The Voice Of Asperger’s Syndrome

I look at the photographs of the five-year old girl with the scarf tied around her shoulders like a cape and tears slide down my face.  In some, she holds a paint brush and looks down intently at her growing work of art.  In others, she makes shapes out of playdoh, walks in the garden, sits in the bath or sleeps soundly in her bed.  But in every photograph appears her constant companion – her cat Thula.

Not so unusual you might think, except that this beautiful little girl is autistic and it is her cat who has helped Iris find her voice in a world where before, she hardly spoke or smiled.

Now, as her mother writes, Iris will speak to her cat – ‘Sit cat’ – and interacts in ways she never could before.  This moves me to tears, but I cry also because with her capes, her love of painting, the way her hair falls softly across her face and her ever-present cat, this little girl in so many ways could be my daughter when she was the same age.

My third child (Aspie D), was not diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome until she was eighteen.  Although she is on the Autistic Spectrum, she has a form of autism that is commonly described as ‘high functioning’.  She doesn’t have the problems with speaking like Iris,  but she struggles to make sense of her world because of communication, sensory and social difficulties, as clearly explained in this article by the National Autistic Society.

Her anxiety levels, already on high alert, kick into sensory-overload in public; hyper vigilant of her surroundings, the energy and concentration it takes for her to focus on a conversation and say the right things exhausts her, as she thinks only of making her escape from the loud; from the clatter; from the disorder and the chaos swirling all around her.

Sometimes, she tells me, it is like drowning.

Claire & Butterfly Edited 2

It was the safety at home with her family and her pets who calmed her when returning from a day at school.  There, she felt only loneliness, unable to understand when the other girls wanted to talk about dolls and fixing hair and watching ‘girly’ programmes. All she wanted to do was to wear her brother’s tee-shirts, make capes out of pillow cases and walk down to the creek and get her hands dirty looking for frogs in the mud and reach into the sparkling, cool water for tadpoles and salamander eggs to bring home to hatch in our pond.

How could she explain when she didn’t want to hold hands with other girls because she didn’t want them touching her, or when she didn’t smile at the right times or laugh at their jokes if she didn’t ‘get them’?

The worse thing to ask someone with Asperger’s Syndrome is, ‘What’s wrong with you, why aren’t you smiling?’ Or tell them, “Why don’t you just go outside or meet up with your friends?” Seventh Voice expresses what this really feels like in her excellent post: ‘Things I wish people would stop saying to those of us with Asperger’s Syndrome‘.

At such times, feeling cornered; misunderstood and exposed, the blankness of Aspie D’s expression belies the all-consuming thoughts and emotions crashing through her over-stimulated, anxiety-drenched brain.  Unable to express what she really felt for so long, silently enraged at her powerlessness within a society that wanted her to conform, to be ‘normal’, to be what others expected her to be, only taught her how to become socially avoidant.

I read recently that studies show that the brain of a child with autism retains forty-two percent more information at rest than the average child.  Is is any wonder that anxiety and exhaustion plays such a huge part in the lives of those on the spectrum?

Claire & MaisyReading about Iris and her cat Thula, I think of Maisy, our fourteen year old tabby.

‘Found’ by my daughter in a kitten room at a cat shelter near our home in California, their bond formed from the moment eight week old Aurora (as she was named at the shelter) sprang onto Aspie D’s lap as she kneeled down in a sea of kittens.

Today, their bond is stronger than ever. I knew the value of pet ownership for children, but I didn’t know about the life-changing role ‘therapy’ pets play for those on the Autistic Spectrum (Maisy, like Thula, is not trained as a therapy cat, she’s ‘just’ a pet, but she also loved to take baths with Aspie D), something that is now scientifically proven.

An autistic little girl found her voice through her gift of painting and her therapy cat Thula, her story beautifully told and photographed by her mother in the recently released Iris Grace.

My daughter at twenty-three travels her own path to find her true voice, each day bringing her ever closer despite her life-long challenges.  Along the way as I journey by her side,  grateful and honoured to call myself her mother, I came across the video clip below on Facebook. It is the only time I have heard my daughter say this is exactly what it feels like  when she goes out.

Please, if you only have two short minutes, I would humbly ask you to watch this clip.   I find it difficult at times to explain what it is like for my daughter living with Asperger’s and how it affects her daily life.  This clip, I hope, will help. It might make you cry as it did me and my friends on Facebook who watched it, but it also brings powerful voice:

*******

Taking this opportunity to let you all know that Charli Mills is hosting a flash fiction competition over at Carrot Ranch to help raise funds for an autistic boy Noah and his service dog Appa. Cash prizes too!

