It’s generally well accepted that a person can have certain autistic characteristics without being defined as having the disorder. In fact, Hans Asperger indicated that he saw autistic traits in all the parents of the autistic children he had been able to meet. (Asperger, H.  ‘Autistic psychopathy in childhood.’).
In light of predisposition, it’s interesting to look at some of my own lifelong idiosyncrasies. For example, I have some real sensory-sensitivities regarding some noises, smells, my skin, and touch. The mention of the words (and the slightest thought) of fingernails on chalkboard makes my hairs stand on end. In fact, the chalkboard itself makes my skin crawl, and the feeling of chalk on my fingers is just HORRIBLE. I can’t stand that dry-skin-chalky-dusty-anything like that feeling. I hate micro-fiber towels. I can’t stand using certain types of baby-wipes (the dryish feeling ones that don’t pop-up) that I have to grasp. It’s a feeling that resembles a scream, or raw nerves, or an invisble cold fire. The sound of dry-ish markers on paper, or markers squeeking on a white board makes me feel the same way. It’s so RAW, it makes me feel like my blood is drying up in my veins.
I like to think that these insignificant (when compared to a disorder) irritations help me to understand Emma better when she’s “Having a Preference” (doesn’t that sound nice?) I can work on helping her cope instead of telling her she’s wrong. When I can personally relate to something, my capacity for patience, coping, and stamina increases drastically. It’s a small insight into a part of their world. What say you?