“She is not listening.”
“In her own world.”
“Look at me, Julia.”
“Not so loud!”
My hearing is so precise.
Too many people think listening and looking are synonymous. “One, two, three...eyes on me.” Have you heard this before? Looking is not really my forte. Listening, however, is my jam. Used to listening to my family. When I was small, there were lots of conversations about me. Now, I am part of the conversation.
All my life I have heard your words. From the music you play to the whispers you don’t intend for me to hear, I hear it all. I am listening loud and oh so clear. My ability to pick up sounds from long stretches of space is truly over the top. Autism gives me this rare gift.
Sounds can be overwhelming as well. Headphones help me block out some loud noises and for me, headphones provide comfort and lots of peace.
Autistics are very much mindful of the world around them. Our senses are very keen. My sight is blurry at times. Lots of light, lots of shapes, lots of beautiful colors. When someone requests that I look at his face, I go into panic mode. My eyes focus on the ground. My heart races. My mind quits working, and I must self-talk my fears away. I promise I can listen while focusing on something else. Autism allows me to listen and looking is not required, I can assure you. Please let me be me.
Before you ask someone to look, ask yourself why. So many Autistics want to be included and heard. Keep speaking to us. We may not always respond with our eyes but we really are listening. We hear you.
Won’t you hear us, too?