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Autism - Sensing and Intuition

  • Published: 2009-08-31 (Revised/Updated 2012-09-21) : Author: Louise Page
  • Synopsis: Reading emotions personality temperament and mood of people in close proximity is a skill, ever present in an autistic individual.

Main Document

Sensing shifts in the environment and people, and intuitively reading the emotions, personality, temperament (in the moment) and mood of people in close proximity, can be an innate skill, ever-present in an autistic individual.

Some people believe that children on the spectrum, who perhaps aren't responding immediately or don't verbally communicate, and who may seem absorbed in their own 'world', are perhaps devoid of feeling and sensing what is going on around them or are unaware of or non-receptive to the emotions, disposition, verbal or physical expressions and requests of another person.

A traditional upbringing and education may have taught us that one who doesn't respond to a verbal or physical request, question or action, may not have the capacity to comprehend or understand such. They may presume that this person is not capable of interaction with another and there is some tremendous intellectual 'wall' between the two. When one perhaps has misinterpreted the non-response or aversion of the autistic child and not recognized the reality of a different style of communication.

Intuition and sensing are age-old natural abilities inherent in humans and the animal kingdom.

Throughout our lives, we are taught how to act, think and behave. We are told the rules regarding many of the environments we find ourselves in. We are conditioned, somewhat, to behave similarly to the next person, so that our communities can function on hopefully a peaceful level and in a law abiding way. Which essentially are reasonable and practical expectations. But, along the way, our natural innate intuition and sensing abilities can be somewhat overridden or suppressed by the need to conform to the norm.

An autistic child may not look you in the eyes to reassure you that they are tuning into your conversation with them and focusing on your words.

But they may be sensing and intuitively 'feeling' your tone of voice, 'reading' your body language, gaging your intention of interacting with them and assessing whether they wish to engage, in their own way, with you. Whilst focusing on these elements, the autistic person may be distracted from 'hearing' and/or absorbing the meaning and words of the interaction you are attempting to have with them. This can also be because an autistic person can be mono-tropic (able to focus one action or activity at a time) by nature.

Their lack of eye contact may be because to do so they may feel personally invaded and sensorial overloaded. For some autistic persons, the demand for eye contact can produce an assault on their senses, and processing the efforts to maintain eye contact and gaining meaning from the information (words, intentions, requests etc.) of the other person, can be psychologically taxing.

An element of sensing is the ability to empathize with another person.

Again, some people believe that many autistic individuals aren't capable of empathy because of their differing, lack of and sometimes unexpected alternative responses to a person who wishes to be the recipient of an empathetic response. Many autistic persons I personally know and those whose writings (on empathy) I have read, keenly challenge that notion (an autistic person's presumed inability to empathize with another).

I have seen some autistic children (and adults), including my own, display an empathetic response to another who may be injured, feeling sad, happy and so on. The ways they may show this response can differ, depending on the individual. Such responses can range from being subtle gestures (verbal and/or physical) to downright bone-crunching hugs

When we discover how and when our autistic children and adults are receiving and interpreting information from their environment (including the people around them) via their sensing and intuition, we are provided with a unique, deeply personal and invaluable opportunity to further understand, respect and honor the person-hood of all of the wonderful souls on the spectrum. We are also allowing the autistic person to "be", and in doing so, we also honor their dignity.

Reference: My career involves Professional Counseling (Diploma, A.I.P.C.), majored in Child Development and Effective Parenting, Youth and Career counseling. I am also professionally trained Autism Therapist , author, Integration Aide, Literacy Tutor, children's story writer and professional illustrator.

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