I want to talk about regulation. Autistic people have really
sensitive bodies. Please be aware that things that you might not be aware of
may disturb the autistic person. Anything from a buzzing light to a scratchy
label can cause them to be dysregulated.
I am often dysregulated by noises like a truck going past or a baby crying. I am also dysregulated by things going on inside my body. If I am tired or sick or low, I am also dysregulated. I am also dysregulated by other people’s emotions. If people around me are tired or sick or sad I can feel it. You have to remember that many autists are empaths and can sense people’s feelings. I am very tuned into the people I love. Their feelings can really drain me.
I am dysregulated by changes in weather. I can sense changes
in atmospheric pressure and in temperature. I suffer from seasonal affective
disorder during winter. It makes me feel depressed.
When I am dysregulated, my body is extra silly. It is such
hard work to keep it under control. The best way to control my regulation is to
talk about how I feel on the letter boards. Then I feel understood. I then
relax because I am no longer alone with my emotions. Communication is the key
to regulation. I am so grateful for my voice.
Today I want to talk about
respecting autistic people. People think that because some autistics can’t
speak, they are low functioning but this is not true. The only reason they are
not speaking is because they have motor planning difficulties. This is
interfering with their ability to speak. Let me assure you that they would talk
if they could.
The way you treat them is so
important. Imagine that you were smart but trapped in your body. Imagine if
people spoke to you as if you were a baby. How would that make you feel? That
is how the autistic person feels all the time.
Let them know that you see them
in there. The thought that they are not seen is frightening. So scary that you
might be missed. So scary that you might be trapped in your body forever and no
one will ever see you.
Then, when you speak to them, let
them know that you know that they are smart. Be respectful of their brains and
talk to them like you would talk to anyone of their age. Talk to them about
interesting things. Never talk to them like a baby.
I am so excited to write about
one of my favourite topics namely body mind disconnect. I have a super smart
brain and a super silly body. My brain knows exactly what it wants to do and
say but my body just won’t do it. Some people interpret my behaviour as how my
brain thinks. This is so hurtful as people then assume I’m stupid as my body does
such stupid things. I wish people wouldn’t jump to conclusions without getting
to know me first. I am so much more than what meets the eye.
Body mind disconnect is so
frustrating to live with. Imagine not being able to do simple things like
heading for bed when you are tired. Instead, your body heads in the opposite
direction, screaming. Just imagine how frustrating that must be. I wish I could
control my body and make it do what I want it to do.
Before making assumptions about
what I want rather ask me what I want on the letter boards. It is my only
I am Akha and I am going to take you on a journey. I am a non-speaking autistic person who lives in South Africa. I got my voice two years ago when I was introduced to Spelling to Communicate. My life has changed completely since then. No more isolation and my brain is respected.
I am so grateful to my mother for never giving up on me, even when my body was being silly. I am also grateful for my speech therapist, Tracy, for always fighting for a better life for me. My teacher Nicola is growing my brain. I have two sisters called Yandi and Phila, who is my twin.
I want to use this blog to discuss non-speaking autism and how it feels like to live in an uncontrollable body.