Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Mummy, I think in pictures too!

We were watching a TED talk a few weekends ago by Temple Grandin, and O was fascinated by Temple when she was explaining how she thinks in pictures.

O turned to us and said “Mummy, I think in pictures too.”
When we asked her what she meant, O replied “Sometimes I think in pictures, sometimes I think in words and sometimes I think in music. But mostly pictures and music. That’s why I like to sing.”
When I asked O to elaborate she said “Pictures and music are easy to understand, words can be confusing sometimes.”
O recently confided in one of the Educators at the OSHC service that she attends that one of her doctors thought that she might have Autism and that she is scared.
When I asked O why did it scare her, O said “Because it means that I am different from my friends.”
Oh my baby girl, it does make you different but in a good way.
O is already becoming aware that she thinks differently to her friends. She has confided on numerous occasions that she doesn’t understand how or why her friends say the things that they do. O frequently asks “why do they chase boys?” This is one thing that I am in no rush to explain to O!
If you ask O does she have a boyfriend, she will respond with yes. But she doesn’t mean a boyfriend in the sense of a relationship, she means that she has boys who are friends. How I wish that she could stay this innocent.
I’ve watched O in social situations at school disco, parties and playdates and witnessed her inability to know how to take the step that she needs to take to join in with peers her own age. O is much more comfortable interacting and playing with children who are younger than her.
O has said that she likes going to pick up L from Tara’s school because she understands the other kids at the centre. And she does, she just fits in like she belongs there. There is no hesitation whatsoever when we arrive at Tara’s school with O.
It breaks my heart seeing her struggle and hearing her trying to make sense of what is going on around her.
So after the Temple Grandin TED talk, Daddy superhero and I sat down to talk with O about her suspected Autism - we have two provisional diagnosis' and are waiting on the third to confirm our suspicions. I can say that we were both very apprehensive about how O would react to this information, but we were certain that she needed to know.
We’ve previously talked with O about L’s diagnosis. We read the book “I see Things Differently” which explains Autism through a story. O has embraced L’s diagnosis and willingly helps him out whenever he needs her, which is quite a bit.
By the end of our talk, O seemed much more at ease. O now knows that Autism means that she thinks way, way outside of the box at times. We’re talking "standing on the edge of the precipice and needing someone to haul her back in to get back on track" outside the box.
O now knows that the reason she is so anxious at times is because of her Autism. O knows that while she struggles with some things, her Autism causes her to be exceptional at other things.

O said that maybe Autism gives her such a great imagination. O knows that Autism is one of the reasons why she is so creative. O knows that while she struggles to understand how others speak at times, it also means that she has the ability to write the most amazing creative stories.
O is still worried, as there are some things that she struggles with. But she also knows that she has many, many strengths and that we are doing our very best to help her gain the skills that she needs to navigate this crazy world.

I know that in time, O will blossom and do amazing things in this world.

13 comments:

  1. This was so lovely to read. I'm so glad your daughter isn't so frightened and realises that autism isn't always scary. My brother's little boy is suspected to be on the autism spectrum, although he's too young right now to make an actual diagnosis. But as soon as we were given information on what the doctors think he has, everything just clicked! All of his behaviour, the different way he speaks, how different yet similar he is to his siblings, it all suddenly made sense.

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  2. O is becoming more and more used to the idea. It's really only when someone points out to her that she is different that she becomes worried. I hope that everything works out for your nephew. It is so important that early intervention is started for young children, it really does make a huge difference to them.

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  3. Sounds like your daughter has understood she truly is unique and special! So happy for you and your daughter.

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  4. It can be scary to get a diagnosis like that, but like you said, im sure it means that O has amplified strengths in certain areas! Once those areas are found and honed, O will definitely reach genius levels beyond what ordinary people can achieve. It's a good thing!!

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  5. I work with students with learning differences. Each one has special gifts. We are all different and that is what makes the world great.

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  6. Beautiful. I enjoyed this post because you are so warm and conforting. She seems bright enough to accept she is different and still thrive. I have a child that has ADHD and doesn't relate well with her peers and it's a struggle every year in school. She doesn't see herself different but I know how she presents herself so I know how she appears to others. She too is brilliant in many areas and just lacks in the social area. Shes a good artist and loves everything except reading. I am just on edge for her adulthood and what that will hold for her future.

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  7. She is beginning to learn herself even more each day! What a great blessing!

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  8. She sounds like a very introspective little girl who knows herself well and has a great ability to express herself! I'm glad she was able to accept the possibility of her diagnosis and that she has parents who want so much to teach her the positive side of being "different."

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  9. This is pretty amazing. I love how you talked to your daughter about possibly being different, it's beautiful and it's so heartfelt. I enjoyed reading the whole post, thank you so much.

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  10. Ted talks are amazing. We spent the weekend watching ones on travel. I'm glad your kid was able to express themselves to you over the ted talk.

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  11. O sounds like such an amazing little girl with a talent that most others don't have! Not only is it hard for me to understand everything, I'm also not able to think in pictures and in music. I'd love to be able to have O's super powers when it came to understanding things!

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  12. That is a great way to talk to your daughter about being different and why it's not a bad thing. It can be so hard for kids to be different than what society has deemed to be the norm,

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  13. I am truly happy for you and your daughter. Its great that she understands. <3

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