"IMAGINE BEING BORN into a world of bewildering, inescapable sensory overload, like a visitor from a much darker, calmer, quieter planet. Your mother’s eyes: a strobe light. Your father’s voice: a growling jackhammer. That cute little onesie everyone thinks is so soft? Sandpaper with diamond grit. And what about all that cooing and affection? A barrage of chaotic, indecipherable input, a cacophony of raw, unfilterable data."
A very worthwhile article which in my mind hints at a connection between giftedness and autism. The article also makes an important distinction between the difficulty some people have with theory of mind and affective empathy. The common confusion between the two leads to a common mistaken belief that autistic people lack empathy, as in- they don't care about other people's feelings. It is, of course, quite the opposite, as the article explains:
"rather than being unemotional, Emily Willingham, a biologist and the mother of an autistic child, says, autistic people are “taking it all in like a tsunami of emotion that they feel on behalf of others. Going internal is protective.”
I found the explanations about VPA networks and their hyperactivity to be not only fascinating, but also relevant to my own work.
This research, in my opinion, reinforces my conviction that some children need a much richer, more intentional environment to thrive in. For those children being in daycare among many other babies can be catastrophic. Having a mother who is depressed, sad or struggling with no support can be not only less than perfect but disastrous. Growing up in an violent, stressful environment which makes no sense is for them much worse than it is for others.
This research reinforces the need for early support for young families, which might mean a change in the way we balance our work and family lives, our adult and child time, our education systems and much more. But that is material for another post.