Tales of an Outdoorsman (ongoing)
The outdoorsman project is the story of my autistic son and his coping mechanism in the outside world. About a year ago, I noticed a change in his self-regulating behavior. Normally when overstimulated, he would react by jumping up and down or flapping his hands. Recently however, there’s been a shift. Regardless of the activity, he’s begun taking a different approach to self-soothing. My son will find a seat, literally anywhere, to decompress. He blocks out the outside world by covering his face or turning away from everyone, even if just for a moment, to bring himself back to center.
At first, these instances would frustrate me, because they would inevitably delay our activity and disrupt our schedule. However as time went on, I realized he needed these breaks, to reset and calm whatever feelings he was managing internally. Humans are all so neurologically diverse - we need to develop a better understanding and empathy for those individuals who fall on the neurodivergent spectrum, to foster the growth of all persons within our society, not just those that meet certain criteria. I hope my continued work will expand the conversation around disability access to include those with cognitive differences, those just like my son.