Would You like to experience autism?

Episode 2 : You Withdraw to Your Own World

If you have gone through the previous “How it Starts” Module
you will now understand how over-sensitivities
have caused your loved ones’ withdrawal
back to his.her own world.

Now let us examine this Withdrawal in more detail,
by remembering our own times of Withdrawal.
If you experience what your youngster feels a good deal of the time,
you will know better what you are dealing with.

The examples in the “How it Starts” Module described how your need for parental touch, pleasant reassuring sounds, reinforcing parental smiles, have gone unsatisfied – instead you have been stunned by the force of what you have beheld, and you have retreated to your Own World. You are confused by what has happened, nothing makes sense and you are largely alone.

(If you are a regressive then these overly-strong sensations come to affect you more at a later age.)

You can produce your own feelings of being stunned
and Withdrawing to your Own World,

by remembering a traumatic occasion.
Maybe it was after a car accident, an assault,
the death of a loved one, a relationship break up.

How did it feel? When someone spoke to you,
did it feel like their words were coming from a distance?
Probably the words were simply sounds that made little sense.

If you were required to make plans
you couldn’t work out what to do first,

what sequence the events should take.

You were numbed, but happily in that state
your mind felt safer from agitation while it healed.

However, note that little or no further reality-processing
was possible during that time of Withdrawal!

Take a moment to really feel these things.

There are plenty of similar withdrawal-references to hand. A song from the band Chicago comes to mind, where the singer describes a relationship break-up:
“people speak but I don’t hear, things all around seem so unclear”, another reference is Paul Simon’s “I am a Rock”, where his character describes deliberate withdrawal after he suffered too much pain from loss of love.

I mentioned elsewhere the phenomenon of children in orphanages often remaining in their Own Worlds through lack of the usual outside reinforcement and interaction. And there are even more extreme documented cases of autistic-withdrawal from horror, as in the case of inmates of extermination camps. I am not suggesting there is anywhere near that level of trauma in your loved one’s life, especially in the caring environment you no doubt provide, but I am describing the withdrawal mechanism in a range of circumstances.

It is essentially a protective mechanism, but unless we employ techniques to encourage a ‘way out’, which is where Real World Training comes in, chronic Withdrawal can permanently produce a range of behaviours as we will see.

(Another more neural way of looking at the oversensitivity is via Michael Merzenich’s studies. He is a preeminent neurobiologist specializing in the autistic condition. He describes “the trauma of autism” where he says such brains, instead of occasionally paying strong attention to various stimuli, (the equivalent of your brain saying “this is important”) are ALWAYS alerted and EVERYTHING is important! (you can read about it in Norman Doidge’s book “The Brain that Changes Itself” page 80 on). This leads to a brain being basically stimulated to a traumatic degree, looking for release in a quiet world of its own.)

My earlier references to Henry and Kamila Markram support the notion that autistic brains are more intensely exposed to stimuli, and thus need, and find, more comfort in Own World than most of us.

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