Life with autism certainly is not dull. Although it can be exhausting, for both the autistic person and for parents. Yet it is also enriching in heart. The openness of an autistic person's heart is, in my opinion as pure as you will ever experience.
I have come across it so many times over the years. When you are hugged or kissed by a person with autism, you feel different, it feels different. For me time stands still; only for a few seconds but it definitely does.. The intensity of the love that is so gentle, yet strong is unique. I think the pureness of it comes from it being given without asking for anything back. A response is not expected, in fact nothing is expected of you at all. This is rare, so rare that the feeling we receive when hugged or kissed by a person with autism is all consuming.
I get hugs from Jeorge, more now than he could cope with in previous years. From a baby in arms, as Jeorge was relaxed and enjoying the nurturing he received. He would enjoy playful and loving kisses as he grew from a baby to a young toddler. He would lay in our arms at bottle time and engage, enjoying the warmth and security a cuddle can give. He could cope with the intensity of mine and his dads love.
When Jeorge was around 15-17 months old it seemed he began to feel the intensity of his surroundings and other people’s emotions and energy so strongly that cuddles and kisses became less. I knew it was not because he did not desire or need a cuddle, he just could not cope with it for reasons I probably could never fully understand. I did however accept this. He had been cuddled and caressed so much as a new born and growing baby into a toddler, he was aware he could come for cuddles anytime.
Throughout the years we would still offer hugs to Jeorge, I would kiss him on his head when it was not too distressing or uncomfortable for him. Then I started to ask him if I could have a kiss please. Jeorge would come to me or his dad so we could kiss his head. Which is adorable and his way of kissing us. He does have a cuddly lion, which goes everywhere with him, to school too. Jeorge will kiss lion a lot throughout a day. He kisses him when he is hurt, when he wishes to show affection to me or anyone else..or to simply give love to lion or to himself.
The most usual time for Jeorge to cuddle me is when he has just had a bath. He is wrapped up in his towel and as I am drying his hair with a towel he so very gently wraps his arms around my waist and pulls himself to me. Hugging me for a few seconds. A beautiful silent moment of pure love, so gentle, so intentional and precise, it still takes my breath away. I can very gentle wrap my arms around him which he can cope with now. I am aware that I am receiving a hug from Jeorge intentionally given so I really allow that moment to be received.
Affection and acknowledgement of other people's feelings is something that is spoken about a lot with regards to autism. Some say that if you are autistic you lack empathy or compassion. Love even. This is so completely untrue. When spending time with a person who is autistic, you soon get to learn that their ability to love and accept others is so pure that there are no rules or expectations to it. There is no big song and dance about how they love or give love, accept you or do not judge you. They simply are that way, completely and naturally without having to prove it or keep performing it so that others feel better about themselves.
As many autistic people are so sensitive to others energy, the vibe that is emitted from each human is an ever changing frequency. Most of us do not feel it on a daily basis, or certainly in a moment to moment situation. Yet most of us have at some point in our lives, said things like, 'I don't know, there was something about that person that felt odd, heavy somehow, I felt uncomfortable.' Or you have said the opposite and that that person felt so loving or had a really good energy about them. Autistic people can mostly feel that energy as easily as seeing a flower. They see the energy before the physicality of the person, as this is the truth of who we are.
The feeling of the words that are being spoken are more intense often than the actual sound of the words. Sometimes we speak what we mean, but often many of us do not. We lie, constantly. 'How are you?' our reply, regardless of how we really feel is 'oh I am ok thanks.'
Sensitive people can feel the energy and the frequency of it, so can become so overwhelmed by it that they have to shut down a lot so they can cope with being in the same space as it. This has led to many scientists and doctors in the past to believe a person with autism is incapable of loving or showing any kind of love or empathy towards another.
Yet, Jeorge shows real love and affection towards me and others he feels safe around and with those who speak a truth to him. Without asking for anything back with regard to emotional support. If a person is not standing in their truth, fully regardless of the intention, Jeorge gets agitated. The intensity of the emotions/energy added to the lie adds another layer so strong leaving many sensitive people so overwhelmed and confused it can physically hurt.
I suggest that autism is a wonderful opportunity for humans to become more than we are allowing ourselves to be. I suggest that sensitivity can be seen as something to celebrate instead of seeing it as a burden or a disability. When we feel something too much or a noise is too loud, a light too bright for us to bear, it is natural for one to shut down somehow. So why is it so difficult to understand that this is what can happen with a person with autism? Shutting down from such intensity is a survival mechanism.
Many behaviours of autistic people are still misunderstood. I can misinterpret Jeorge, I do not mean to and I try my best every day. Yet I do find myself struggling to understand some behaviours. I do however, understand that the sensitivity of an autistic person is the key to why and how they process the world and others. It cannot and should not be ignored without not ever really getting to know the actual human being within the autism we see. We learn not only about autism itself but about ourselves. Total freedom in who we really are, feeling a feeling without filtering or assessing whether it is 'appropriate' behaviour, am I being too happy, too sad for too long, am I too loud, is it OK for me to scream so loud about how happy I am at seeing a dog or whatever it is that fills me with joy?????? We constantly suppress our emotions and feelings, quickly putting them into boxes and confinements of unseen or felt. We do this so that we do not feel embarrassed or, more so made to feel embarrassed, judged by the unspoken rules, made up by who? Does anyone actually know who did make up the rules of accepted emotional behaviour and expression? Or was it just very slowly drummed into us as we grew, each of us as children slowly became less able to share honestly how we felt about anything?
My final word on this is, that autism to me is not a disability, it is an ability to feel so much and see so much that it can be overwhelming. If we lived within a different society and set of rules. With less harshness and cruelty, I am guessing being autistic could be a lot less painful. I see constantly people regarded as disabled made to do things, endlessly things they do not want to do. Pointless things really. For those of us who live still within strict confinements of stifled emotional honesty and freedom find ourselves the ones insisting that the person with autism be the one to change, not us, no, we are fine. We are normal!
I beg to differ and welcome being in the company of someone who is ego-less, without expectation of what they want from us, pure in heart, gentle and free. Connecting to the planet on a holistic level instead of just a fraction of it. The things we are missing, the beauty the possibilities, the reality of all that can be seen on this earth. Many can see and feel it as autism is here in abundance and is here to stay.