One of the blogs I still check up every so often despite the fact she's not posted in years is Just Stimming. Which always reminds me of Quiet Hands. Her post that went viral (for good reason). Her post that I've shown to so many professionals and they've finally started to get it better.
Today though, I think of that post for a different reason. I think of it because of the image at the top. I think of it because of how many different things that image can say, and does say, and how many different ways it says it. I think of it because context is important.
I think of my student, flapping his hands instead of focusing intently on his work. I think of him getting his work done as well as that. And I think of an adult, taking his hands, pulling them down under the table, and holding them for a second or two, telling him to work instead. She doesn't use the words quiet hands. She doesn't need to. She still takes the hands of a child, and stops his stimming, because being autistic is not okay. I flap my hands for him. I flap my hands at all the schools I work at.
And yet, at the same time, I think of my boyfriend, taking my hands, and holding them down, stopping me from scratching my legs for who knows how long. Holding my wrists, putting pressure to try to show my body that there is something okay in it. Trying to help me find a way to make my body feel like something other than a giant thing of wrong-ness, in a way other than scratching it all away until it hurts and the only way to stop the hurting is to scratch some more.
I didn't want to scratch. I wanted help. I wanted to find a way out. I was struggling and every time I tried to keep my hands still on my own I failed, but that was something I was trying to do. He was holding them in ways that were trying to help me, watching out for that.
My student. He was stimming. He wasn't doing anything to hurt himself or others. He was getting his work done. He was stopped against his will.
The same action. The same controversial action of taking someone's hands and holding them down - in two completely different situations. In one situation it hurts, in another, it helps.
But what's so controversial about just doing things for the person, rather than "because autism is wrong"?