Saturday, December 9, 2023

Neurodiversity, Brilliance in Color

 As I read back through all the stories of my young motherhood, the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” comes to mind. Because just in the past few years, a great many things have been brought to light, by the knowledge that my family is predominantly on the spectrum with autism, a beautiful vivid variety of colors. We are as neurodiverse as they come. 

I was thinking today what a picture would look like of neurodiversity and I looked up and saw a beautiful, still glowing with orange and yellow, autumn tree. And I thought about how one person’s perspective of that tree might be that it is broken, even dying, in the way of giving life. While another person’s perspective is, that it is at its most beautiful and fullest version of itself. Maybe I’m biased as my favorite season is Autumn. But it felt like a revelation. 

There are certain aspects of autism that from outward appearances, can seem unacceptable to society. That make life in general, more challenging on a daily basis than someone who is not, on the spectrum. Processing all things sensory, lights, tastes, sounds, textures, new experiences, new people, large social gatherings, social customs and cues, can all be so overwhelming that it can cause internal (and sometimes external) meltdowns, shutdowns, or just a complete lack of comprehension of that given circumstance. 

The ability to follow multi-step instructions, keep a daily routine, even the simplest one, can seem like an insurmountable task, a mountain of impossibility. 

Autistic people can feel and experience emotions very intensely, this can create a beautiful advantage in relationships, but also present a huge challenge in communication combined with the difficulty in understanding the meaning or intention of another.

They have a supreme sense of justice. And have difficulty seeing and accepting the grave injustices we have all around us on a daily basis. 

When not distracted by other things, they can be very empathetic, almost to a superlative degree. This also, can be a blessing or a curse. As they may feel a sense of unresolved conflict if someone in their life is upset or unhappy, as if they are going through it themselves. 

They have an amazing ability to consume the knowledge of a particular thing or topic to the point of obsession, memorizing details, and being able to share vast amounts of information on a subject, as well as become highly skilled in a particular area of interest.  

In short, their brains are wired differently. But where I used to see the struggle, I more often see the incredible gifts that accompany it. And how blessed I am to be a part of it. That God decided to give me a significant role n their lives, as I am certain they will all do amazing things, with the gifts God has given them, for His greater glory. 

And as I can hardly wait for fall each year, to see the vibrant colors on all the trees, I can hardly wait to see what beautiful “colors” my neurodiverse family will bring forth, both now and as they continue to grow into the person God has planned them to be! 

Post a Comment