I listen every day as my youngest son chatters on, and on, and on. From the moment he wakes up, until the moment he falls asleep, he talks. There was a time, until he was about 4 1/2, that he didn’t talk at all. To listen to him now, many would not understand him. He tends to talk in movie, or you tube video clip sentences. Not exclusively, but quite a lot. Being Autistic, for him, this is one of his “things” Those first years were a struggle for all of us. I so wanted him to talk, to be able to interact and share his thoughts and wants, and view on life. I found, though, that words aren’t the only way to communicate.
We try so hard to have people think, or communicate with us the same way we do, that when they don’t, we feel they are the ones doing it wrong. Rather than expending all that energy to have them change, first we need to understand how they might view things, and tailor our communications in that direction.
I had a revelation about that when my son was about 4 years old or so. One day he had my little point and shoot digital camera. As he was playing, he liked to take pictures of things, mainly his trains. At the end of the day, I happened to look through the pictures he had taken, and started to delete them to free some room on the camera. At 4 years old, you don’t expect to see great photographs, and they weren’t great, but it suddenly became clear how he views his world.
I began to see what he saw, how he viewed things, what he thought. A simple event of letting him play with a digital camera, gave me insight to my son that I might never have had.
At one point he turned the camera to himself and took a picture.
This is what I saw.
After the train passed by and we talked about how fast and loud it was, he decided he wanted to take some pictures. I gave him the camera and he took a picture of the tracks.
He paused and looked at the picture he just took, and decided he wanted to turn around and take a picture of the tracks going the other direction.
What struck me as he did this last picture, was he crouched down to get a different perspective. His view, how he sees his world, what is important to him.
I don’t know that he could explain why he crouched down, or even realized that he did it; but it made me stop and realize, again, how he looks at the world. It may be different from you or I, but it’s clearly not wrong, just different.