The deadline is extended to March 31st, all details here.

cr-extended-deadlineYou can read Shawna Ayoub Ainslie’s latest post with updates about her son Noah and his service dog Appa at The Honeyed Quill here.  The photos alone will stir your soul.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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124 Responses to The Voice Of Asperger’s Syndrome

  1. She’s not “just” a pet. Never “just”… Becoming attached to a pet is animal therapy. Period. It can do amazing things. This: “Her anxiety levels, already on high alert, kick into sensory-overload in public, hyper vigilant of her surroundings, The energy and concentration it takes for her to focus on a conversation and say the right things exhausts her, as she thinks only of making her escape from the loud, from the clatter, from the disorder and the chaos swirling all around her.” I see this, know this, watch this… Oh, lady, I love your posts. You weave words from truth into story without losing your own voice or the heart of that truth. 💕

    Liked by 7 people

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Sarah…you’re right, you know it, with your fur babies, the love for and from our beloved pets is animal therapy, absolutely. Proven and everything…even to the point of stroking a cat’s fur lowers blood pressure. Although there are moments… ! Seriously…you know, I put those apostrophes around the ‘just’ because I wanted to make exactly that point, Maisy is so much more than ‘just’ a pet…she is part of our family, a hugely loved and cherished part. I hope others will read it the way I intended…
      I’m glad (but not so glad, you know what I mean…) this post hit home, helping those of us who live it and live with those who do, know we’re not alone. Thank you Sarah…means so much… ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • I knew what you meant. 😀 I was agreeing. (I’m tired. Sorry. You were totally clear.) Our furchildren are part of our families. 💕 And are therapy. Wish I could bottle the feeling we get from our fur babies. (Then I could take it with me when I have to be around people!)

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sherri says:

          Ahh…I know you did lovely lady 🙂 And I’m glad you brought it up, as I wonder sometimes if I’m getting the point across that I want to…so I thank you for it…and I have to say, absolutely no sorry allowed because you have no reason to be… none whatsoever… ‘kay? ❤ Can you imagine how great that would be, to have a bottle of Fur Baby Comfort to carry around? It would be a bestseller… ❤

          Liked by 2 people

  2. mumblypeg says:

    Your heart cry and the anguish of a mother comes over so clearly. I weep with you dearest Sherri. What a stunning photograph of your beautiful Aspie girl and the butterfly. This is such a moving blog. The book about how one lady broke free sounds very helpful. I must get it. Bless you for writing such a special post. Love from M P xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy Aspie D has Maisy…such a sweet photograph of them. Thank you for educating us, Sherri. My heart goes out to your sweet daughter, she’s lucky to have you for her Mum. Thanks for sharing the clip. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…yes, I don’t know what any of us would do without our darling Maisy, but especially Aspie D. Ever since I saw the clip on Facebook I couldn’t get it out of my head…then the little girl and her cat… Thank you for your kind words Jill ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sherri thank you for helping me to understand autism better through sharing your personal stories about your daughter with us. Many of us sensitives (empaths) are on the fringe as well and can well relate to some of the overloading that occurs in social circumstances. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      I am an ’empath’ and on the fringe too Bev, and although I am often described as an extrovert (and I do enjoy the company of others), if I can’t escape from that overload, I burn out. Or crash as my daughter says. I understand exactly how you feel. I don’t write about Asperger’s too often as you know, but when I do, I hope only to help others understand, as well as myself, if that makes sense. I’m so glad this helped you…thank you so much Bev for letting me know that…. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Sherri, all this went straight to my heart.
    First, Maisy could be my cat’s twin; I named her Comfort, because she’s mine. She’s a rescue cat – sometimes entertaining, always warms my heart. I can only imagine the ways she must comfort your daughter.
    Second, Carly’s video certainly let’s us into her mind and heart. The overloaded stimulus, the unexpressed cries for help, the family who wants to help but doesn’t know how. Beautifully done. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…I love your cat’s name Susan…what could be more perfect than Comfort? I’m so glad you found the video helpful. And you’re so right, it is very hard for those on the spectrum as well as their family who want to help but don’t know how. It is so painful at times. I was so glad to be able to share this here for that reason alone…thank you for taking the time watch it. I’m so thrilled for your Comfort and the joy she brings you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Poignant post, Sherri. I cried, too.
    The “feels like drowning” is how my dear friend’s daughter described having Asperger’s Syndrome, and my own nephew, who also has Asperger’s, also has a best-friend cat who is his encouragement to do pottery and garden. This is so close to my heart.
    My daughter teaches middle school special education and has several autistic students, two very severe, so autism is also very close to our hearts. I’ve sent out the Carrot Ranch flash fiction details to all of my writing classes also a local autism support group.
    Thank you for your loyalty, devotion and commitment, Sherri. Much love, Marylin ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Marylin, I can see just how close this is to your heart. And I cried again when I read about your nephew and his best-friend cat… My daughter refers to Maisy as her best friend. Thank the good Lord for the gift of all creatures great and small, and the very great blessing they are in our lives in ways we could not have guessed at. Thank you so much for your heartfelt words and for sharing the competition details. Together we do what we can to help raise not only awareness but also acceptance for those on the autistic spectrum through clearer understanding and of course, love. Of which I send much to you… ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Sherri, what a heartfelt post packed with so much information. I must say that prior to visiting your blog I knew basically nothing about Asperger’s Syndrome. By sharing your intimate stories you have opened my eyes and made me much more aware. What a poignant video you shared—it captures things in a way that words cannot. I too, was a little teary at the very end—it’s a very powerful message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Heather, I can’t tell you enough what this means to me, as this is exactly what I set out to do by sharing posts like these. When I first watched the video and then showed it to my daughter and saw her response, I knew I had to share it here, to help explain just what it really feels like for her when she goes out – rarely – in public. It helped me understand much better too. Thank you so much for your understanding and kindness… ❤

