The sound of silence. Why is silence important when it comes to autism? What can we learn from it?
I will teach you why I tend to stay silent since I was very little.
I never really talked much, and I chose not to form much words for a while. One of the biggest reasons why I prefer not to talk at all was because I never wanted to say anything that was not appropriate to say or to embarrass myself and to others around me. No matter what it is! Even if I was asked a question, I would stay silent not knowing how to respond. Took a very long time up to five years until I was given the confidence to speak more frequently. Words are words now, and I feel like I can say anything that comes to mind; especially when given some very hard questions that may be very sensitive even to me.
I still get pretty silent at times. So much so that I have found myself drawn to people my age that are silent too. There was a time when I was at a design and engineering class, and all the time, I would sit in the back next to this girl my age, and she was normally shy and hardly ever speaks; but I was always amazed by her designs shown on the computer! Talented artist! I had to say something to complement her work and to show my appreciation, and she even thanked me for the compliments with smiles! Most of the time, we would just sit there on our computers doing our work and not really talk much about anything, even our favorite games or cartoons or whatever. But at the end of the day, we are almost always like:
"Same time tomorrow?"
She wasn't the only one that we share this uncanny bond, but other kids who I used to grow up with. Being silent together. It can be quite calming in a way. It may seem that we don't interact, but in a way, we have been interacting, being with someone is good enough for me.
Another thing about silence that I tend to enjoy is complete silence. Not a sound coming from me or from anything else. Quiet. Why does this interest me? For one thing, I love the dark, darkness seems to fit the quiet atmosphere for me. I can think much more clearly and recharge after a moment of stimulus going on in the world. I needed breaks, so that's why I prefer dark areas where there's hardly a sound in the areas. My teachers understood that I needed time to recharge, so they take me to dark quiet areas and get rid all of the stimulus. It worked! I have gotten into understanding that it is okay to have these moments where breaks are required, that way I can learn and think clearly, and silence works!
Know too, and I believe that this is very important, that someone who is silent enjoys being with people who are naturally silent. For example, my mom enjoys talking and is very social. It still doesn't feel right when I'm with her and she's silent with me. Rather have something going on because I'm used to seeing her like that; but everyone is different in that area, you can't change who you are just to help, everyone works with their children differently and effectively.
Know why the person is silent, and if you want a response from him or her and if they have the ability to talk, remember to remind them that "it is okay" or "you can tell me anything" as examples to make them feel comfortable and want to speak.
Many people want to hear what to hear what has been going on with others, and with autism, it takes very small steps into fully engaging communication in social situations.
I want to speak for those who feel silent.