Beatrix wrote the following after we watched episode two of The A Word together… she began reviewing the programme but quickly lost interest (it was mostly about crap parents, wasn’t it) and decided to just put some quick thoughts together as it was late and we have an epic play date with her bestie planned for today…
An aspie’s head needs to be full like a day dream, I am thinking of several other things while I am writing this for you, an aspie can put him/herself in danger without realising because he/she needs something to interest them when he/she gets bored like his [the boy on The A Word] music or games or writing. I dunno but it could be ANYTHING!!! It’s nice and relaxing it’s like taking a nice warm bath “ooo” that sounds nice, anyway hopefully you get the idea 😀
He looks at little things that are really complicated, like that ring pull, things that are tiny but amazing… How did someone make that? It’s small but it takes so much hard work to create it. How does the grass grow? Does it grow from seeds? Yes but how were the seeds made? Is it just naturally there, is it a weed? What is a weed?
He needs to be gently guided to do what he wants; he needs a life goal, something to keep him going and right now that’s his dad’s music.
I would think he would be possibly creative because when he looks at something he knows everything but its about writing it to remember it, I believe every person in the world knows everything you just have to memorise it to know it. *
But everyone is different, if someone says you’re weird because you are different, they are the weird one.
!!!I HOPE EVERYONE ENJOYED I LOVE WRITING HOPEFULLY I WILL WRITE SOME MORE!!!
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* This is a brief reference to a new concept that Beatrix is currently exploring, she’s still working it out, I have already been berated for misunderstanding it. But here goes, I will try to articulate it: I see it as her thinking about the huge mental potential we could unlock if we allow ourselves enough time to observe and think and process and let our brain explore… All the answers are out there, waiting. She is fascinated with ‘learning’ versus ‘inherent’ or ‘inherited’ knowledge and “potential” – I think it’s really interesting (and appeals to my love of mindfulness) – are all our new ideas already embedded somewhere in our subconscious, or even just somewhere out in the world, are they truly just novel and spontaneous or do we just have to unlock them from somewhere deeper first?
Maybe she is onto something quite interesting: are we ever really having new ideas?
Artistically, are we just selecting our preferred aesthetic from an infinite combination of available materials and configurations?
As we make advances in science or technology, perhaps we are not really inventing or discovering something new, perhaps we are just finally controlling and/or conceiving of, articulating something that has always been there…
Look at the new ideas about our solar system: scientists now think that the current configuration of planets is not the original one, that there was another super-sized planet that has now been ejected out of a conventional orbit, creating the asteroid and ice belts, setting up the solar system as we now know it. This breaks such a long-held belief, one we all thought was simply a fact, but through careful considered observation someone’s mind realised that this couldn’t be the case – a new truth emerged from looking closely at the little details… and maybe it’s still not the ultimate answer.
Having been with Beatrix 24/7 mostly for a long while, I know that she is the diametric opposite of what one might assume about the relatively blank stare of kids like Jo in The A Word: they may not appear to be right here right now with you but they’re definitely somewhere, consumed in things more in-depth and vivid and complicated than perhaps we can imagine.
Perhaps it’s time to reflect on the superficiality of a lot of our neurotypical preoccupations and be a little more mindful. When your child isn’t concentrating on the busy road or turning off the tap before the cup overflows, rather than berating them for not focussing on what you are: things that may appear to them to be arbitrary or less interesting aspects of their environment, why not choose to go to where they are? If they will let you (and you may have to be very patient to earn that privilege).
For me, this week The A Word has brought another perspective… I hope that all parents are watching it and learning something about how they interact with their children, not overlooking the message for them in that “it’s an autism drama”. Beatrix and I certainly saw it as a lesson in observing and listening rather than assuming and just wading all over someone without appreciating their perspective.
There isn’t an autism distinction here, all parents can be guilty of pushing their own aspirations and agenda and overriding their childrens’ wishes, if they are even aware of them.
I think it’s something many of us have to consciously be aware of and resist every day… I have been so excited about Beatrix’s first contribution to this blog and to be very honest, I don’t feel that her few paragraphs are at all representative of how articulate she can be and I would be lying to say that I wasn’t tempted to edit and tweak…
…but as she is already well aware (although I am still learning), it’s not about what other people think. Acting in an expected way. The greatest minds need to be left to do what they do best, to quietly deliberate, without being interrupted to do things that we think they should, without any pressure to outwardly demonstrate certain behaviours that make us feel better, without a mandate to do the “show and tell”, to have to present stuff, or themselves in a way that reassures or appeases us, a superficially judgemental audience.
Maybe sometimes we can’t understand why some kids (all kids) are caught up in the little things, the ring pull, the ant, the twinkling reflection of the sun off a glass of water, or Thomas the Tank Engine series 2 episode 5 but we must not value judge.
Parents hold such power: our closed-minded dismissal and derision could be enough to destroy the confidence of someone who may have otherwise become one of society’s great minds; we must all, regardless of our child’s neurology, limit and/or fulfil our parental role as/to what it should be: infinite, unconditional support, belief, nurture and love.