When working with neurological conditions, a clear idea of what’s happening inside the client is fundamental.
As far as I’m concerned, therapists are not always fully aware of what it means to be autistic. It is extremely important to understand the reasons behind some behaviors, like stimming, as much as it is necessary to be able to interpret some needs that the person may not be able to express clearly.
An autist will never understand why the therapist first tries to make him relax with music and the asks repeatedly to be looked in the eyes, which is something that often causes anxiety. There’s no need to force socialization. The idea of a “deficit in the social area”, as something that needs to be fixed at all costs, can become a real nightmare for many. It is up to the therapist to understand when and how the client wants and can interact with others.
Always ask yourself why we do what we do.
Never underestimate all those subtle signs of distress. A child flapping his hands in front of her eyes may have problems with the lights. Right, because we’ve got some sensory sensitivity issues, and some types of lights are like needles in our eyes. If she covers her ears with the hands every time you play on the treble notes or uses a flute, maybe she needs to block out some specific frequencies or sounds that she can’t stand. Sometimes smells are also a problem so, please, watch out your perfume…
There are so many things people don’t even imagine about autism. Too often these things are just seen as oddities, other times as something to correct. But the reality is that the vast majority of our behaviors, even if you don’t know, are there because they’re part of what we are because we need them.
Never give anything for granted. We’re not weird or broken, we’re just different.