(A note on Emma’s post. Because this is a fictitious dialogue that Emma wrote, for clarity’s sake, I asked her if it was okay to put the Autistic person’s words and thoughts in italics and the non autistic’s words in quotation marks. She agreed. My part of the conversation is in parentheses.)
For today’s blog post, let’s pretend you are the Autistic one and I should be the non autistic.
“Oh dear! Why are you hurting yourself?”
(I asked Emma whether the Autistic person could use spoken language to speak.)
You can’t speak and I will talk for both of us, it will be more authentic that way. Maybe you talk, but not with the words that best describe what’s in your mind.
“I don’t understand, do you want to go outside? Why are you biting yourself? Does that mean you do?”
You are thinking about expectations and how hitting yourself takes away the pain of not being understood and unable to say the words that will help.
“Here! We will go outside. It’s a beautiful day.”
I don’t want to go outside. I want to read a story.
Pointless bottling emotions of endless frustration cause words to wither in the recesses of the mind. Biting becomes the only way to stay rooted, but causes everyone watching to respond in loud voices of angry fear. Until there is understanding, you are alone in the terrible confusion of other people’s voices that are louder than yours.
Caution is needed whenever we decide we know what is in the mind of another human being.
That makes so much sense! Any of us would want to bite (and maybe bite someone else) if we were never understood. Great insights for us. Thank you, Emma.
Brilliant Emma! Such a bold statement put so creatively. “Pointless bottling emotions of endless frustration cause words to wither in the recesses of the mind.” Wow. ❤
She has so much to teach us. Thank you Emma…and your family too.
Thank you Emma ❤ You've given words to what I've tried to share over the years with others about how I was feeling, what I was thinking. Before being diagnosed and understanding myself I was among those with the angry, loud voices – for myself because I did not understand myself – let alone be able to express myself to other people. It did feel like I was withering inside. Thank you sweet Emma. You are the best! ❤
Thank you so very much, Emma, for sharing your experience, insight and wisdom. I learn from each of your posts. I learn not only how to better understand my son, but also, just how to better understand human nature. Bless you.
Entirely insightful and lovely!
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Emma, what a lovely narrative. 😉 People need to realize that when the autistic person hurts themself, it’s not because they are crazy or dumb, but because they have to express their frustration that way- they can’t talk about it. Non verbals have frustration too, and they show it in a way that gives people the wrong impression. Stereotyping all autistic people is wrong and really sad.
Thank you Emma!!
Reblogged this on 61chrissterry and commented:
This is so true.
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This might work well as a skit for classrooms in which the non-autistic students could engage in the experience for themselves. Not to make fun of, but to understand fellow students on the spectrum. You might want to consider that possibility. There are not enough authentic voices ‘speaking out’ for the non-verbal among us. Thank you for sharing. (A mom of a non-verbal autistic son.)
This line in particular sticks with me, thank you for sharing: “other people’s voices that are louder than yours.”
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