Closet Chronicles; Sorting Through Autism
My son Jordan is 27 and autistic and this is his closet: an organized closet with empty hangers neatly in their place.
Now, rewind the clock a bit, and you'd find a stark contrast – there was a time when his room resembled a tornado aftermath, with clothes and shoes scattered like confetti.
Reflecting on his childhood, it's hard to believe how far we've come.
When Jordan was younger, his room was a constant battleground of chaos, a constant struggle to keep anything remotely clean.
Despite having a trash can within arm's reach, trash had a way of mysteriously hiding in the most unexpected places – behind the couch, under cushions, even tucked away in pillowcases.
The concept of a neatly organized anything seemed like an unattainable dream.
So what changed?
It didn't happen overnight, and it certainly wasn't because Jordan developed a sudden case of OCD.
Contrary to the stereotype that people with autism have a rigid adherence to order due to obsessive-compulsive tendencies, Jordan's need for organization is not a result of discomfort when things aren't just right.
And maybe you might be thinking this is simply a result of Jordan growing up, developing his own sense of responsibility.
But let me tell you, it runs deeper than that – it's an integral part of his autism.
This is a manifestation of his autism.
In many ways, he finds comfort in the predictability and structure that a well-organized space provided.
This is a common trait among individuals with autism, it provides a sense of control in a world that might otherwise feel overwhelming.
I'll admit, and anyone who knows me will agree, I am no stranger to the need for organization in my life and perhaps part of Jordan's journey is influenced by growing up in a house where I kept things neat and organized.
But I think it's important to recognize that autism plays a significant role in shaping his relationship with the world around him.
Jordan's need for organization has become an integral part of his life, a component of his autism that has evolved and shaped his world.
As a mom who struggled with the challenges of a messy house, I understand that it might be difficult for you to envision your children following a similar path.
I was that mom once, unable to fathom anything like this. Maybe that’s you.
In sharing our story, I want to reach out to moms who might be grappling with the chaos that can come with raising a child on the autism spectrum.
The moms who are currently navigating the sea of scattered toys and mismatched socks, take heart. Autism is a journey filled with surprises.
The secret is to celebrate the progress, embrace the quirks, and love them through it.
Embrace the uniqueness that comes with living alongside autism and remember, you don’t know what their future holds.
It’s possible that your child will likely surprise you one day in the most wonderful way.
This was written by Shannon Urquiola at Not Your Average Autism Mom
Thank you for being part of our journey.