Beyond the Wall, by Stephen Shore

I already mentioned Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, by Stephen Shore, published by the Autism Asperger Publishing Company (AAPC), in the post “Understanding Autism (for Dummies, by Stephen Shore)” but I’d like to add a few words about it.

It’s an autobiography and while someone might think that writing an autobiography is an exercise in vanity, what makes this autobiography so interesting is reading about growing up and life in general from a point of view of a person with autism.

Overall, Beyond the Wall, game me a lot of “Oh, that’s why..” moments. Stephen Shore remembers (and writes about) events that happened when he was very young and pretty much non-verbal. He explains how he could not explain to his parents that the reason he hated haircuts was because he could feel each single hair being pulled and that it hurt. He also recalled how trips to a grocery store used to cause sensory overload because of the overpowering mixture of smells in the produce section and the flickering of lights overhead. After reading that I finally understood my son’s behavior whenever we go shopping – the sensory overload may be just too overwhelming for him and that’s why he goes “wild”.

The parts about living with autism as an adult are quite fascinating too and point out how some things that most people overlook might be overwhelming to people with sensory differences – such as (but not only) the ticking of the clock at night, the singing birds in the morning, or the smell of people on public transportation. (Personally, the ticking of the clock at night used to drive me nuts so much I got a digital clock which doesn’t bother me, as long as I turn the clock so that the green numbers “shine” in another direction and not in my eyes.)

Check it out, I hope you’ll find this book interesting and learn something new as well.

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