I planned to write about the subject of noise and autism after hearing a story about a mum who had received a letter from a neighbour complaining about the noise her son was making. It seems to be from someone who may not have a lot of knowledge regarding autism and has little understanding of why her son would behave in this way. This little boy of three has non verbal autism and uses high pitch screeches and sounds to express how he feels so yes it may come over as loud and annoying but that is the way he communicates.
I often think about my neighbours a lot and what they may think. My son started off non verbal at 3 or 4 years old and received many speech therapy sessions, now he is more verbal than anyone else I think. He also displays echolalia which means he repeats a lot of scenes and lines from movies and tv programmes so sometimes he can be very loud. I do try to put myself in other peoples situations and think how I would feel if my son didn't have autism and how would this the of noise effect me.
I'm sure it's frustrating, especially of you want to sit in the garden and get some peace and quiet but I think with people living so close to each other in some areas that it is not always possible to get completely away from the hustle, bustle and noise of each other. If it's not someone with autism it's music playing, lawnmowers, DIY or something, that's just life going on around us.
As I write this it's quite ironic that I'm not coping too well with the noise of autism today. Most of the time I let it go above my head and filter it out, after all I've had a lot of practice.
Today though it seems constant, loud and I feel as I'm constantly telling him to be quiet which I feel awful about as we spent so long helping and encouraging him to speak. I also feel guilty about moaning about something so trivial. It's just one of those days, those that know about autism will know that we have up and down days. I know we will go out for a walk he can let it all out in the open air and work some of his energy off. I'll get 'lightsabered' and everything will be back to normal, well our kind of normal. Sometimes as a parent you can't see it until you stop and think, see things from an autism mind. At first you want to shout and scream too, have your own parent meltdown, but that just makes things worse doesn't it? We have to be the calm ones, the chill out zoners, hard though and it doesn't always happen that way.
I feel for this lady and her son, it's not easy and it is hurtful with the way in which the letter was written. For us families, we all live with autism and what brings with it 24 hours a day. Most people who don't have autism in their lives can escape, you can get away so it all comes down to awareness and taking the time to understand what other people may have to go through. She isn't neglecting her son, she's just letting him be him in his way and his world. Maybe the neighbours should all get together and just talk about it, maybe they just don't know what is involved living day to day with autism.
I know its made a difference just amongst our family by discussing my sons autism. You ask all of my family and they have learnt a lot and still learning. there's one thing about living with autism, there's never a dull moment. So I'm going to pick myself up out of little mood I'm having which may be due to coming to the end of the six week school holidays. Yes give our selves a pat on the back, we've nearly made, some already have across the country. I'm going to give my son a big squeeze and tell him although he's noisy I love him to bits and I might join in with a high pitch sing long to Thomas and friends song. If you can't beat em' join em'!!
Thanks for reading and for those who didn't see the story regarding this family here is the BBC News link:
Take care for now.....
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Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.