      Like

  8. I have been moved so many times reading your posts Sherri, and so often been brought to silence and tears by your loving recounts of Aspie D………. this post is no different. It is so often hard to live in this harsh world and the love of a companion animal is a real and healing solace. I’ve said this before I’m sure, your daughter is most fortunate to have you there by her side. Thank you again for keeping us updated with life on the spectrum and your world. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dear Pauline…what can I say? I can only say thank you for taking the time to read and leave such sweet words in reply. Thank you for your compassionate and caring heart ❤

      Like

      • I’m here thanks to Pauline. My heart goes out to you. You can read about our own story here: http://gardeningnirvana.com/2015/09/14/how-to-make-sandwiches-and-other-absurdities/

        Our oldest son is also on the spectrum. We’ve fought all the typical battles with school administrators and unthinking adults. Our son is now thriving and is enrolled in college, wrapping up this freshman year this June.

        I’m very sorry to read today of your mother. Arms around you. Alys

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Hello Alys, how lovely to hear from you via our wonderful, mutual friend Pauline. I’m so sorry it’s taken me this long to reply to you, but thank you so much for your kind message about my mum. I very much look forward to reading your post and will do so as soon as I can. I am so glad to hear that your son is now thriving, that’s wonderful. It means a lot that you would share this with me, so lovely to meet you, and thank you for the hug…helps so much. See you soon… Sherri xo

          Like

  9. Beautifully expressed Sherri. My son has days where everything gets too much. At lunch at school at the moment he is choosing to go inside and read to get out of the noise. Something he has not done in a long time. His cat on his bed can calm him down like nothing else. Timely post coming up to April Autism awareness month. The film clip I shared, so many people don’t understand the anxiety and where it all comes from. Thinking my son is just putting on some act. Thank you for sharing your moments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      ‘Thinking my son is just putting on some act.’ Oh Kath. I think this is one of the biggest problems of being an Aspie, and of being the parent of an Aspie. I feel compelled to explain that our darling children do not choose to live this way. They need to take the time out, to be calm, to withdraw. If only those who don’t understand would take the time to try to do so, without judging, but realising that this is how they cope with every day life what they need to manage. I do hope that anyone watching the clip will gain a deeper understanding. And I’m so glad your little boy has his sweet kitty too. Thank you Kath, big hugs to you… ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Tom Merriman says:

    And thanks from me too, Sherri, for making things clearer for me.
    And isn’t it amazing how at times cats just ‘know’?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh Sherri, this is so very moving. I looked at al the wonderful photos and also the video. I love the image of your own Aspie D mesmerised by the beautiful butterfly. How wonderful it is that these sweet service ‘pets’ can bring comfort and companionship to those suffering from Aspergers. Many many years ago we had friends who had a severely autistic daughter, who never spoke. Not much was known about treating this condition in those far off days, and it was really heartbreaking to see her seemingly cut off from her family and living in a world of her own. Thanks so much for your wonderful post. Hugs to you and your family. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Sylvia, things are changing with more help for autistic children/adults. But there is still a long way to go. And for those with Asperger’s Syndrome, like my daughter, who slip through the cracks at school and into adulthood, it is so very hard coping with every day life. Getting the diagnosis is a huge step forward. Many do not receive this until quite late in life. Such people found ways to cope but it takes a huge toll, often leading to misunderstandings, loneliness and isolation. How very sad for your friend’s daughter. Stories like this make me feel even more strongly about getting the message out about this condition…education, awareness and acceptance. Thank you so much dear Sylvia for taking the time to read and watch the video. I’m feeling your hugs, hugging back… ❤ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Aspie D is so fortunate to have such a loving and supportive mother, Sherri! This really helps to better understand what goes on in the mind of a person on the spectrum. The more awareness the better we all are so thank you for posting this. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  13. jennypellett says:

