I don’t fear anything. Well, maybe with the exception of dinosaurs, those creatures scare me. Okay, fine, I’m not entirely made of stone and I do fear a lot of things, and it’s the right kind of fear. Though the rumors were confirmed to be true that when I was younger I did not fear many things even if they were extremely dangerous. Like crossing a street with a lot of traffic, walking outside my house in the middle of the night, making my way to a swimming pool without anyone knowing, being around people that were a bad influence on me, and being in sports that would make me sore and bleed. Fear was never a priority for me back then. It felt like it was just an illusion for a long time until I learned from my teachers and parents that having healthy fears were for my protection. The kind of protection that allows me to keep doing activities and literally stay alive.
I know how important it is to fear certain things that will protect you and keep you going. Everyone has something to fear other than spiders, snakes, and dinosaurs, and being naturally afraid of certain things is a very good thing.
Healthy fears need to be learned in early childhood. First and foremost is the healthy fears taught by the parents or caregiver. But I’ll share with you what my teachers taught me while I was in elementary school. The teachers had a lot of charts on the walls that displayed examples of acceptable behavior and improper behavior. And there were charts of things like sitting or standing on chairs, listening (or) not listening to directions. Choices and consequences. These were the charts that helped me know what not to do as well as knowing what to do. Same goes with fear. What to fear and what not to fear and why you should fear them. I’ll give you an example of the type of charts that were really helpful for me. First of all, there would be these types of questions (or) statements matched with a picture.
Typically children with autism have a muted fear response, therefore making it more challenging for them to learn what fear is and the reasons why it needs to be feared.
I know these fears were for my protection and I also know from experience when I went walking on a very high wall. If I would have just listened to my parents telling me to stay away from that wall and not run away from them it would have spared me many months in the hospital. I learned this lesson of what to fear the hard way. Needless to say, I stay away from walking on high walls now!
It takes a really long time to learn some of these really abstract concepts like fear. But don’t ever give up in helping your son or daughter learn about healthy fears.
Until Next Time ~ Stay away from those dinosaurs!