sytem is an excellent tool and my job is to help Joe to listen to it and NOT IGNORE IT.
He doesnt have to waist his processing on visual stimuli(face to face) when talking to his peers. This reduces the stereotypical pressure to communicate in a way that pleases others. He can use the safety of his bedroom to come down from the days events and use gaming as a way to regulate.
This platform has been his trusted friend,
I have been criticised for allowing him to have free access to unlimited time on this device. My responce is as follows.
Please show me any other opportunities where Joe is being enabled to......
1.Speak to peers from different nationalities from all over the world where can share his love of languages.
2. He is an amazing mediator and helps others to work through any disagreements.
3. He explains his neurodivergency to the children hes gaming with and educates others. (Self advocacy/Identity)
4.He is problem solving and is a great designer and researcher.
5.He is able to support other neurodivergent children to feel positive about their own identity.
This platform is helping him prepare for adult hood and Weve not found any other spaces in his community that can offer the same.
Within his paper work he is described as someone who needs help with socialisation and communication,
When I read through Joes paper work It always make me feel abit sick finding myself making groaning sounds accompanied with an eye roll!
"Joe has fixed interests and needs to expand his choices"
"Joe has obsessions and needs to widen his social opportunities in the community"
"Communication, empathy, reading others emotions, not understanding boundaries, relationships, friendships, appropriate behaviour" and all other outcomes based on "appropriate behaviour"
So all of this narrative which is founded from the pathology(medical) paradigm is clearly trying to change his autistic identity and doesnt recognise his autisitc right to function in the way he was meant to.
What Does "appropriate socialisation" looks like anyway and who decides what's appropriate and what's not?
Organic connections please. In what ever way works. Even if that means He doesnt want to talk to anyone or interact. Hes giving his brain what it needs.
It does puzzle me when proffessionals write outcomes that state that he needs to progress in certain areas by a certain time frame?
Why for the love of stranger things, Is the world coming to an end?
By the way I know why the time frame/outcome is being identified from a practionar/proffessional perspective but none the less its not something I agree with or support.
His love for languages started from the age of 6 years old.
He will write for hours and hours with his pad and black pen. He sings his favourite songs in all the different languages he can find. This also helps him to regulate and is a regular stim.
This enables him to sit in a café or restaurant. He may not be joining in with the topic of conversation but he is sharing his enthusiasm for his beloved languages. His face beams with joy as he fills the room with information. Hes talking to the waiter about different origins of certain languages(Socialisation) hes reading the menu and translating it in Spanish(communication) ORGANIC CONNECTIONS.
Why is this so important?
We are all unique and every single human being has different types of sensory processing. It is not exclusive to neurodivergent people(minds which significantly diverge from the neuronormative way of being) which is why the human species is so diverse in their cognition and processing ability. There shouldn't be only one model way of being as we all function differently from one another.
Joe passions and hobbies are vital to him and are helping him to be the healthiest version of hiself, so please dont under estimate passions and hobbies and expert knowledge. They are enabling him and others to be able to function in oppressive environments and filter out harmful elements which trigger his central nervous system.
The benifits for Joe is....
Processing is easier
Cognition is maximised
Understanding is maximised
Regulation is supported
Embrace them, celebrate them, encourage, harness, support children to thrive!!
THANKYOU FOR READING.
LOVE JOE AND JENNY