    Excellent post from someone on the inside of the autistic world, well done Sherri. The honesty and empathy in your writing helps us all understand this fascinating yet often debilitating condition just a little bit more. We’ve often talked about having a departmental dog at school, so that stressed pupils could come and gain some canine comfort. The powers that be don’t share our enthusiasm however! We’ll work on it!
    That film extract is excellent too. I can’t imagine being so noise sensitive but this clip really brings it home. Thanks for this, I’ll share it with my colleagues.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh Jenny….I know well how you feel about this and your caring, kind heart in your own mission to reach out to ‘your’ children on the spectrum. Isn’t it so sad that you can’t have a departmental dog? I’m not surprised though. I can’t even begin to imagine all the manic risk assessments going on there! I watched a fascinating programme not too long ago about death row inmates in a prison somewhere in America (can’t remember which state), who were given cats as pets to help them cope with the mental stress. These are men have committed awful, violent crimes, yet to watch them care for their cats so tenderly and the mutual love and affection between them was so touching. Animals bring amazing healing powers across the board. I really hope that your colleagues benefit from watching the clip too. Thank you so much for sharing Jenny… xx

      Like

    • Jenny, when I was teaching I had an Old English Sheepdog who became my co-teacher for a while. Despite some disapproval from some colleagues she accompanied me throughout my day and brought comfort and solace to many troubled children. The opportunity to pick up Geena’s brush from my desk and sit quietly at the back of the room cuddled up to my gentle giant was taken up only as required by the students – that in itself was quite something to observe. Currently Siddy is being [ahem] trained to visit a home for the elderly to bring them a little of his unabated joy in life. Our well loved animals have much to share. Good luck with your battle xo

      Liked by 2 people

  14. restlessjo says:

    Oh, Sherri! You heart aches for her, doesn’t it? Total sensory overload! Are there low level drugs that can help, or is ‘treatment’ more in the form of coping mechanisms? I’m so sorry, sweetheart. But she did get lucky having a mum like you. 🙂 Heartfelt hugs, darlin’.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dear Jo…ever since I watched the video on Facebook I’ve wanted to share it here, as it shows so well just how much my daughter struggles. There is medication to help with the anxiety (took a few years to find the right one but that’s another story…) and she is learning how to ‘grow’ into coping mechanisms as an adult. But there are good days and bad days and this is part of the problem; sometimes she can seem alright which makes those observing thing she’s fine, but what they don’t see is the exhaustion and stress behind the scenes and what it takes for her to have those ‘alright’ days. I so hope that this post helps shed light on this aspect of being on the autistic spectrum. Thank you, as always, for your heartfelt sentiments and hugs…feeling the love! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • restlessjo says:

        It must be a waking nightmare some days. Even from my own experience with Leo, and it’s a totally different problem, still I can see him grapple to deal with the day. How on earth did people manage before autism and Asperger’s were diagnosed, Sherri? And have we, in our society and with our lifestyle, caused this illness? I suppose the questions are endless. I just hope that Aspie can find a way in this woeful world of ours. We know the sun shines on us some days, don’t we? 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Oh Jo, I’m so sorry to hear this. Is Leo your son? I don’t know how they managed, it must have been awful. So isolating and lonely. This is still the case, but of course today, we have the internet and online social networking has been a wonderful invention for those on the spectrum especially. My daughter’s friendships are all online, but it wasn’t until I started blogging that I came to understand just how invaluable those friendships are 🙂 In fact, you’ve reminded me that I’ve been meaning to do a post about that for ages…I really need to do it… But what has caused it? Well, I’ve read a lot of studies and there are distinct differences in the brain patterns neourologically in those on the spectrum than with those not – called ‘neurotypicals’. There is thought that it is genetic (and often, autistic traits do run in families, particularly through the male line), but that codswallap about vaccinations causing it was just that: codswallap. Strong, similar traits in Aspies occur such as suffering from travel sickness and nocturnal waking. And of course severe anxiety. But there is no actual ’cause’ as we know yet. The good thing is that diagnosis is getting better and more understanding is out there. But we have a long way to go. And yes, some days are so hard. I look out for the sun to shine on my daughter every day…thank you so much Jo ❤ 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, I know how noise affects me. I can’t imagine dealing with this every day, all day long. You are a God send to Aspie D. God knew she needed you as her mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This cat has come to look after her. You’re right. I bawled like a baby seeing the two of them like two peas in a pod. Amazing but I believe it. The pictures are so amazing and the cat appears world wise. ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      They were meant to be…isn’t it amazing? I bawled too…just so moving, incredible story. Thank you Tess, I feel honoured to share, to help in some small way to bring more understanding for anyone who knows anyone on the autistic spectrum ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

