I was having a conversation with my son, who is high functioning autism, and suddenly he stood up, yelled, and ran into his room yelling at his sister. He threw himself on the bed and yelled and fell into a full fit.
I walked into the room and asked him what happened: “SHE WALKED IN MY ROOM AND TOUCHED MY STUFF!!”
If I tried to explain to him that it was truly no big deal or tried to explain why she went into his room, I would be greeted with anger/screaming/yelling/and a HUGE meltdown.
Autistic have ways, perceptions, and ideas completely different…not bad, just different.
Colors are brighter.
Sound is amplified.
Motion is intensified.
The order of things are rigid and regimented.
Life looks very different for someone on the spectrum.
Does this mean they are wrong and act in ways that are wrong? No..just different. They are acting out and reacting to perceptions that they have.
We want them to act differently..more normal. We strive to “correct” their behavior. Is their behavior wrong – it could be – but their perception is saying that this is the most appropriate way of behaving given the information that is coming into their brain.
We just have to accept their perception is off..and make sure they don’t hurt anyone in anyway.
But isn’t this how we should deal with everyone? What is normal? Isn’t normal up for debate? We don’t truly want people to be “normal”…we just want people not to others.
So taking this idea – The Adverse Childhood Experiences test has shown us that our perceptions of the world are based on how we are treated and the experiences we have as a child. Someone with a high ACE test would perceive the world vastly different than a person with a low ACE test. Interesting enough, 90-98% of the violent criminals of the world have a very high ACE test…coincidence, NO! So in fact, many people have a very impaired perception of the world.
When we see someone commit an act of violence or are simply and plain nasty, or make some horribly questionable choice…it is possible they are trying to achieve happiness in the only way they know how. We can see it’s not a good choice, but they very well might see it as the only choice. Because of how they live and who they are, it is possible for them to have a very different outlook on the world…just like the autistic.
Like the autistic, we must first understand and accept these people for who they are. Not when they are already committing crimes, the ball has already been dropped by then. When they are kids we must start to identify them and reeducating them with acceptance and understanding.
What about the adults? Let’s really talk to them. Let’s really understand why they have the ideas that they do. Why they are doing the things they are doing. Let’s see why they think violence is the right way of doing things. Why they think that stealing and destruction is the only way to money and happiness.
Through acceptance and understanding we have the ability to see an angry violent person as the child that was taught that anger and violence was right, and that this is the only way to deal with your problems. We can begin to see that their problem solving skills involve violence as a negotiation tactic.
When we accept they have been hurt, they have been taught this…we can reteach, and relearn, and help. Through acceptance understanding…violence goes away, anger goes away, and happiness and peace live!