Quiet hands, loud hands

“Quiet hands.”

I wasn’t prepared for the power of those two words. To be precise, I hadn’t anticipated the negative energy that phrase could convey.

In her post, “Quiet Hands,” Julia Bascom shares moments from her past when those in power demanded that she stop flapping her hands, stop touching things and, most importantly, stop acting autistic. She explores this issue again in her post “Grabbers.”

I was shocked to read these words. Not because I don’t believe these things could happen, but because I worried that I have been guilty of being a grabber.

It’s not a question of whether I have ever grabbed Philip’s hands. I’m sure I have. What I have to look at is the why:  Did I do it so that he wouldn’t look different? Did I do it because others were staring? Did I think he was doing something wrong? Was I trying to protect him from doing something harmful?

Philip is at an age where he is still learning about and discovering the world. It is my responsibility as a parent to stop him from touching a hot stove, to grab him before he runs in front of a car and to keep his fingers away from sharp objects that cut.

As he gets older, it will then be my job to introduce him to The Loud Hands Project. I think it will be important for him to have autistic role models like Ms. Bascom and the other writers who are contributing to this anthology of stories.

I’m blogging on the theme of autism acceptance as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.


4 thoughts on “Quiet hands, loud hands

  1. I’ve always hated when so-called professionals try to stop my son from “flapping”. We always knew it just meant he was excited or he is being overwhelmed by what he is looking at (not in a bad way but in a good way) and this makes him feel better. But sadly a lot of ABA professionals I have met don’t agree and want to extinguish it. I personally like how OT’s understand the “why” and read the behaviour for what it is and instead try to follow a child’s lead and figure out what this is signalling. Does he need a movement break? Does he need deep pressure and need his weighted vest? Sometimes my son likes it when an SLP just hold his hands or he holds her hands and squishes them. She isn’t stopping the flapping but understands he is seeking input. But the best lesson I take is from my 2-1/2 year old girl who copies her older brother when she is excited…she just flaps with him and laughs…..it makes her feel good:)


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