  17. Annika Perry says:

    Dearest Sherri, this post is overwhelming with emotion; both with your love, compassion and understanding for your daughter and also with the amazing story of little Iris Grace. I looked at the photographs of her with Thula – although I knew children with autism have an affinity with animals it wasn’t until seeing these photos the affinity that Thula had with Iris really struck home. The cat barely leaves her side, sleeps next to her, baths with her even! Unheard of but obviously happening and what a miraculous help for this girl. I have tears in my eyes. If Maisy can give even a bit of that support and affection to your daughter that must help so much. The video was disarming in its vulnerability and starkness of the world of a person with Aspergers. My heart goes out to you daughter; every day must be faced with courage and patience. My heart goes out to you too, Sherri. As a mother it is never easy to see our children go through difficulties and you have helped and are helping you daughter through more than her fair share. Warmest hugs to you both. ❤️ A brilliant heart-felt and informative post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Annika, I felt just the same way when I looked at the photographs of Iris with Thula. Their relationship, I too belive, is miraculous. Apparantley, Iris’s mother had all but given up trying to get a therapy pet that Iris bonded with and it wasn’t until they watched a friend’s cat, who Iris bonded with, that her mother realised that getting Iris her own cat might be the answer. And the whole time I read the story excerpt in another article (I’ve not read the book yet, I will be though), I kept thinking of Maisy and my daughter and their incredible bond, fourteen years in the making. All our pets. And you and I have had our little chats about those…whether fish, or cats or dogs or any creature, as we both know, they hold amazing value in our lives, with the joy and love mutually shared. Thank you so much dear Annika for watching the video and for your kind, sweet comfort to me and Aspie D. I’m hugging right back… ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Lynn says:

    I am visiting via restless jo. What a beautiful post. Autism & Asperger’s are so difficult to understand, particularly for those of us who have not experienced knowing individuals who suffer from these very complicated syndromes. Thank you for sharing your insight & experience. How very blessed your daughter is to have you in her life.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Heyjude says:

    A very emotional post dear Sherri. You have helped explain the autistic world through your posts and allowed us in to the world of Aspie D and reading you often brings a lump to my throat. I hope she gets to where she wants to be, and with the love and support of a Mum like you maybe she will. It must be difficult for all of you, in some ways especially you, as you probably often feel so helpless in watching her struggles. I hope she is getting the support she badly needs and I wish her and you and all the family a happy road ahead. ❤
    Jude xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      I do often feel helpless Jude, and it isn’t easy, I admit. But I hold out great hope that Aspie D will find her way in life, and I’ll do all I can to help facilitate that. We do have good support in place at long last, but it is one day at a time at the moment. But a lot of love and moments of joy and laughter along the way helps through the struggles. Thank you so much dear Jude for your lovely, kind message… ❤ xx

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Luanne says:

    Sherri, what a special post. Thank you for sharing what it is like for your daughter and others like her and also for showing us the special stuff, too. You’ve really touched my heart. I will share this on all my social media–FB page, Twitter, and Pinterest.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Charli Mills says:

    I’m so moved and emotional right now. I will be back with a proper response. Just know I think the absolute world of you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Elissaveta says:

    Thank you for including a link to Iris’ story, how beautiful and heartwarming.
    I still remember when we spoke about all of this at the bloggers bash. I could feel all your love then and it is all the more stronger when verbalised here. People with Asperger’s and those around them are such beautiful souls, you included.
    Sending much love from Paris 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Lisa Reiter says:

    ……@?&^%(&!…. – Because there isn’t quite the word for how this one hit me Sherri.
    Love you hun and all the beautiful things you write and right, from deep inside your heart.
    I’m sharing this with a young person close to me with an Aspie friend who he sometimes gets and other times doesn’t. The video clip is so instructive.
    Thanks for sharing 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Such a very powerful video and powerful post, Sherri. I knew very little about Asperger’s Syndrome until reading this. Thank you for sharing it. You’re one of the best there is in this world.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

