Monday 14 December 2015

Gale winds and a low sun - is this what it is like for my autistic sons?

Woman in the wind

I got a precious few minutes this weekend to myself.  It had been a pretty miserable day.  The low sun had just broken through the clouds but the trees were still being blown around like bags in the wind.  Despite the roughish weather, our dog (yes we also have a dog), still needs walking so I gathered up the lead and left the kids in the safe hands of my other half. Although I'd left our 'autism' at home, I still managed to think about it on my walk with the dog.

It has been blustery of late and this afternoon proved to be no different. In fact it was gale like. As I walked into the local park area I was greeted by a blast of cold wind that took my breath away a bit. Obviously the dog didn't mind. Whilst I was acutely aware of the sound of air rushing past my ears, our beagle had such large lobes that I'm sure he was only interested in he scent being carried by the wind past his nose.

The sun was low in the sky and as I carried on it was reflected off the damp ground. I had to squint a bit to see and as then I noticed another dog walker coming towards me. I think they might have been saying something but I couldn't hear a thing with the howling wind in my ears and couldn't see their face either as it was in shadow and thanks to that bright low sun. 

I got to the tree line and as I rounded the corner I drifted into the long shade of the trees and breathed a sigh of relief and a sniffle as the wind abated thanks to the shelter there. I continued in our little loop if the park and met another walker, "Hello again," they said. 

Of course I realised this was the same dog walker I'd seen just a short while ago.  This time though, I could see them, hear them and happily replied 'hello,' back. I guessed they hadn't thought me ignorant before when I'd simply squinted at them and said nothing. After all I couldn't help that I couldn't hear them or see them, I had been trying to.

And that's a bit like what it is like for my autistic sons. It takes far less than a gale like wind and a blinding light to create a sensory overload in our boys. And when this or any other type of overload happens they literally can't see or hear what's happening around them. What's supposed to be a simple, friendly 'hello' is a mass of confusion. 

Both boys are pretty good now at saying hello when they go somewhere but I knew as I came back to our house that's always in the midst of an activity that I'd have the remind at least one of them to say 'hi' to me when I came back. And I figured this was ok, and was pretty happy that they were willing to do that for me.


Our blog - Final straw on a pile of worries
Our blog - Racing clouds - David's delight

External links

NAS - Sensory


  1. Such a great analogy from you yet again lovely. Sometimes looking at it these different ways is so comforting! Thanky ou for linking up to #spectrumsunday, I really hope you oin me again this week xx

    1. It's maybe a tiny glimpse into their perspective but only my boys truly know what is feels like to be them.


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