Yes, what seemed like an adventurous string of three thrill-seeking roller coaster rides turned into a nauseating nightmare. I guess I should have known by the near stumble up the ramp to the second coaster that my inner ear was far less amused than my brain, but I chose to ignore the dire warning and pressed on. And on. Until fail. Literally.
So the 80-minute ride home was a malignant medley of starting and stopping and snack smells and horn blows, endurable only with my eyes closed and focused deeply on my breathing.
|photo by Vincent Laforet|
So many of us take our senses of balance and proprioception ("the sense of the orientation of one's limbs in space") for granted. We know when we're upright and when we're seated. We understand, without having to think too hard, that our feet are connected to our legs, which are firmly attached at our hips. And yet, a touch of vertigo can flip all those senses.
And what of our children, students, or friends with autism? These connections to the exquisitely sensitive inner ear in individuals with different brain wiring could certainly mean that feedback regarding parts of their bodies and steadiness is unreliable. And if that feedback were a sense of disconnection, dizziness, and/or nausea, isn't it reasonable to think that associated "behavior" could be holding onto walls, lack of awareness of personal space, or avoidance of certain motion-related activities?
When I think of all the things people with autism must feel without being able to successfully communicate those sensations to us neuro-typicals, I am urged to do better to understand and make accommodations for their differences. I encourage you to do the same.