Hello my lovely Bloggy friends,
I followed a link on fb today to this post,
which was on Autism and Empathy.
I became extremely overwhelmed when reading the following.
We need to be on guard against the Data Myth and the stereotypes it perpetuates. Children with autism may sometimes react differently, but that doesn’t mean they lack human emotions. We need to think about, write about, and treat children with autism with the understanding that they experience a full range of emotions but have trouble processing and communicating them. We need to understand that they are interested in people and want to interact, but that they have sensory or communication issues that make it difficult. We need to challenge the medical community to rise above these stereotypes. And we need to see our kids as already whole and complete children, not as faulty
The post reminded me of some thoughts I wrote last year.
So I thought I’d share and update with more recent thoughts.
The Blue Peter Cambodia Appeal.
I was about 10 years old, the children’s TV show here in the UK “Blue Peter” had an appeal to raise money for children in Cambodia. They showed an awful amount of footage that made me feel very lucky to have food and a home. It also devastated me to see such under nourished children with flies circling their faces and them having no energy to flick them away. This footage I still remember to this day, and if I focus on it I still cry.
My Mom in her wisdom, decided to use my very visual imagination to get me to part with some of my many toys, that I was extremely attached to. She came into my bedroom with black bin bags and said something like this, “You have far too many toys in this room, everything needs to be sorted and tidied up. There are a lot of starving children in this world, you’ve seen it on Blue Peter. Get rid of some of these toys and I will take them to the charity shop and you will help to save a little child’s life.”
I gave away everything
I couldn’t bear the thought of these little kids having no food. The visuals from Blue Peter were far too much for me.
I only kept 2 toys, my Tiny Tears Doll and my Teddy Boo-Boo. I still have both of them.
Now I have a theory about this lack of empathy thing
It’s only from my understanding and what I have lived, I have read nothing on it…my dyslexia makes that difficult. Personal accounts from others is my best way of learning.
I know that over the years I have had to shut down to my feelings because they are so intense. I can get so overwhelmed by emotion that I can barely function. I know that when I love a person they become as important as myself. My children are more important and I would die for them.
Because I have visual reruns of things that either hurt me or confuse me, I end up rehearsing and chatting and analysing, this can be quite tiring. I will have so many conversations going around in my head. I have managed to stay in touch with my feelings, emotions and show empathy by being careful what I feed my brain with. Being careful not to overload myself. I know now what will replay in my constant thought loops and which things to avoid. I can also praise up the less noisy loops and help myself to do the things that are hard to do.
I think that the lack of empathy thing is just a shut down mechanism of self protection because emotion is so intense…it will overload the system and cause sensory difficulties and eventually complete shutdown. But this is just a whole load of Lisa Lingo from my babbling thought loops.
I just know that when I gave my toys away it was because I cared deeply for children I would never meet, and I was willing to go without my faithful friends so they would live. I don’t believe that I lack empathy and I don’t believe other Aspies do either. But this is just my understanding.
Recently I was told by a professional
“I have taken you out of your comfort zone Lisa, but you will adapt!”
I was struggling to comprehend the changes to what I was doing, the environment I was placed in and the NEW people I was having to interact with. I tried my best to explain the overwhelm of sensory and emotions I was dealing with on top of everything else I am trying to process lately, that this person knows about.
Yes I was way out of my comfort zone and barely staying afloat.
All I wanted to do was run, hide and be in a safe place. My emotions were at full capacity, my sensory was switched on to the max and I felt that NO ONE was listening, NO ONE understood and most of all NO ONE cared.
I am no longer in that situation now, I know my limits and they were pushed too far. I also know that if I only had to cope with an environmental change with familiar people I would have been ok. Or if I had to cope with new people in a familiar environment and routine that also would have been ok. However this was new environment, new people and new routine all in one go.
I felt totally overwhelmed by this and was not really processing what was going on. I felt I was letting down those around me. I hate feeling like I let people down and this will not leave my head. I had no choice but to leave this situation and sort out the other things in my life that are causing me complications.
This quote is from The Data Myth post
Children with autism have empathy. They may behave differently. They may communicate differently. They may need more time to process the event and the emotions. They may even experience emotions too intensely.
Those high functioning on the spectrum
Don’t grow out of being Autistic, we just learn how to hide it REALLY well. We have to, because most people in this world don’t understand empathy and our ways are seen as different, odd, unacceptable and over-emotional.
Love and hugs.
Lisa. xx 🙂