A hike is a perfect opportunity to come together to build community and make new friends. All our hikes go at a casual, relaxed pace.
We will meet at The yellow Vase – 51 Malaga Cove Plaza, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274
Things to know for the hike:
DURATION OF HIKE: 30 – 60 Minutes
HIKE DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Beginner
MUST REGISTER ONLINE
SIGN WAIVER IN PERSON BEFORE START OF HIKE
ATHLETIC / ACTIVEWEAR & SHOES
BRING BOTTLED WATER AND WEAR SUNSCREEN
***Please note that OurTism reserves the right to cancel this event if the minimum number of registrants is not met by the deadline. Online ticket sales end 12 hours prior to the start of the event. Please contact us with any questions. ***
I sometimes forget that my world isn’t everyone’s. I was on a road trip. The radio was blasting. The air conditioning was blasting. The car was rumbling. The freeway was buzzing. The people were chatting. My body found the sensory sensation too painful and in order to protect me, put me to sleep. I woke up to a sensory overload. The pain was horrible. I was a crying mess. My Da and sister asked what they could do to help. They pulled the car over and my Da sat with me on the side of the road as I pulled myself together. He let me know I was going to be okay and that everyone was here for me. When I was ready, I got back in the car and we pulled up to the hotel. I curled up under my weighted blanket, with my service dog doing pressure. I waited out the sensory overload.
While this was all happening, my Da’s friend watched from the outside. He asked my Da what does he do when that happens? My Da answered with exactly what we did.
My Da has not always been that amazing with my meltdowns. I am grateful that now he is my rock and he can help me through those very painful moments. Having someone who understands and can explain when I can’t has been so lovely. My Da was patient with me when I couldn’t verbally tell him what I needed. From experience of past meltdowns, he was able to figure out how to help.
I want to share these stories because autism doesn’t go away as an adult. I have gotten better at knowing my body and taking care of myself before a meltdown happens. It isn’t always possible to stop meltdowns. They are painful and embarrassing, but they are part of my life. I forget from the outside how alien my life can look. So, here I am sharing another story to normalize and bring understanding to the word of autism.
When I was in elementary school, I maybe talked to one or two people during the school day- my twin sister and a best friend. That was about it. During class, I didn’t speak at all. Some days were better than others when I could ask to use the restroom or- actually that’s all I remember asking a teacher. As I got older, I began leaving a whiteboard in my desk or my locker and would bring it out when “I didn’t feel like talking” and would use that to communicate. So, why did my teachers tell my parents that I don’t participate enough and that I don’t ask enough questions and that I should talk more? Why didn’t they tell my parents that I didn’t talk- at all?
As a child, everything that I did was normal. I assumed everyone had days where they lacked the energy to vocalize. In actuality it takes way more energy for me to vocalize than others. Here is the thing that can complicate being selectively mute, all ability to speak doesn’t always disappear completely. There are times when I can only whisper. There are days when I loose some vocabulary. There are days when I can’t get vulnerable information out of my mouth.For example- I might have a pressing emotion I am going through and I am thinking about it a lot, but when someone asks me how I am doing I say that I am “good.” Meanwhile, my brain is screaming that is not what I wanted to say! Why did I say that? Why didn’t I tell the truth?
I can also be triggered into falling silent. The most common one is confrontation. I often loose the ability to speak when I have to stand up for myself or others. My head could be screaming to say something and put that person right, but my mouth won’t open. The words won’t come out. For this reason I tell people that I don’t like confrontation.
I also loose the ability to speak in loud sensory unfriendly environments, when there is too much to process and I can’t keep up. Other times, when I am exhausted- I don’t have the energy to vocalize my thoughts. Lastly, I loose the ability to speak when I don’t feel heard. When I am shut down and talked over and feel like no one cares what I have to say- the words stop coming.