  25. You said this so well. What can I say that hasn’t already been said. As a person without Asperger’s, I find people and social situations exhausting too. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for them. When I go do social things, I have to take a nap afterward. You have a wonderful daughter and she has a wonderful friend in her cat. They are so good for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh my friend what an advocate you have been fro your daughter and the story aptly describes both of your journey. Like her I never liked girlie things and still don’t! Just give me bugs, dirt, frogs, etc . Unlike her I have never faced such daunting daily challenges and struggles. You have given her a voice and perhaps given us a small glimpse into her world. Beautifully done Sherri. ❤ ❤ ❤ xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  27. This is very moving Sherri and important to help people understand and hopefully make life just a little easier for those with autism. That’s a beautiful photo with the butterfly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks for sharing the resources for better understanding, Sherri. The lack of understanding with regard to how someone with autism perceives the/their world can result in some traumatizing responses. Further along the spectrum, when parents have to deal with the eating and waste elimination complications that are often present, hurtful assumptions are often made. It was devastating to my brother and his wife when Child Protection Services was called by well-meaning people who did not understand what they, or my nephew, was dealing with – and made assumptions based on the child’s behavior and appearance. Because of their hurtful experiences, I am able to be a better advocate for my clients who have children on the autism spectrum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      I’m so sorry that happeend to your brother and his family Shel…but as you say, it’s helped you advocate for your clients who need it, and that is so vital. The more we know and the more we understand the better. There is still a lot of misinformation out there. Thank you so much Shel for all you do for so many… xo

      Liked by 1 person

  29. dgkaye says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the video and so much insight into the world of Aspergers. There is much to learn for all of us, and by you spreading the awareness will teach us to have a better understanding of what those with Aspergers are seeing from their own view. You are truly a miracle worker Sherri and a wonderful mum. xo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Very touching, Sherri. All of it. Sending the best of best wishes your way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Seyi sandra says:

    I couldn’t speak for more than half an hour after I watched the video. I’ve read so much about Autism for a research I did for a journal but it’s so different when I watched that video. There are so many things people don’t know about this, I felt a chill run down my spine, imagining what Carla is going through…
    I can only say you are an amazing mother, I can imagine the courage you have to encourage your daughter in her daily life. I wish you more strength and grace, and for God’s mighty hand to continually rest on you and your family.
    A touch post… I had to read it again.
    God be with you and your home my friend!
    Much love to you Sherri.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Seyi, I’m just so glad that this video has helped show exactly what it’s like for those on the spectrum. I felt compelled to share it, so powerful. Thank you so much for your always comforting messages. Sadly, I will be disappearing from blogging for a while as my dear mum suffered a stroke on Sunday. She is recovering, thank God, but with my focus on her while holding down the fort at home, gives me little time for anything else at the moment. Big shock. I wanted to reply here before signing off, as it’s been so hard to get on my laptop timewise. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Big love and blessings to you…I so hope all is well with you my friend. God bless… ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Seyi sandra says:

        Sherri I’m so sorry about your mum, I’ll be praying for God to quicken her body and strengthen her. You’ll all be in my prayers. Take enough time off my friend, this is important. God be with you and your family.
        My love and prayers to you and all that is yours!

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Ste J says:

    Not only an extremely informative video but also a touching tribute to Aspie D and everybody else with Asbergers. Not only is this educational and thought provoking but your pride shines through and made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Marie Keates says:

    What an interesting insight in to what it must be like. The film was really helpful in showing how difficult normal, everyday, things must be.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Such a moving post here, Sherri… Thank you for sharing with us your knowledge and being honest with your struggles too… I knew a man with Aspergers but when he moved we lost touch.. I remember how he explained to me that he did not always know when to laugh or smile. I recognize it is so misunderstood what Aspergers is… I am grateful to you for writing this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Beautiful post Sherri. The video wouldn’t play for me but through your words I know of the troubles your daughter and other people with Aspergers have. Thank heavens for cats and other creatures who don’t put the pressures on that other people do, often unwittingly. Great reminder too for the writing challenge for Noah. I have been trying to come up with a story every day for the last two weeks and as the 31st looms ever closer I know the pressure will work and I’ll get one in. It is a great cause. Hope all continues to improve with your Mum. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Irene. Thank you as always for your kind message. Thank heavens for cats and dogs and all the ways our beloved pets and animals help in so many different ways. I hope you got your story written. I’m so out of the loop with writing, blogging, social media. weekend. Mum is home now and making good progress. I’m barely emerging and don’t know when I’ll be able to get back here with any kind of regularity for the time being. I hope all is well with you, I’ll email you over the weekend. I miss you. Happy Easter my friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Ali Isaac says:

