The way in which our ASD daughter’s brain works is fascinating, unfathomable and often frustrating but I love it when we get a glimpse into the workings of her strongest muscle, the brain. Every so often we get a sneak peak into what makes her thinking process different and how her ASD affects her. For her it is ‘normal’; for us, it is a chance to understand further and take a few steps in her shoes.
Driving home yesterday, we looked at the sheep in the fields, seeing whether there were any lambs in Scotland like we had seen the day before in England (it seems the difference in degrees means that there are no Scottish lambs near us yet). She pipes up ‘Why aren’t sheep green?’ Hmmm, fair point, if the rules of camouflage are to be believed, sheep should be green or at least, in her mind, have the ability to mimic a chameleon to become green when required. Not the first time we have been flummoxed by one of her questions so we discussed: maybe when sheep originated, their habitat was always snowy and they have just evolved that way, maybe they never used to graze lush green fields but barren hillsides, maybe there is no pigment in mammals that can produce green skin/fleece etc. This fabulous little riddle brought forth a valid, if slightly bonkers, discussion.
Wow, by listening to a simple statement from an ASD child, we were made to explore our knowledge, theorise and debate.
Now I do not fall in to the trap of thinking all autistic children are like Rain Man, but I do believe that the way in which they think is worthy of being heard, marveled at and encouraged. No, not all autistic children will go on to invent, reinvent, crack codes or write concertos aged four, but they will go on to provide any company, organisation or household with a diverse, more challenging way of thinking. From our contact with them, our own horizons will be broadened and our belief that ‘different is beautiful’ will grow. Yes they will still drive us to distraction and test reserves of strength but hey ho, that is part of the journey.
The fact that the same little girl has to ask me whether a cartoon character is a real person or not is even more fascinating!