Autism and my “Tick Tock” moments

Autism and my “Tick Tock” moments

I wrote this article awhile back, but I wanted to share it again as April 3rd was Autism Awareness Day, and April is Autism Awareness Month. I hope you enjoy it and gain insight from it as well. #AutismAwareness #AutismAcceptance.So those of you that know me well know that I am an avid teen sci-fi fan. I love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and most recently I have gotten addicted to the Hunger Games series. I was surfing channels not too long ago, when I saw that “Catching Fire” was on. Of course, {{ MORE }}I dropped everything and very quickly became engrossed in it without even having seen the original movie. So, a ways through the movie, the main characters were deep within the challenges of her newest mission when one of the characters that had previously been introduced named Wiress ended up playing a very huge role in the outcome of this adventure. But first, a little backstory on our friend Wiress. Introduced earlier in the movie as a part of a duo nicknamed “Nuts and Bolts” Wiress was known as ‘Nuts’ because of her quiet, misunderstood nature, and later we find, a tendency to ramble on, talking ‘nonsense.’ Does this sound like anyone you know? It was evident from the beginning that Wiress was special, but it was not until this pivotal scene that I realized HOW special. So, fast forward to this challenge. I will try not to give away anything for those that are still working on the movies and books, but in the scene, she keeps frantically saying “Tick tock! Tick tock! Tick tock!” over and over again. It was annoying most of the others involved in this challenge, and at one point another character, frustrated with her constant repetition of “tick tock”, finally yelled at her saying something rude, and walked off in a huff–convinced her rambling was a waste of everyone’s time. Our brave heroin Katniss however was more patient with Wiress and in a few moments was able to decipher her “code” for what turned out to be potentially life-saving information that the entire group definitely needed to know. It really struck home for me when she smiled up at Katniss, so happy that she had finally been understood. I have seen that same smile on my 8-year-old son who is autistic many times. This scene was very emotional for me, and very touching. Was this done on purpose? Is the character of Wiress meant to be identified as autistic? I have not read the books, and perhaps this is known well by hardcore fans, but to me having seen it for the first time, it was very thought provoking. The thing that people do not realize about autism is that our children ARE talking to us. Daily. They are in fact communicating with us–constantly. Our task however is to find their FREQUENCY. I am constantly amazed at the way I am training my brain to work in order to decipher the “clues” that my son is giving to me as he is striving to get a message through to me. It is like twisting my mind and turning it upside down and inside out in order to see what he sees. If he keeps saying “Train train train” over and over again, most people will hear that he wants to see a train or ride on one, but after much careful thought it dawns on me that our dishwasher sounds like a train to him, and that he wants to help me put dishes in so that he can turn it on and hear the sound of it. So many moments and messages get lost in the pursuit of finding what is “normal.” Again, our children ARE speaking to us, we just have to learn how to listen properly. Given this new perspective on autism and how those with it communicate, I really had to ask myself… Are we not the ones that are actually ‘slow?’ Just some food for thought.