Sensation, whether visual, auditory or tactile, can be difficult for the autistic individual. Overcoming the onslaught, dealing with the sensations and figuring out how to interact in an environment filled with these uncomfortable and some times overwhelming stimuli are a daily ritual for many autistic children. Over the years my son has learned not only how to accept them, but has also figured out how to lessen the impact. Matt is 26 years old, (almost 27), and has spent 25 of those years navigating sensory overload. Over the years I have watched him learn and grow and just like every child, on the spectrum or not, he continues to learn how to interact in a complex world. I wonder, how much of his success can be directly related to his desire to interact with his environment?
This past month we carved pumpkins for Halloween. Now Matt has drawn on pumpkins before, has even tried carving before, but this year he did it all. From cutting the cap to cleaning out the goo to creating a design to carving, Matt did it all. While all of these things required interaction and creativity I am most impressed with his ability to think through a problem– more specifically, a sensory problem – and come up with a solution all by himself. Watching him I became convinced that his desire to succeed outweighed the obstacles his autism placed before him.
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