Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Change Is Not Asperger's Friend

Change. I think I've written about it before, haven't I?

So just recently my and my kid's favorite show (VeggieTales) recently showed up with an "updated" look to their characters.
I could go a long ways describing the reasons that I hate it, and why I think it sends the wrong message, but to be honest, I'm waiting for all the details to be revealed before I make a final decision about it. So far the thought is that it is only a change that will be used in a certain specific Netflix-only show, and from what I hear about said show, the look fits. Fine, I don't subscribe to Netflix streaming so I don't really care. 

However, it brought to my attention the huge number of parents with autistic kids who were crying out for them not to do this to the only show that has reached their kids. Each had their own story, but all had the same problem: their children rejected and were actually quite horrified at the new look, a range of reactions from "brainless" to "evil" and "horrifying.
In my own house, the reaction was no different. I, and my son, all had the same reaction. 

People say we shouldn't consider it such a big deal. People say that they don't really look that different.

Which brings another thought; if you think they don't look all that different, then obviously we have to realize that your ability to notice and internalize the fine details is not the same as mine. It isn't a secret that autistics have a highly sensitive nature, and we will notice details that no one else even cares to think about. Despite what the info out there says, we may not be able to read faces as much as other people, but that doesn't mean we are blind to the feelings that can come across from certain looks. I think that everything with autism is more complicated than it seems. On the one hand, the research says we can't read emotions and faces (which many of us can't) but personal experience says that even if I can't read someone's face, I can still feel things.

The new design makes me feel frightened. Instead of feeling loveable and attractive, they look stupid and mindless. They look hypnotic and evil. And it's nothing personal, it's not even like all the details are wrong. In fact, someone pointed out that they have eyebrows, something I never noticed they didn't have in the first place, and didn't notice the new designs have now. So its not all the details. Like so many of the others, its just the eyes. A simple little detail, but it is really important.
I can't really think about other ways to try to explain what I mean. But the point is that autistics DO indeed notice fine details, and we are upset by things that are off or out of place.

I don't know what the outcome of this will be. At times, it literally felt as if my world was falling apart. (There are other reasons of course, but this was like a cherry on top of the crappy weak sundae). I felt lightheaded at times, and I wondered why I was feeling so off, and then I remembered, oh yeah, it was "just that VeggieTales thing..."

Change is hard for autistics. I'm not sure on the specific details of why that is, I just know that it is. Rejecting our feelings by saying that it's "not that different" or that we should "just get over it" is very unfair. 

Remember, everyone reacts to things differently, and autistics usually react to things stronger than others. We can't help it or control it (hahaa it's one of those things that we cant control) and that's just the way it is. 

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