We were riding the metro back one night when my eyes caught something in the reflection in the glass. A boy, no a young man sitting with head phones on. This is a usual site on a subway train or a public bus so why would this catch my eye?
The young man is gazing out of the metro train window looking at the tunnel as the train whizzes by. But this is not what is catching my eye. Its his hands. They are moving so quickly twirling as he twirls something back and forth and around and around. It is a ribbon or a thick string. I look over at my son and he is looking out of the metro window as well looking into the tunnel as the walls race by and his hands are fluttering fast. They are both stimming each in their own way. I don’t think they notice each other but then again from my experience when I don’t think Johnny is paying attention, that’s when he’s paying attention the most. I think to myself what a good idea to be wearing head phones to combat the noise of the metro and the people and to have a ribbon as a fidget to keep his hands busy. My son’s hands are empty but he is doing his “happy hands” as his little sister likes to call it.
Its later in the evening that I remember that France has a controversial history with Autism and how it is approached. The professionals and the government choose to take a psychoalayiss approach to Autism instead of the accepted cognitive, early intervention, behaviour approach.
I couldn’t help but think back to the young man on the metro train and wondered what he has gone through already in his young life. What assistance has he gotten? Did he have to go through psychoanalysis? It sounds like Autism Awareness has a long way to go in France. This makes me sad in many ways but for one reason in particular. Johnny really loved Paris and as we would wander down streets he would stop at a lovely old door painted colourfully and say “Mommy, I want to live her. I want to move here.” He wouldn’t want to if he knew the kind of help that he would be offered here.
Here are some links to some articles about France and Autism.