Emotional Overload and Aspie Understanding

The media paints a picture of Aspies that is incorrect. We are thought to be disruptive, burdensome, and downright dangerous. That’s what outsiders want you to believe. If you would allow me the time, I would like to show you a more complete picture.

Any group of people will consist of some dangerous minds, sure. However, the majority of us are at least partially content with our lives and many of us manage jobs. Most all of us are hilarious. We’re seen as loners, but many of us thrive in the right relationships. We are people!

It seems like we sometimes speak another language than neurotypicals. But I assume an outsider looking in would feel the same way about us. We may take longer to respond during conversations. We may need to fidget or look away when someone is speaking to us.

We may not express how we feel until the emotions–good or bad– are about to bubble over.  Once those emotions do surface, we might not express them in a way that society deems acceptable.  But this very seldom equals dangerous.

I’ve thrown a cup before in anger and broke it. Same with a phone. I sometimes yell, slam things, and stomp my feet. Do I intentionally hurt people? Never. Do I vent emotions that have been bottled up for too long? Always.

Excitement, happiness, love, and any other emotion you can think of can surface suddenly and take us by surprise.  Some cause crying for ‘no reason,’ some cause dancing and singing, some cause selective mutism, and some cause a longing for connection with those closest to us. We will focus on the feeling of being overwhelmed for the purpose of this article.

I began thinking about how I express negative emotions after one of the children in my care started crying, throwing toys, and yelling at me. He has ear protection, but he does not always want to wear it. I allow him to choose. I ask him before leaving, when I know we are going somewhere that might be loud. However, during group work in class today, it got to be very loud, and I hadn’t anticipated it.

I’m disappointed in myself for not putting two and two together. At the time, I had my ear protection on, and the noise was too much for me. I didn’t think about the noise also being too much for him, because he normally doesn’t wear his ear protection when we’re doing group projects.

Once in circle time, he cried and mumbled something that I couldn’t comprehend. He was getting frustrated at my lack of understanding. He began patting his little ears with his hands. I finally understood. He wanted his ear protection!

I put them on him, and we rocked together until it was time to line up for recess. He was falling asleep. The poor darling was exhausted! He did not even want to participate at recess, and he normally loves to run.

The crying, screaming, and throwing was his way of expressing his emotions. It was too loud. He was exhausted from the overstimulation of the day.  He was just done. Mrs. Peyton hears you, little man. I hear you, and I will be there for you for as long as I can.

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One Response

  1. This article helped me in ways I’d never run into before, to understand what I think is the spectrum of autism. Thank you! You sound like a wonderful teacher.

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