Due to my caring responsibilities and the younger children, I don’t get a social life unless there is a free creche. Social Media has become the lifeline that I cling to, stopping me sliding into the abyss that I regularly swing over.
I realised a long time ago that due to my difficulty in communicating in person, that social media would be the best way for me to keep my confidence up and to hone my ability to communicate – and it’s worked; in a new social group, I stay quiet and listen to everyone (Lurk) until I am certain where and how I can join in.
Obviously I’ve had my disasters over the years because on social media, it is incredibly easy to misrepresent what someone is saying when you’re just reading a comment. It was a massive learning curve and one that I was wary of letting the kids get involved with.
However, you can’t stop them doing things because otherwise they don’t learn and teenagehood is all about learning. Both NOS and PT have discovered Youtube and NOS in particular is developing his own Youtube channel, as well as Instagram and Google plus. It fits with his interests in gaming and anime and looked like it was a natural progression.
PT hasn’t done much more than just watch videos on Youtube, but then her obsessions are more to do with Art and Textiles than interacting on social media – that will change as she gets older, but I’m happy with her the way she is at the moment.
Social Media is a minefield for interaction – mostly because when all you have is the words in front of you, you tend to look at what is said in black and white and don’t see the shades of grey that would normally come from body language or voice tone.
In fact, that’s a good anology for how autistic people are in face-to-face situations; depending on how well we read voice tone and body language, we can react badly to someone’s words. NOS is still very literal, but has got the hang of sarcasm, whereas PT is still incredibly literal and PW even more so.
One of the great things about social media is that you can always find people with the same interests as you. I’m a member of various groups on FB; an Art group, one to do with Sir Terry Pratchett, multiple writer’s groups, a couple of depression/mental health groups and several Autism parenting/carer groups – the amount of support out in Social Media land is better than the govt could ever provide!
It occured to me this morning that the number of support groups on FB for Autism could indicate just how many of us there are. Daniel and I were batting ideas around this morning and one that comes up constantly when we play like this is the theory that Autism is an evolutionary phase. He’d found an article online that suggests that all children are highly creative geniuses up to the age of 4 or so and theorised that formal schooling actually stifles that creativity by insisting on only doing things in a particular way – “This is how you draw a circle; colour inside the lines only; this is the only way you multiply and add…” and so forth.
We batted it around a bit more and then came up with a thought – what if all humans are autistic when they’re born and the environment they grow up in is what “trains” it out of them? Every human has some autistic traits, it’s how many and the severity of them that marks you as Allistic or Autistic.
So if that’s the case, it would seem that our education system is at fault for stifling creativity and forcing children into a narrow view of what it is acceptable to be, both socially and educationally. This may be why Autistic children are seen as problems in a classroom, why the behaviours that for them are reassuring are frowned upon generally…
To be honest, its only something we were messing around with, but what do you think? Feel free to comment below and discuss civily if you want to.