Every child on the spectrum deals with sensitive emotions. However, it is much more evident with individuals on the mild end of the spectrum because they are able to express and show their emotions. Andrew is a very sensitive child. VERY SENSITIVE! He doesn't forget a thing either. If a person made him feel "sad" at one time, he remembers it and makes sure he reminds me of that situation from time to time, especially when he knows he is going to see the person who made him feel "sad".
The highly sensitive kids on the high end of the spectrum deal with the following:
- asks lots of questions
- complains about scratchy clothing, seams in socks, or labels against the skin
- considers if it is safe before climbing high
- doesn't do well with big changes
- doesn't usually enjoy big surprises
- feels things deeply
- has a clever sense of humor
- is a perfectionist
- is bothered by noisy places
- is hard to get to sleep after an exciting day
- is very sensitive to pain
- learns better from a gentle correction than strong punishment
- notices subtleties (e.g., something that's been moved, a change in a person's appearance, etc.)
- notices the distress of others
- notices the slightest unusual odor
- performs best when strangers aren't present
- prefers quiet play
- seems to read the parent’s mind
- seems very intuitive
- startles easily
- uses big words for his or her age
- wants to change clothes if wet or sandy
It is getting more and more obvious in Andrew of his sensitivity. Yesterday while at Harsha, he was playing catching with a group of peers. The ball hit him on the head and he starting crying. He asked his coach to take him away from everyone because he wanted to be alone. After I picked the boys up yesterday, Andrew said on the way home, "Playing catch makes me sad Mom. I can't catch the ball."
His coach thought he got sad because he got embarrassed and that might be true. However, I also think Andrew got sad and wanted to leave the situation because he knew he couldn't catch the ball like some of his peers. He is very in tune to what he can and can't do lately. He is very sensitive to everything! Either way, it made my Mommy heart break to see him so sad about not being able to catch a ball like his peers.
I know many people who read this with no children on the spectrum are thinking, "All kids are sensitive. He is just 4. He will out grow that." And you might be right. However, kids with autism do not mature like neurotypical children. I have heard that kids on the high functioning level are more like 7 years behind their peers in maturity. It is obvious the older they get. I have seen it too many times in my teaching career. I know what to expect when it comes to the boys and it is not an easy road, not even for Andrew. In many ways, Andrew is going to have a much harder time growing up because he is mild and is very aware of his "challenges".
Andrew tells me many things daily that break my heart. I choose to not share them. However, take my word for it that he notices everything and is very affected by everything! He is a very smart little boy, probably more smarter than many kids his age.