Glittery, sparkly, twinkling gems, fluttering, eye-catching, attention-grabbing flashes of brightness grab her focus every time. Whether it be a bubble floating up from the sink, a helium balloon sadly floating away from some crying child, a mirror reflection or anything containing an iota of glitter, my aspie girl is hooked. She isn’t really a girly girl but glitter wands, balls where the sparkles dive and tumble when bounced to the metal tops on daddy’s San Pellegrino cans of juice, they are amassed like an accomplished magpie.
At the end of the school term, I went through the pockets of her school skirt before popping it in the wash and laughed. In this tiny pocket, no bigger than a mobile phone, she had: three bouncy balls (one glitter, two marbled), a bright, rubberised tag from a pencil case, some confetti shapes randomly found in the playground, a pearlised shell, a scrap of red material, a very shiny 5p, three gluten-free biscuit wrappers, four empty ink cartridges (various colours), a key (who knows what for!), a foil star, some neon pencil shavings and a very small blue dog. These little treasures are not hers, they are ‘founds’. They are the things that catch her eye during the day and have been abandoned by others less shine-aware than she is. What others have discarded or lost, she has collated, curated and treasured. She sees value in these remnants, the discarded oddballs and the very fact they are in her bulging pocket gives her comfort. I can imagine in times of worry through the day, her little hand bringing out one of these gems, evaluating it and feeling calmed because of it. I suppose she is practicing mindfulness without really realising it.
There is the cuteness factor that always comes into play too – anything small, dinky, collectable with big eyes, bright colours and a smile (never ever a frown or ambiguous facial expression) is coveted. Once she has purchased these toys, she rips them open with glee, smiles widely, checks its name/attributes on the master list and then abandons it. It is not the actual thing that she loves, it is the process of achieving/attaining that fills a need. Knowing that these tokens are in her possession is enough. If only she would actually play with them!
I suppose it is all about security. How can sparkly bits and bobs provide security you ask? Well, in a world that for her can be confusing, scary, noisy and bizarre, these fripperies ground her, provide comfort, a flash of brilliance that reminds her that life is bright and wonderful and full of exciting possibilities. It is the catalyst to her remembering that no matter how dark things sometimes gets, nearby there is a gem that will shine for her, a token that will remind her that you can find multifaceted rainbows after the rain.