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From ‘The Reason I Jump’ on Radio 4

Posted by on June 27th 2013

We are like cicadas who will miss the summer unless we hurry, hurry, hurry. Bzz, bzz, crick, crick, crick. We cry our hearts out, shout our heads off and never rest in a battle against time.

What would you give as an example of what people with autism really enjoy?

We love the greenness of Nature. Our fondness for Nature is I think a little bit different to everyone else’s. I’m guessing that what touches you in Nature is the beauty of the trees and the flowers and things. But to us, people with special needs, Nature is as important as our own lives. When we look at Nature, we receive a sort of permission to be alive in this world, and our entire bodies get recharged. However often we are ignored and pushed away by other people, Nature will always give us a good big hug here inside our hearts.

The greenness of Nature is the lives of plants and trees. Green is life, and that’s the reason we love to go out for walks. The reason we aren’t much good at people skills is that we think too much about what sort of impression we make on the other person or how we should be responding to this or that. But Nature is always there to wrap us up gently, glowing, swaying, bubbling, rustling.

Just by looking at Nature I feel as if I’m being swallowed up into it. And in that moment I get the sensation that my body is now a speck, a speck that is melting into Nature herself. This sensation is so amazing that I forget that I’m a human being, and one with special needs to boot. Nature calms me down when I’m furious and laughs with me when I’m happy.

As autumn comes around the year’s corner, the cicadas’ lives come to an end. Human beings still have plenty of time in store; but we who have autism, who are semi-detached from the flow of time, we are always uneasy from sunrise to sunset, just like the cicadas. We cry out, we call out.