    Sherri, your posts are always so beautifully written and moving. I felt quite choked up actually, reading this… it reminds me so much of Carys. She has never been diagnosed with autism (although many children with her syndrome are), but she was recently diagnosed with multiple sensory issues and we have been working on a pretty intensive therapy to try and cope with them. Its not easy. And I feel awful as she is completely unable to express herself.
    I think people expect that if a child with autism is high functioning then they are capable of behaving normally. I dont think anyone really comprehends how debilitating sensory issues can be. Its great that people like your daughter are able to express it and teach us.
    Has your daughter had any therapies and how successful were they? Does she hae coping mechanisms for when she’s out of the home?
    I can’t watch the video right now as my hubby is asleep, but I will come back to it tomorrow. Lots of love to you and your family. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Ali, I have only just had a chance to read your comment and reply as I’ve been away from blogging as you know because of my mum’s sudden stroke. She’s recovering slowly thank goodness, but it will be a while before I’m fully functioning here while I continue to look after her. I understand exactly where you’re coming from about sensory issues, and it is this very aspect of autisim (and I agree totally about the difficulties understanding just how badly it affects those who are high functioining) that I want to try to help not only others better understand, but myself too. And then, when I came across this video, I knew that this was it. When my daughter watched it and had the reaction she did, I knew then that I had to share it. She hasn’t had any sensory therapies as such, just tries to find coping mechanisms as she is able, but every day can bring different challenges, and we don’t know when it will be a good or a bad day. It’s not easy to define. Would it have been different if she had been diagnosed as a child? I don’t know. Her only ‘treatment’ as such is medication to help with her severe anxiety. I’m so glad that Carys is receiving therapy, but I my heart goes out to you so much in your feelings of helplessness. Oh Ali, I too feel so helpless so often, but we do what we can do as mothers who love our children and advocate and care fo them in every way possible. That is the best we have to give and we can keep strong in that love. Lots of love to you and your lovely family too Ali. I’m glad to be in touch over on FB. Have a wonderful, blessed and happy Easter… ❤ xxx

      Like

  37. The world wants us to meet. I’ve also received a private note from Marlene at InSearchOfItAll. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Pingback: Life on the Spectrum: When the Universe Calls, You Pick Up – Gardening Nirvana

  39. Thank you for this touching and informative post, Sherri. It helped me understand Asperger’s better. The video is so powerful, especially in the way it shows what sensory overload feels like. Best wishes to your daughter as she journeys through life.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. So exhausting for your poor daughter, and exhausting for you, too, looking out for her, protecting her, and worrying about her well-being. But I know you’re a wonderful mother, Sherri.
    And thank goodness for pets, so she can retreat to be with them and soothe her anxiety in a way that maybe only animals can help her to do at times when she gets on sensory overload.
    Wishing you a Happy Easter. Will email you sometime next week. Love and hugs, Sarah xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dearest Sarah…you are always so kind to me, and you understand too. It is exhausting for us both, I admit. But writing posts like this helps. I look forward to hearing from you but only when you get a spare minute or two…what’s that I hear you asking?! 😉 I hope you had a very Happy Easter my dear friend…ours was a good, if quiet one thank you, except that poor Aspie D had the flu and the animal sanctuary we were going to take her to in Somerset (we adopted an otter from there for her at Christmas) was so badly damaged both with flooding and to the buildings due to the storms at the weekend, that they had to close. It’s such a shame, as they rely heavily on donations from the public at visiting times like Easter. Hopefully they’ll be up and running again and we can go there soon. Meanwhile, we made it to the garden centre (I’m following in your footsteps with the garden!) and also got some paint on offer for our bedroom and the hall and landing. Another job to get to…one day, ha! Love and hugs to you too… I miss you… xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Norah says:

