I went first scanning the world around me for 30 seconds. So what could my mighty mind recall. With my scatter gun memory approach, it was over in a few seconds. I remembered some birds flying overhead, a few clouds, someone cutting the lawn, bit of a breeze, plane flying overhead, a car, a number of cows, think I saw a sheep and a dog barking (not ours). I was quite impressed with myself until my son’s turn. I knew I had lost the challenge when my son’s first words were “17 cows”. The list he came up with was something like:

  • 17 cows,
  • 6 sheep,
  • 7 birds in flight (4 crows, 2 starlings and a bird of prey possibly a Buzzard),
  • 1 bird whistling in that hedge,
  • 2 more birds chirping in the other hedge,
  • breeze
  • 3 aeroplanes, looking at the cloud trails one of the planes has four engines,
  • 1 lawnmowers in the distance,
  • About 15 white clouds,
  • 2 Wasps or Bees buzzing behind us,
  • A couple walking a white dog in the distance near the far gate, which they didn’t close. The dog is barking,
  • Someone has fire on as I can smell the smoke, given the wind direction it might be the farm,
  • 2 cars and probably from the sound of it a bus driving up the road,
  • Next door has the television on, it’s loud
  • plus ‘you tried to put me off by pumping’ – (sorry thought I’d got away with that one).

I was expecting my son to win this observation game. I remember watching a programme by TV nature presenter Chris Packham in which he was talking about his Aspergers. In the programme he demonstrated how much he sensed and detected from his surroundings. It was just beyond my comprehension. Part of me was hoping that our little game would demonstrate to our son some of the positive elements of Aspergers. What it did demonstrate was how much sensory information his brain was having to deal with. When I looked only a few minutes later so much had changed. He’s processing all this sensory information all the time. I get why he likes listening to rock music, it helps block out some of the sensory distractions. I’m not sure what his Headteacher’s would say if I recommended playing Motörhead over the school p.a. system. Anyway as we walked towards the house our son smiled and said “ah the sweet smell of a barbecue or is it the cakes you put in the oven”. What would a Sunday be without burnt to a crisp fairy cakes. Just grand.

22 thoughts on “What you see

  1. Wow, that is really eye opening. I can say that I know my son picks up on so much more sensory information than I do – but it is not until you see it like this – all the things your son picked up on that it becomes clear HOW MUCH more they see/hear/smell. Wow!

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    1. I just worry about how difficult it must be to deal with all this sensory information, all the time. It’s trying to find more options for him to turndown that sensory stuff. Blank walls, plain clothing, rock music, get him to focus on his favourite subjects, safe hideouts. Just hope we find more.

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  2. He is SO connected to Mother Earth. He doesn’t just see & hear things, he appears to feel them, as well. I don’t know if you believe in such but, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is clairvoyant on some level. Perhaps, as he ages, meditation might help him focus & filter.

    I have a first cousin that is 17 years younger than I. He has been talking to dead relatives since he learned to talk (his older brother’s daughter is doing the same thing). He is a regular cannabis smoker as it helps him filter out stuff & sleep. That was his route in drowning out sensory overload. His IQ is ‘up there’.

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  3. I’m rereading this. It has a certain magic. While such sensory ‘overload’ may be burdensome, one can say , what a gift! especially to writers; we miss so much. I also enjoyed the humour which wrapped up your meditation

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    1. Thank you. I just wish our education system was a just a bit more flexible so it would allow kids to develop their talents. Currently kids can only do this if their talents happen to fall within the dreaded and very narrow national curriculum. I most get off the soap box, it’s too late to get worked up. Going to exploit my great gift, eating unhealthy food.

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