Susan's Blog

Friday, November 20, 2009

Autistic Vs. “Normal” Downtime

Sometimes I wonder if Nat feels freedom the way I am feeling it today. It is my day off, and I drove downtown and looked for a book to read. Found nothing, bought a hot chocolate and just sipped it, allowing the creamy sweetness surround my tongue and shoot into my brain, and continue on wherever it goes. I felt free.

I was light, not burdened as I often am by a day off. So often I see the day off as this expanse of time, a road with a vanishing point almost invisible, it is so distant. I have to walk on that road, in the hot sun, just walk. Today there was warm sun, steamy air, and a false light that kept blaring through confused clouds and into walkers’ eyes — strange light for late November. Not at all spring light, but the same, thin brightness that shatters your eyes, makes you reach for sunglasses, but just as quickly throw them up on your forehead because it is just not sunny, only bright.

I did not feel like my usual self, heavy with tasks and rules. Does Nat feel the rules as much as I do? His are different; mine are things like: buy only skim lattes, not hot chocolate. Make sure you have a dinner plan and the food to work with. Get your grading out of the way. Make sure all laundry baskets are empty for the weekend.

What are Nat’s rules? Does he know that he is not supposed to stim loudly in public? How does that feel to him? Is it a mild nuisance, like my skim latte over hot chocolate; or is it a gross impingement on his needs?

Is he happier in the freedom of his home, unstructured and unpoliced? Or is he happier in The House, with his lists and rules? He was so eager to return there last weekend; I wonder if sometimes his empty days here stretch before him like a long, boring road, like they do with me?

1 comment

I don't know your son, but my guess is that he really needs both. The freedom and "down time" of home and the structure and rules of his school. Isn't a balance in life good for everyone? I love working, making up those structures and rules and behavior plans, but I also love coming home and not doing all of the things that I "should" be doing. If I didn't have the structure of parts of my life, I wouldn't enjoy the other parts nearly as much. Sounds like Nat gets that:) Michele

— added by miti on Friday, November 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm