Meet my friend; Intuition
When you are in that dark place of whatever challenge you may find yourself in or facing; the senses sometimes are not enough to help you find your way through. Navigation in the physical world often relies on those senses that we find are more tangible; sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell. It is said that every day you use at least one of your five senses at every moment and even when you are asleep, they continue to work. These senses collaborate and work in unison to let your brain know what is going on around you and sometimes send warnings of changes or danger and even provide triggers to let you know something is not right in that physical world.
However for some challenges the traditional senses are sometimes preceded by the world of Intuition. And in the challenge I found myself facing in the world of Autism, it all came to me in that state of intuition. The feeling that I believe is more connected to your heart than your brain. My journey with Autism started way before any physical observations even though I could not quite articulate or place the feeling. Wikipedia has the definition of Intuition as “the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired.”
Francis Cholle’s view about Intuition is “intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytical reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind and also between instinct and reason.” In all the theory around intuition there is a school of thought that says intuition around future events preside mainly in the heart and that these signals are sent to the brain which would be described as ‘gut’ feelings. So when we hear the statements “Follow your heart” and “Listen to your heart’, they are reflecting this idea that there is a place for intuitive sensing and it is real (although many rational theorists and logical reasoning experts may disagree!)
I definitely listened to my heart when I was pregnant with Chloe and in her early years before diagnosis and have trusted this intuition as a guide and friend throughout the journey I have been on so far in this world of special needs and in managing my broader life. Intuition guided me when many around would not listen or hear my concerns that something was not quite right. I felt that something was not right when I was pregnant and in her early days of life. It was not quite right at her developmental milestones and when I watched her progression in comparison to those children who were around her at the time and near the same age. Even when I would compare her to my son’s development at the same age, I would be told I was being ‘paranoid’ and made to feel almost silly to even be flagging concerns. This was with health professionals as well as people who were close to me.
However I never entertained the idea of abandoning my friend called Intuition; I listened to it and secretly decided that I would take it on the journey with me. Together we created a team that forged an alliance to navigate that dark and unknowing space of uncertainty. Together with our other friends, the senses, we worked to note, observe and document everything so that when the time came to create a plan for Chloe I found people who started to see what I was only sensing until that point. I was lucky enough to find a few people who also applied both knowledge and intuition and had a trust in my advocacy of Chloe’s needs. Intuition in the rational world often gets relegated behind logical, scientific and evidenced-based approaches. It is seen as the poor relative to what is clearly known and understood. For me Intuition is the best guide I have had so far.
In the early days of this journey and story I had realised what many parents of children with Autism fail to see or don’t get told: that the most often overlooked person is never the child but yourself. It is critical that you get to know who you are and build up your emotional, physical and intuitive strength; you are your child’s greatest advocate and opportunity. Trust yourself.