I like to be overly expressive with my facial cues so that Johnny can learn to quickly and correctly identify what I am feeling so that he can do that with friends and family and get better at social situations. One of things I do is if I’m sad or I am interpreting something sad I emphasize it by doing a big big lower lip and pout to make a sad face.
The other day I wasn’t expecting this reaction. He got sad, his beautiful eyes got shiny and he got so very emotional.
“Mommy why oh why are you lower lipping. Stop that lower lip. I have to stop that lower lip.”
He came over and placed his hands on each of my cheeks and showered my face with kisses. He started crying a lot and kept wanting me to stop my sad face. In the past he has tried to hide his feelings and rapidly swipe his hands across his eyes to stop the impending tears. Now he is following his Daddy’s rule that the way to stop the pout on Mommy’s face is to quickly give her kisses. I remember when he was only hours old and the nurse wanted to take him from me for a minute to do a test or something family and nurses all stopped and gushed because they saw him give everyone such a big pout.
Now its seems like he can’t control his emotions and they erupt. It’s like he feels so much and the intensity of someone else’s emotions is too much for him to process. In school during the social lessons component of his ASD class, he’s been learning how to interpret facial expressions and situations. I wonder if now he is finally really “getting it.”
But now we are seeing him having to process his big emotions and do it correctly while other children have been on a progressive learning curve already. I do not think that many professionals including teachers have seen it from this point of view. They are always concentrating on the interpretation of social cues but not how the child processes them. Like many things, Johnny learns things at his own pace but what I find hard to watch is when things hit him like a ton of bricks.