This post continues the 3-Step Integrative Approach to Autism series. Today Part 20: BEHAVIORAL Requirements for Growth: Dealing with Uniformity
Lack of Conformity to Uniformity:
Autistic and sensitive people at large are notorious for their originality. It is very difficult for them to take a socially glorified rule at face value and apply it in their lives. They have to re-think all social rules and traditions and study them first hand and come up with their own version of behavior. This could be a source of great distress to parents, teachers, acquaintances and partners. On the other hand, when a sensitive person tries to conform with society’s rules and demands, they invariably feel miserable. If one does not recognize the necessity to shed tradition in favor of original thinking, they may end up with feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. It is very important to teach your sensitive child that she does not have to do anything she is not comfortable doing. She does not have to sit with her legs crossed if it is going to make her uncomfortable and irritable. She does not have to learn to entertain guests if she does not like that. There is nothing wrong with a girl who never wants to wear a skirt or wants to dye her hair black and wear black clothing every day if this is what keeps her comfortable. Other people will have to adjust to her preferences for a change. These are simple examples of sensitive children growing up to develop an individualized sense of preferences that many times may not look anything like any other child within a ten-mile radius. These are changes your child is taking to feel comfortable enough in order to be able to mix and socialize. Your child is not trying to make a statement as much as she is trying to get her mood even, assert her individuality and take away the anxiety of conformity to uniformity. An understanding parent would encourage his growing sensitive child to customize her life according to her preferences and would not impose on her any of the glorified social customs. This attitude of the parents can be a huge part of promoting their child’s development and preparation for a life more socially fulfilling. I hope that we will reach a day when the child who has her own ways of going about her life will not be singled out, bullied, or made to feel different. Tolerance will trickle into society of sensitive people’s lifestyle, but it will absolutely have to begin in the family.
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