TMI – Friday 1st April 2016 

By | April 1, 2016

Weird title, you might think?

It concerns this – a film launched today by the National Autistic Society (click here to view – a short film in which a boy is walking through a shopping centre with (I presume) his mum and you see the experience from his viewpoint, sensory issues aplenty.

I don’t think I can ever learn too much information about autism and how it affects those on the (vast) spectrum, every little piece of information gleaned is a further step towards understanding just how – what others would construe as bad behaviour – everyday occurrences can affect and contribute towards a sensory overload and ultimately a meltdown.

Watch the film, if you haven’t already and share it please.  If everyone who watches it shares it, that could mean it could reach a lot of people.  People who are quick to judge, people who don’t currently understand the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown, people who may be too quick to dish out those looks of utter disgust and contempt at how a person with autism (because the anxieties and overload issues don’t stop at age 18) may be behaving.

Autism isn’t also restricted to boys, young boys as protrayed in this film and “The A Word”.  

There’s our lovely D.  Note the iPad and, somewhere in that picture, Bunny.  Both comforters and tools that she’ll use to distract her if her sensory issues become too much.

Like today.  We went to our shopping prectinct, now fully open after Storm Katie had made its presence felt on Monday.  All the evidence that remained was where a couple of areas were still cordoned off and patches where tiles had been ripped off roofs.  

D had been nervous about going up prior to today and because we knew our little sanctuary – Costa – was still shut, me too.

It reopened today (hurrah) and so we found a table at the back, thankfully not that busy and it gave D a chance to relax.  My crochet, D’s hand and her Kinder egg insert.
She’d got anxious at the swarms of people around the shops, worried about the gang of teenagers that were over-talking (shouting) each other and making D feel very unsettled.  There’d been strange smells emitting from other shops and all the while, people bustling past, going out their business (as they’re entitled to), thankful like I was, that businesses were up and running again.

It’s never easy.  I’m eternally grateful that I can recognise the signs that D is getting overloaded, her body language stiffens, her face changes – becomes almost zoned out and pale  – and all these are a sure sign that she needs to get away from whatever is overloading her.

I know the above, but others won’t.  They won’t see the preliminary signs, they’ll see the outcome (meltdown or bolt) if I don’t get her away from the scenario.  

They won’t see a child totally overloaded with sensory issues and emotions, they’ll see a “bad parent”, a “spoilt child”, someone who “needs a good slap”.  I’ve heard it all and seen those looks.

D doesn’t (fortunately) but she has started to notice if people stare at her if she flaps or hangs onto my arm a bit enthusiastically.  It makes her insecure, as if she needed any more reasons to feel that way!  

Watch the film, please and if you do, share it.  Thank you.

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