Idiosyncrasies of Autism and Samuel
by Mark Lyons
Image by tatlin from Pixabay
SammySocks Etc. Blog - Comments and Observations from Someone Who Is a Retired Educator and the Father of Sammy (a Person with Autism)
There is a saying that if you have met a person with autism you have met one person with autism. No two people are alike, either neurotypical or those on the spectrum. Understanding this is significant for the treatment, training, education, and support services of people on the spectrum. One size does not fit all.
People on the autism also change over time. What may be effective at one point may not be effective at another point. This is important to realize as well when it comes to treatment, training, education, and all the rest.
Autism can manifest itself through certain behaviors, attitudes, and, for lack of a better word, idiosyncrasies. Some of these are evident with Samuel. He has a deep and sometimes obsessive interest in trains, elevators, toilets, video games, clocks, and lottery tickets. These idiosyncrasies do not necessarily define Samuel, but they are intertwined with who he is, and they affect who he is.
Samuel has a good memory. We can ask him when something happened in our family and he can tell us what day, month, and year it took place. He is also exceptionally good at remembering people’s names, even from encounters years ago. Yet, he often cannot remember where he has put his video game player just moments earlier.
Samuel has difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep at night. He has food issues. He struggles with many OCD behaviors. He has sensory sensitivities. He does not like to be touched. He does not do well with loud and unexpected noises. There are certain words that he can have a meltdown over if he hears them said. Samuel stims, vocalizes, and talks out loud to himself.
Sally, Samuel’s mother, and I know Samuel. We also know other families with members on the spectrum. But we do not necessarily know each of these people. We would need to live each day with that person to begin to understand, appreciate, and have any idea of what makes that person with autism who he or she is.
All of Samuel’s, and other people on the Autism spectrum, idiosyncrasies need to be taken into consideration as to treatment, training, education, and support services that may be provided. Again, one size does not fit all with a person with autism.