that works for YOU and/or your Autistic loved one. That’s the Autism Secret Sauce. The secret is within each Autistic person. Understanding a person’s Autistic framework and building upon that throughout a lifetime is the HWY to success. For everyone. Making snap assumptions about what an Autistic child/adult thinks, feels and needs in life is not awesome sauce. Creating that specially blended life plan “scaffold” for someone MUST include that ‘someone.’ NO ifs, ands or buts. It’s non-negotiable. Their input should always be the main ingredient in the sauce. If a person is non speaking that is no excuse to exclude them. There are always many things to discern and include from people using alternate means of communication which are integral to the recipe. As in: do not make the sauce without them!
It’s NO SECRET…
that incessant quick judgments are made about every age and every stage of Autism and Autistic people. Especially those using speaking alternatives as communication. People like my son are labeled as severe, profound and maladapted, all words we reject. These judgments have been running rampantly amongst people and most tragically the presiding experts for decades. Years upon years of programs built upon inaccurate Autism belief systems have many of us treading water that is not deep enough to support healthy vessels. I am regularly informed by experts that my non-speaking Autistic teen has the mind of a 2 yr. old. They also believe he is intellectually impaired. I have learned to ignore this ridiculous belief that these “presumptive specialists” hold about my now 17 yr. old son. Sadly, it’s these damaging and commonly seen expert beliefs, that families buy into and quickly add to their “sauce.” Don’t use flawed recipes in life.
Trusting what others say…
about your Autistic loved one over what they “say” OR “communicate” to you is a mistake. A very big one. It’s a betrayal. Imagine yourself in the position of wanting to voice your thoughts and ideals only to be talked to as if you are a toddler. Imagine feeling as if everyone is “managing you” without you. You are watching a “play” of your own life and you do not have any lines. It’s not a nice thing to consider. Possibly why…no one ever seems to! Handing over your instinctual common sense to so-called “Autism experts” is what I deem the ‘slippery slope sauce.’ The sauce that is more like quicksand…where things can go sour and have you sinking quickly! You must realize that your loved one’s instinctual knowing is supreme and where all of the power lies. Do not second guess what you already know. No matter who is asking you to. Presuming competence shapes healthy attitudes and lives across the board. For your Autistic loved one /client, in the dynamics of the family and beyond. Families would be wise to take this power stance!
As a culture we are moving away…
from being told how to think and feel. In 2016 we see physical manifestations of just how unhealthy that has been. Autistic people do not respond to those tactics, genetically. We find that beautifully refreshing and a in all actuality; a much more natural human way of being. When you communicate to a non speaking person that you believe the people speaking around them, more than you believe in them: it’s painful. Just imagine for a moment what you would do and how betrayed you would feel in that instance. Just because someone uses words, they are believed and trusted to be correct about someone else’s non-speaking reality. When others assume things and speak for someone else day in and day out…that is not okay. It only stands to reason that some days there will be hell to pay because of it. Days that have nothing to do with “hormones.”
Finding the secret sauce…
for yourselves and those you love takes time and dedicated contemplation. It also takes a keen and unbiased perspective. Watch how a person’s musculature changes when they are feeling uncomfortable, triggered emotionally and or threatened. Anticipate comforting tactics in these very real instances. Apply these FOUR basic tenants completely to your loved ones and be unwaivering in your use of them. When you approach every moment understanding how important these 4 key components are things will shift naturally.
#1.) Emotional Clearance. Clear your emotional slate and be emotionally open and fully available to support your loved one.
#2.) Verbal Validations. Use the words which show you unequivocally support your distressed loved one and the physical and/or emotional pain they are currently experiencing!
#3.) Physical Supports. Decipher what these physical supports are, a chill zone space, cool water, diet, bathing in Epsom salts, taking a walk, protein snacks, deep pressured massage or tapping, trampoline activities or swinging for joint compression.
#4.) Commitment of Respect. The resolve that you will be there for your loved one no matter what happens. Without shame or guilt you will respect what they feel, sense and experience. It’s just that simple!
For my son: Dietary changes, epsom and eucalyptus infused baths, loads of cool water and towels, foot, back and head massage with pressurized tapping, melatonin and horseradish infused foods (keeping congestion away) are currently in the mix for his comfort blend. He has actively taught me with out words his entire life what he prefers. My astute Autistic friends experiential words seem to validate and buttress every instinct Wyatt directs me to follow and for us….