Back story #1
A lot of kids on the spectrum have heightened sensitivity when it comes to the 5 senses. Some kids can’t bear noises that typically developing individuals hardly notice. Other kids LOVE the feel of certain objects against their skin and constantly seek out that object to stimulate themselves. Back in the early years of therapy, Dude’s OT used to roll him up in egg crate foam.
Dude is still sensitive when it comes to sounds, but his interest in the feel of objects no longer plays much of a role in his day to day life. He does, however, seek out environmental stimulation at the most random of times.
Back story #2
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A preteen/teenager is embarrassed by EVERYTHING her family does from age 10 or 11+. Having a sibling on the spectrum only compounds that embarrassment at times.
Every evening that we’re on vacation, the family goes for a stroll along the promenade (some people may call it a “boardwalk,” but I don’t think the term qualifies as there are two arcades and about 5 shops lining it. So “promenade” it is).
One night, around the time I was 11 or 12, we were doing our obligatory evening walk when suddenly, Dude lifted both of his arms in the air. Imagine the way marionettes look, arms suspended and hands dangling. That’s exactly what Dude looked like.
He proceeded to keep walking at a snail’s pace with his arms up in the air. In retrospect, we decided that he was probably enjoying the feeling of the light breeze on his skin. But anyway..
Dude began to elicit stares from passersby. I turned to my parents frantically.
“Make him STOP!” I pleaded.
(Now, one thing you should know about my dad, he’s a bit of a smart aleck. He always took great joy in putting me and my preteen insecurities in their place.)
Dad looked at Dude, looked at me, and stuck his arms up in the air as well, marionette-style.
Another thing about our father.. he’s 6’4″.
“Oh my GOSH, you’re SO embarrassing!” I shrieked. I picked up my pace and put a solid 50 feet between me and my family.
Not to be deterred, my Dad started shouting after me (in good humor), “Come baaaaack! Don’t you want to walk with your faaaaamily?? THIS IS THE COOL WAY TO WALK!!!”
The best part is, Dude did it again just within the last few years. My parents and I laughed SO hard, and this time around, I didn’t mind the stares one bit.