Jay does not have to travel far to enter a world that is all his own! It is there locked away inside that fascinating mind of his!
Before Jay came into our lives I pretty much saw the world my own way, like many people! Slowly I became more aware that Jay’s mind ran on its own fuel and had it’s own agenda. It was to be a few years until I truly unlocked the beauty within! The way that he saw the world around him began to unfold as his language developed and he was able to share it. I remember Jay way back, painting a lovely painting of a storm. He called it “The Storm” He also created a picture with the stages of a storm. Here they are!
Jay was Five when he painted these and he told me what they were as he could speak single words by then. The pictures clearly show the dark clouds, rain, and the fact that the sun is covered! The second one shows the sun, the cloud, and lastly a rainbow!
I have written about Jay and his weather anxieties before, yet there is another side to his fascination with the weather and the sky and in fact, as well as fearing it he also finds it beautiful!
Because Jay was always looking to the sky and at the detail in it, I began to as well! I noticed pattern and symmetry in the way the clouds formed! I saw the stunning light that came from the sun protruding from the edge of a cloud, and the trails of coloured light from the rays as they fell softly to the ground, to then bathe the land with a glorious colourful glow!
We would talk together about the natural world and I taught Jay about it whilst I in turn learned from him. I was beginning to view the world as he did! Jay never sees the rain as just drops of water, he sees dark and grey and sadness in it. Then he would see the sun appear and would say “The sun’s happy!” It was clear that he linked his emotional state with the light of the sun and the dark of the rain and storms and clouds! I knew this was different to how others see weather, because even though we all are affected to some degree by darker days and weather , and we feel better in the sun, there was more to it than that! Jay would actually emotionally react if the sun went behind a cloud! I am speaking of a meltdown. If it was a clear day with no clouds, and there was no possibility of the sun disappearing he was fine , yet if the day was cloudy and sunny Jay would go into meltdown every time the sun went behind the cloud! On stormy days and in darker weather he would stay in an anxious state all day. So it was clear that the reactions were extreme and affected his life and our own Psychologist could clearly see Jay was looking at minute and intricate details in the sky that actually brought about change in his physiological state of being!
For a long time, the weather drove our lives as we could only leave the house without the anxiety and meltdowns if it was clear blue sky and sunny. Gradually over the time, I have seen a difference now in how Jay reacts. At seven, Jay began to discuss his interest in the sky and tell me things about it. He had told me that the sun was happy many times however, now he began to explain why. He said that the sun did not like the clouds because he ” cant see”. The sun was always a “he”. He began to give character to the sun and the moon and the clouds and draw them with personalities. Here is a picture Jay drew of the sun with his happy face and sunglasses on, a sad cloud and a happy rainbow!
The fact that Jay drew sad faces on the clouds and storm pictures, and happy faces on the elements of weather that are reflecting “Light” got me thinking that he was relating his own feelings experienced during the types of weather , to the different characters he drew! The attention to detail is amazing yet the lovely way in which Jay expressed these emotions on paper were so beautiful especially when he struggles to convey this verbally to us!
I believe the world has beauty for those who will look for it. If you do not go out into the natural world around you and look for its beauty you will never find it! I know deep down that Jay has a mind that can see this beauty! He may not be able to say a full sentence in context, or answer your question, but gosh will he look for ages at a caterpillar just hatched and a butterfly’s wings, or a bubble lantern with flowing water! He will look for subtle changes to the sky, and stare for ages at flowers in our garden! He will crawl his way through tactile surfaces using his senses and being fully engaged in the environment he is in.
I will share something else too. Jay is never rude, and never answers back! He never has a day when he speaks to everyone roughly because he is in a mood! He will never ever be unkind to others or his peers and will never be the reason another child cries! I have seen him desperately trying to fit in to the neurotypical world and make a real effort to connect with children at parks and in recreational spaces! Often his attempts are ignored or he is made fun of because he moves his hands fast and makes noises. Yet no matter how these children treat him he will still laugh with them and run with them and try to join in. I know that all children are special and are kind and that there are many very supportive friendly children in Jay’s life because Jay had friends at his mainstream school, but it is completely transparent that they sometimes just do not understand him and what he wants and I do not blame them at all as I get that Jay is different! -However he is “Different NOT Less” as the slogan for Autism awareness goes, and Jay just wants what everyone desires, and that is to fit in and to be included!
The journey I have travelled with Jay, to me is Beautiful and Jay’s mind has shown it contains many beautiful qualities which are shown to those who value and cherish him!
I say it with a glow in my heart and a pride I never had in the beginning, – I long to know more about this glorious connection Jay has with his environment and I look forward to the years ahead as it unfolds! The mysteries that are in his mind are just waiting to be unravelled and deciphered and I am well up to that challenge!!!
Next time: Living Life with Classic Autism and Global Development Delay