My daughter Stephanie and I have been watching Frozen, and as always, I'm looking for hidden meanings in the story. I love to look at movies and songs and apply them to my daily life.
Our household is all-autistic. We all have diagnoses of Autism. I see Elsa's superpower of ice as being similar to the Autistic superpowers that we all possess. We don't have the power to freeze things, but our overzealous emotion can hurt those we care about.
Watch: Why we love Michael from Love on the Spectrum. Post continues below.
Autism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "a developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterised by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour."
What this means for us, in my family, is that we experience external stimuli as blasts of information. When we are out in public, the smells, the sights, the sounds and the people can all merge together and become completely overwhelming.
In order to regulate, we can focus on repetitive behaviours to deal with the meltdown that is occurring in our brain because of the overload of information we've received. We can go into a shutdown, or we can go into aggression because we are afraid of all the information hitting us at once. I find this really hard sometimes, because my kids and I all receive and process information in a different way.
I might regulate by putting loud music on, a song that is comforting to me. But, this music might overwhelm my son, who then has to repeat a phrase, which annoys my daughter, which makes her need to complete a regulatory behaviour of hitting him, which makes him hit back, which makes me cross and overwhelms the song that I'm playing.
Our household is a constant balance of sensory needs, overwhelm, fear, anger and love.
Nobody's processing is quite the same with autism, so some of my sensory processing is avoiding, meaning I can't stand when there is too much aural information, but my proprioceptive system is seeking, meaning that I have a poor sense of where I am in the world.
This is evidenced by me being clumsy, falling down or stumbling a lot, not being able to tell my left and right easily, becoming disoriented by verbal directions (if you start telling me how to find your house, please stop, because I'm just going to look it up on Google Maps), I like physical contact (from the right people) and tight hugs.