Gaining Understanding of My Differently Wired Daughter

Have you ever wondered what it’s like in someone else’s brain or looking through someone else’s eyes?  I think about this more often than I’d like to, really, because it is one of those unanswerable questions that my intellectually intense mind likes to ponder every so often.  There’s no way of knowing what it is truly like to see the world through someone else’s perspective.  Maybe when you and I both look at a color and call it green, maybe I’m seeing your “red” and your seeing my “orange”, but we’ve both learned to call it “green” and so there we are.  We have no way of checking.

This becomes even more complicated when you talk about kids who we know see the world differently than we do.  My daughter has tried to explain how her brain works, but she can’t really know how it works differently or similarly because it’s simply what she knows. 

A clear example of this was when we were reading the book, “The Girl Who Thought in Pictures:  The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin.”  I read the title to her, and my daughter said, “I don’t get it.  What does that mean she thought in pictures?”  I did my best to explain it, the difference between seeing pictures in your mind or hearing thoughts, but she still couldn’t quite understand.  Until, we got into the story further and she said, very non-chalantly, “Oh.  I think like that.  I see pictures, too.”  So, it wasn’t that my daughter couldn’t envision what thinking in pictures would be like, it was that she didn’t understand how that was different from anyone else.  To her, it was simply the way people thought.

There were several times throughout reading the story of Temple Grandin that my daughter excitedly said, “That’s like me” or “I do that” or “She’s a lot like I am.”  I honestly cannot think of another story that my daughter and I have read together that has elicited these same words from her.  In fact, my eyes puddled up a few times as I saw the light of recognition on her beautiful little face and as I grew to understand her inner experience better.

As I do with all children’s books I’m reviewing, I asked my daughter what she thought when we were done reading it.  “I really liked it mom.  I connected with it because she and I are so much alike.”  Cue the puddled mama eyes again.

I have spent hours and hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to understand my daughter.  I have read textbooks, attended continuing ed seminars, led her through testing, listened to podcasts, read articles, talked to my daughter, talked to my daughter’s therapists, all in an effort to understand her and support her better.  All in an effort to help her understand herself better, really.  Finding a children’s book that immediately sums up my daughter’s inner world and helps her feel less different . . . priceless.

If you've read anything from me or listened to our podcast, hopefully you already realize that I only say things I believe to be true.  This is the case with all my reviews, as well.  Innovation Press did provide me with a copy of this book, but all thoughts, words, and experiences with it are entirely, and honestly, my own.