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Why do many autistic children lay on the ground or sleep on the floor?

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2020

(Disclaimer: I have made the choice to allow my advocacy to naturally transition into tapping into my true neurodivergent experience which extends beyond the limited language of verbal communication. I do this out of a sense of pursuing an organic lens of being, and an unexplored expression of who I am and how I show up in the world. I am curious about where this will take me as I am a lifelong learner. Because my autistic experience extends beyond the limited five senses and verbal and written language, I will attempt to find adequate verbal or written expression to describe my experience, but it will never be enough. My writing may or may not align with the experience of other autistic people; however I don’t speak for other autistic people when I share my lived experience. I only speak for myself, but do so with the knowledge that I have engaged with many others who share my experiences and are also autistic. We may simply use different forms of expression to describe our experience.

Many of us are still unmasking, and so we are afraid to show up in our true sentience. The impact of masking is that it dulls our outer senses and betrays our intuition.

Often the language I will use, has been used before by people who also choose to use words such as ‘supernatural’ or ‘spiritual’. And although I may use these words and words often used closely in relation to supernatural or spiritual experiences, I consider the stories and examples I use to be very normal, organic expressions of my autistic being that lack adequate language and so I’m making do with what I have.)


It is a common experience for us, as autistic people to find sleeping on the floor comforting.

As a young person, I often slept on the floor in my room, or at the foot of my Mother’s bed directly on the floor.

I also enjoyed, and still do, along with my autistic children, laying on the ground in the grass.

I did (and do) this for two reasons:

 

 

  • Earthing

 

 

Being as close to the earth itself as possible is an extremely grounding and centring experience for me. It is a part of the atmosphere where there exists the least amount of human energy, or, disconnected and unstable and chaotic energy.

When I am on my feet, my head and my heart; my being is like a target (because I am an autistic being) for extreme sensory static and loud energy. Sounds, smells, sights, tactile, and the presence that other people carry with them feels as though it is inescapable. 

This is absolutely exhausting and takes a toll on my being, often resulting in autoimmune disease and chronic illness flares, such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, ENT (ear, nose and throat) infections, Crohns disease and chronic fatigue.

At the base of the earth, on the floor, on the grass, there is sensory silence.

No energy from other people, no noise, no sensory clutter or chaos.

There is stillness. 

Being on the ground returns me to a state of safety and reconnects, or plugs me back into what is a true vibrational frequency of nature or the natural state of flow and all that is (others may refer to this as source, God, universal energy, science essence, etc). It is timeless, non threatening, connected and safe. There is no adequate language to express this experience or state for me, as there is no adequate verbal language for many things pertaining to autistic experience.

This energy state and flow is where, as an autistic person my most natural and comfortable space of being exists.

“I would also lie on the floor to try to get away from the assault of over-stimulation. This is something I like to do even to this day, although I often need to control this urge and refrain as it is socially unacceptable in most situations.”  Tim Chan, Back From the Brink by Tim Chan & Sarah Chan.



 

  • Connection

 



I often refer to the direct energetic connection between a parent and child. I use this to reframe separation anxiety as an example of using limited verbal language to describe a deeply connected communication of being between an autistic child and their parent.

Energy disconnection is how I prefer to describe this experience. 

When we are plugged into and being nourished with love and safety from a parent or carer, disconnecting from this energy source is painful, threatening, and at times, terrifying.

We are, in fact, being asked to unplug from warmth and loving energy and to move away from it with a sense of detachment. 

In reality, this is an excruciatingly challenging ask of any child, let alone an autistic child, as the expectation is that the child will unplug and remain disconnected throughout the school day, whilst walking into a sensory abomination that is the classroom, at times, unsupported or incorrectly supported based on a limited understanding of the autistic experience.

Using this understanding of energetic connection, it is helpful to imagine the ‘energy’ as a rope that runs between the parent and child, felt throughout our entire being, yet largely experienced as unconscious.

That rope is often chipped away at by trauma experienced by parents, particularly from systems set in place to support families. From pressure around school attendance, appropriate behaviour and social skills and similar neuronormative expectations placed upon autistic children, with the responsibility placed on their parents. 

As the parent’s wellbeing and sense of self is stripped away or assaulted, the threads that sustain the rope (energy) connected to their child becomes frayed. Threads begin to snap and break and the child’s response is to hold tighter.

Any threat of being unplugged from that safe energetic connection with our parent causes us to grasp tighter onto the rope, despite the threads fraying.

From the limited perspective via the lens of behaviour, this would present as separation anxiety or school avoidance, or..

 

sleeping at the foot of our parent’s bed on the floor.

 

It is the need to be close. To be connected. And the closer we are physically, the stronger the energetic connection. As autistic children, we have the ability (as do all children) to return the much needed energetic ‘healing’ to stabilise the rope, due to the innocence and connected sense of remaining true to who we are (until society disconnects us).

 

The relationship between a parent and child is created in perfect love. It has the potential and the promise of being a two way, return process of unconditional, intense love that heals on another; and acts as a balm to soothe wounds (trauma, sadness, rejection).

 

For more on energy disconnection (separation anxiety) and ways to help, here's a recent live Kristy engaged in to discuss this further.

 

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Kristy Forbes

inTune Pathways

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