These pictures are worth way more than 1000 words
Posted on October 7th, 2013 by MacKenzie
Several of my family members have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), so I’ve had a lot of time to watch the ways they act compared with people in other families. In our house, I don’t dare sit in one of “their” chairs. Rituals must, must be adhered to. To do otherwise risks, well, not the best reaction. The details expressed during dinner conversations can be overwhelming, and discussions often become one-sided very quickly.
This is what I grew up with, though, so I have never known otherwise. I’m older now and, as I realize just how different my family is from other families, I’m starting to appreciate the differences so much more. Sometimes I even crave the comfort of listening to incessant talk about Cubs baseball stats from 30 years ago, or hearing detail after detail about obscure topics like Irukandji syndrome, you know, the condition induced by the venomous sting of Carukia barnesi, a species of Irukandji jellyfish…and, oh yeah, certain other box jellyfish, too.
But really, what else are we going to talk about at the dinner table? How my day went? My day is the same every day — let’s talk about fatal jellyfish stings!
Every once in a while, words prove elusive to my family members with ASD. They can sit there in silence for various reasons. It doesn’t necessarily make them unexpressive or rude, though, just selective in how they want to express themselves, and what medium they want to use to do so.
Sometimes the things we create with our hands in those moments of silence say more than words can to express the way we’re feeling. My father paints landscapes of the sea. Translation: he wants to take a vacation. My sister sews a beautiful ballroom dance dress. Translation: she wants to laugh and feel pretty. And me, with my own learning disabilities? You might find me sitting with a book in a corner or sketching a fierce dragon. Translation: I want to have an adventure.
Moments of silence can become the most expressive time for people who have trouble finding words. To give you more examples, I’ll be introducing you to Easter Seals clients who are telling beautiful stories through their artwork in a series of upcoming posts here on the Easter Seals blog. Stay tuned!