    Sherri, I can’t believe I missed this at the time of posting. I’m pleased I found it now. It’s such a beautiful, heartwarming post. The links you provided are excellent and do much to develop understanding. I have seen the video about Carly before. It is so sad, but I’m pleased she found her voice and would love to see more about her. The post on Seventh Voice is amazing too, as is all the other information. There is much there that we can learn from to help make these difficult lives a little easier. As one not on the spectrum, I have always hated it when someone has told me to smile or cheer up without asking the reason for my not dancing on the tables or bubbling like a bottle of champagne. I have considered them thoughtless in not respecting or enquiring after my feelings, or just letting me be. Now I am a little closer to understanding how much more insensitive it is to ask the same of someone on the spectrum. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly Sherri. Hugs to you all. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Norah, oh how lovely to ‘read’ you again. I’ve just popped over to the Summerhouse, so long overdue. I miss you, it’s taken me a while to get back on track. I’m so pleased to report that Mum is doing well; now I just need to recover! Thank you so much for reading Seventh’s Voice post too; I’ve followed her blog for a while now, there are some powerful reads there about adult females with Asperger’s, which is almost a separate issue in and of itself I’ve come to learn. The female traits blended with the difficulties of being on the spectrum often make diagnosis difficult and much misunderstanding causes so many problems for both the Aspie and their loved ones. Oh me too, I can’t stand it when people say that. For my daughter, it absolutely enrages her. She had a social worker a few years ago who actually asked her why she looked so miserable and why didn’t she just go out and mix with her friends. Needless to say, she became mute in her sessions with him because she had to spend the entire time pushing down her rage at being so misunderstood. What part of Asperger’s didn’t he get? None, apparantely. You know me well enough now my friend to know that I did not take that lying down and fought tooth and nail to get her someone who knew what they were doing. I’m so glad that this post has helped being more understanding to the unique challenges for Aspies, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment Norah. I hope things are going well with you…I am so horribly behind. I’ll try to start off with joining in over at the Ranch and go from there…meanwhile, I hope you have a lovely weekend…big hugs… ❤ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        I’m so pleased your Mum is improving, Sherri. You need to look after yourself now. Ease back in, don’t rush. We’re ready to welcome you back in your own time.
        I can’t believe that statement came from a social worker!!!! Where did he get his degree? Woolworths (or Sainsburys)? I’m going to link to that post of yours in my next post (if I can get it finished in time for the ff challenge). I won’t be talking about it, just linking if anyone wants to follow up and read. I look forward to seeing you at the ranch and catching up whenever we can.
        Take care. Best wishes. Hugs back. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Ha…maybe he got one from each! Either way, he did a great deal of damage which took my daughter a long time to recover from. Thank you Norah, I’ll be easing in very slowly. I hope to do an update post later in the week. Thanks for linking, I’ll keep an eye out. Have a good week and see you soon… xx

          Liked by 1 person

          • Norah says:

            It is sad the damage we can do through lack of knowledge, experience, empathy, and simply by just being. It is very difficult to know the right words in any situation. I dread to think how many times I have failed and how much damage I have done to others. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
            On a brighter note – have a great week!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sherri says:

              Well, we’re all human Norah…we all make mistakes and I’m sure you haven’t done any damage. This man was a social worker who obviously had no training in anything about Autism, which highlights the problem we have when there isn’t the right education given. He should never have been in that job. You, clearly, have been in the right job with your knowledge, training, experience, and above all, care and compassion and yes, understanding. Things are improving slightly here, more understanding and better criteria in place when referrals are made, but we still have a long way to go. I’ve had to learn so much about Asperger’s, through my daughter’s experience, and it’s been very hard even within my own family at times, when I’ve tried to explain and seemingly failed so badly. Failure is my middle name I think (sorry, having a bit of a pity party today…),which is why I hope that by posts like this, I can not only help others understand a little better, but me too. At least we are listening and learning and wanting to help the best way we can. But it’s not always easy, far from it sometimes…
              Thanks Norah, great chatting and you too! More hugs… xx

              Liked by 1 person

              • Norah says:

                I agree. Your post is a wonderful way of helping others (like me) understand. I think it is difficult to do so unless you have actually experienced it. It must be very frustrating when people consider it bad parenting. I know you haven’t mentioned that, but I also know it happens. It is when people like you take the time to explain that we outsiders can begin to understand. Some people expect understanding from us when we have no idea! The more posts the better. I have just linked to your post in my latest. I hope some people click through and read. Thanks once again for sharing. I will allow you as many pity parties as you wish. As long as you invite me! Take care. Hugs back to you. xx

                Liked by 1 person

              • Sherri says:

                Haha! Norah, you are invited to any party I have, pity or not!!! Seriously though, you are so incredibly generous with sharing my posts, especially with the ones about Asperger’s in which I do so hope to help bring more understanding. I’m so humbled, as I only know to write from personal experience. There have been times when I’ve picked up on people thinking that my daughter ‘should’ be doing such and such and no doubt wondering why I’m not being more ‘proactive’ – as I was once accused, by the very person who headed up my Asperger Support Group wouldn’t you know it, which made it even worse! I could go on…but I won’t, since this is a public domain, ha! Looking forward to reading your post Norah, I’ll be right over! xx

                Like

  42. macjam47 says:

    A deeply moving post, The video was eye opening. Even though I have read about Aspergers syndrome, I did not understand how difficult it is for those like your daughter. Truly inspirational.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this post Michelle, you can see why I had to share the video. It’s the only time my daughter has totally agreed with everything presented as ‘exactly’ what it’s like for her in public. I thought I understood pretty well, but even as her mum, it was eye opening for me too…

      Liked by 1 person

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