the science behind spinning

Before Joel was diagnosed with Autism, we were often mystified by his behavior.  Why was he spinning all the time?  Why was he flapping his hands?  Why was he walking on his toes?  None of it really made much sense.  Of course, some of it was explainable.  Kids like to spin and move around a lot.  When I was a child, I liked to spin and cavort.  Granted, I had a threshold where I would become dizzy and fall down.  Joel, on the other hand, can spin and spin and it seems as though he never finds that threshold.

Now we know why Joel spins and flaps his hands and walks on his toes.  When he does these particular activities, his brain receives a level of stimuation required to keep him comfortable so that he can better focus on, and relate to, the environment around him.  We know this through scientific investigation, testing and research.  Here in our household we strongly support the scientific method to explain all of life’s mysteries.  It is a simple, yet sophisticated system that has given humankind the combustible engine, telephones, space travel and the discovery of the Higgs Boson.

Having said that, I do also have a love for whimsical notions.  I found this as a meme on Facebook last night while I was wasting time and it made me think of Joel and how he spins:

There are some days when it is fun to believe that maybe, just maybe, Joel is really on a mission to travel through time.  It’s really not all that hard to believe.  After all, there is speculation that Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton had Autism.  Take that information and add it to what Solodialogue posted recently on her blog about a possible connection between Autism and Evolution, and it really isn’t so hard to believe the amazing things people with Autism are, or could be, capable of.

Joel is limited every day by his own disability or by us in that we stop him from doing many things that he enjoys that are extremely dangerous.  Because of that, I don’t want to place limits on his potential or make grand statements like “He’ll never be able to do this or enjoy that.”  The boy is only five years old.  We have no idea just what he will be able to do in five more years, or ten or twenty.

(BTW, this meme is from a comic called xkcd which is now one of my new favorite things.)