I’ve run across three or four notions in my readings on and off the web (alas, having to sit in a darkened hallway for hours on end waiting for G to sleep turns me more toward the internet than a proper magazine or book) that I’m afraid I’ll forget about if I don’t post now. They are not especially related, but I’m of the mind to think that everything is of a piece and far more connected than I initially perceive. Think spider web.
I follow a blog called We Go With Him whose author is mother to an autistic son and a classics professor at St. Peter’s College. She chronicles day-to-day life with her son and husband with remarkable consistency and grace. Every so often she includes a snippet from Homer or Sappho and the like. Virgil follows:
facilis descensus Averno:
noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;
sed reuocare gradum superasque euadere ad auras,
hoc opus, hic labor est.
—Virgil, Aeneid, VI. 125-129
Easy the way down to Hades:
Nights and days the door of black Dis lies open;
but to recall your step and escape to the air above,
this is the work, this the labor.
This morning, while nursing Gabriel, I had just enough time to read a short review of the Met’s new Islamic wing in The New Yorker. The reviewer raves about it and ends with an interesting comparison of Islam and Christianity. He begins this passage by describing the feeling he had visiting a mosque in Istanbul:
I was struck by how a tier of scores of lamps dropped from the immense and shadowy spaces above, as if curious about the goings on along the carpeted floor. The effect, like Heaven pressing down to earth, is exactly the opposite of the symbolic updraft of Christian religious architecture. Christian prayers skyrocket. Muslim prayers skim the ground, toward Mecca. Like the sides of a coin, both conceptions can be seen, but they cannot see each other.
And finally, Landon Bryce of thAutcast.com posted a link to an incredibly clear and concise explanation of sensory processing issues by Beth Arky. Here’s an excerpt, but take a moment to link to the entire article. Landon’s post, “Crucial Reading for a Crucial Moment,” is also excellent:
Children, teens and adults with SPD experience either over-sensitivity (hypersensitivity) or under-sensitivity (hyposensitivity) to an impairing or overwhelming degree. The theory behind SPD is based on the work of occupational therapist Dr. A. Jean Ayres. In the 1970s, Dr. Ayres introduced the idea that certain people’s brains can’t do what most people take for granted: process all the information coming in through seven—not the traditional five—senses to provide a clear picture of what’s happening both internally and externally.
Along with touch, hearing, taste, smell and sight, Dr. Ayres added the “internal” senses of body awareness (proprioception) and movement (vestibular). When the brain can’t synthesize all this information coming in simultaneously, “It’s like a traffic jam in your head,” Peske says, “with conflicting signals quickly coming from all directions, so that you don’t know how to make sense of it all.”
I often think that Jonah’s biggest struggle is with sensory processing. Yeah, he’s autistic, but I don’t see his autism (very often) affecting his ability to learn, focus and interact. In fact, his autism is what makes him so uniquely, even maddeningly, Jonah Caedmon Estes.