There are many stereotypes surrounding autism (ironic really), and one of the most common seems to be that people with autism lack the ability to experience emotions. I can’t say this has been our experience of autism at all, quite the opposite Archie has (and shows) strong emotions.
Sometimes these are easy for us to understand. For example recently Archie often appears upset because ‘Dan gone different school’ as he will tell us on his talker; usually through some tears. And this is something we would probably have been able to work out using a mixture of tapping and options for Archie to choose from. It’s something that I can sympathise with, we all have people who are important to us and people we miss when they move away.
Sometimes the reasons behind Archie’s strong emotions are harder for us to understand and here the talker can really be invaluable. A very upset Archie appeared in the kitchen a few days ago. He was howling, with tears streaming down his face and was very cross indeed with me for not being able to comfort him. His upset was out of the blue and I could not think of any recent trigger. We tried talking about Dan but it wasn’t that. The talker sorted it out:
‘Tomorrow lady washing’.
Archie loves our neighbour hanging out her washing (and he loves that she has two washing lines, one in the garden and one on the roof terrace – the talker was also used to share that ‘1, 2, washing upstairs’). The almost constant rain of the last few weeks means that he has missed hanging over the garden fence watching her washing. His upset was sudden, overwhelming and the reason for it would have been absolutely impossible for me to guess without the talker. I would never have worked out that rainy days and no full washing line could lead to such strong emotions – even in Archie.
Today there was some washing hanging out, which led to a hopeful ‘tomorrow sun washing’. We’ll see.