Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Close your eyes Mom!": Talking to my Son in the Autistic Spectrum

My son Joshua is 7 years old.  He has been diagnosed in the autistic spectrum.  When he is having a particularly rough day, he may prefer to avoid seeing people's faces or eyes.  He also has a hard time handling adrenaline or strong emotions, even if they are coming from another person rather than from inside of him.  

That is why, there are times when he wants to tell someone something, but he doesn't want to do it face to face, eye to eye, and emotion to emotion.  

I know we all do that sometimes.  Maybe we prefer to email a difficult topic to someone, just for a little personal distance.  Maybe your child likes to tell you things when you are not looking at each other, like when you are driving the car and he/she is sitting in the back.  It tones down the emotional intensity you are having to process from the other person. 

Sometimes, my son will ask me to come under the covers with him so it is dark and we can't see each other.  Then he will tell me what is on his mind.  Or laying in the dark as he is falling asleep...he may say, "Mom..." and talk about something that feels emotionally intense to him.  I have to remember to be very "matter-of-fact" when he tells me something like that.  Whatever it is, he is feeling overwhelmed by the emotion of it already, without my response adding to it.  

How do your kids talk to you?