Saturday, February 28, 2015

Autism Answer: Sensory Issues and #TheDress

There's something I keep thinking about today, thanks to ‪#‎TheDress‬. 

You know, the dress that has families and friends and co-workers seeing different colors and wondering, "What's the trick"?

My mom (international mental health and autism expert Lynette Louise, The Brain Broad) used to see sound as color. Certain piano notes would shimmer a lovely shade of blue. Other people I know on the autism spectrum have myriad sensory issues which is why they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste things differently than those around them. 

I know this, and I try to remember this, and I care about this. 

Yet, when I was looking at the dress and seeing white and gold, and my sons were looking at the dress and seeing blue.... I was playfully frustrated and honestly confused. I know what I'm seeing! 

And even though I understand (some) of the science behind it all, I'm still deep down confused. I mean.... look at the dress! It's white and gold!!! Anyway....

If I can be confused and even a bit annoyed while so much of the internet is agreeing with me that it's confusing and worth talking about, how must it feel to be alone? To see and feel and smell and taste and hear differently while everyone tells you your "wrong"? While people who truly love you say, "Stop talking about it, just trust me. You're wrong."

I think I'm going to try and remember this dress for that reason. 

For those moments when I feel myself assuming my mom just wants attention, or I catch myself teaching my son why he's wrong about the way a song hurts his ears, or when I hear myself telling my brother to stop flinching because he's wrong and there are not brown flakes flying in his face. In those moments I'll remember this dress.  

I'm going to remember it for another reason as well. In those moments when I worry that being divided means we can never be united. When I fear that our clashing cultures can't ever find a way to harmonize. In those moments I'll remember this dress. Because, although everyone had fun arguing about the color, and although many of us were truly shocked at the honest strangeness of looking at the same thing and seeing it different, we were united in our willingness to wonder and be curious and ask why. We were united in our comfort with laughing at this strangeness. In those moments I'll also remember this dress.

You know the dress I'm talking about, right friends?

The w
hite and gold one!! tee hee!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

The Dress: I see white and gold I tell ya!!