Autism and a Human Need to Connect
I have heard and read many things that make it seem as if humans with Autism don't have a need to connect with other humans. It breaks my heart. I know from experience that this is untrue. I see my sons interact, and I see a deep emotional connection between two little boys who are, very much, on the Spectrum. At first glance, the photo I have chosen for this post just looks like twins sleeping next to each other. This is fairly common for twins. It is a beautiful thing to witness. As their mother, I see much more in the photo.
Our situation is very unique. Having twins with Autism is special. I have been able to experience Autism from two points of view. The dynamic my twins have is fascinating. They are almost always together in proximity, yet they have never played together. They tend to play alone, next to each other. It used to really bother me that they didn't seem to notice one another. I would try to get them to play together, but they wouldn't engage. It was frustrating to me before I knew about Autism. They didn't want to be apart, yet they had little to do with each other when together. This has never changed about them. I want them to be close on a deeper level. I know that Autism will limit them in relationships, which is why I am so glad they were born together.
Nurturing the relationship between the boys is very important to me. This is why I have had them sleeping together since they were infants. I made this choice for them before knowing that Autism was a factor. I don't regret it. They aren't able to communicate with each other in a traditional sense, but they seem to genuinely connect as they sleep. When they are awake it is common to find them watching different shows on different devices while sitting next to each other. They are each in their own world, but together. It is amazing to see. They are happy playing around each other. This is what it looks like for children with Autism to connect. It strays from the neuro-typical experience.
What I am finding, is that their way of being is symbiotic. Though it seems distant, there is a strong connection between them. This is why my heart melts to find them sleeping, snuggled up, next to each other. This is the only time they physically bond with each other. One child will fall asleep, and the other child usually wanders over to curl up with the other. It must be easier for them to approach each other this way. There is no rejection to be had if the person you are trying to connect with is asleep. It is very sweet. My boys are very lucky to have each other. This is my proof that humans with Autism have a need to connect with other humans. The connections that they make are meaningful it just looks different.
The Millennial Twin Mom