Body language, eye signals, embraces, all a bit of a nightmare.
The students I have with autism are so varied, it is difficult for THEM to understand what autism looks like, never mind what we think.
I was talking to a child today about how his behaviour affects others. He has high functioning autism (formerly Aspergers) and he really struggled to understand how someone might not be able to tell you how they felt. He assumed that everyone with aspergers was just like him and he has no trouble at all verbalising what he thinks!
We talked about a sliding scale. We talked about how for some children anxiety looks like aggression and for others there are no holds barred, you would simply get a smack! For others, anxiety makes them retreat inside themselves, and for others they rock, or shake their hands. He recognised all these actions but did not realise what they perhaps meant.
His issue was swearing. another student really disliked it, it upset him and as a result he would tell his parents he did not want to come the following day, sometimes self harming too. He could not understand this at all. How could it be that someone couldn’t tell you what they thought? How did that work!?
This couple hugging is such a simple picture, but what would it say to someone who was touch sensitive and couldn’t bear wearing certain cloths, never mind letting you touch them? Some of our students hate the school jumpers, some hate wearing a coat, some flip out at certain smells or something equally small.
This picture probably communicates something quite conventional to you, but now take another look, imagine you have no idea what a hug means at all and have never seen one in your life before.
Now what do you think this picture means?