Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Autism and Attachment


I have worked with attachment disordered kids with autism and those who are not. Sometimes its a matter of the level of sensory perceptual chaos they live with, sometimes its about growing up treated more as a case/condition than a person, SOMETIMES its about being in an intensive program your particular personality PERCEIVES as repeatedly invasive, abusive, traumatizing even if an achievement driven (such as those with OCPD), pleaser types (those with AvPD) might thrive in exactly the same program. Of course if we acknowledge any of this we’d have to lose the idea of one-size-fits-all approaches. That could put half of the psychology graduates recruited into the ABA industry out of work.

Lorri McCallum
LOL! I think that applies to the teaching profession too! We all need to realise that every class has as many “levels” as it has members…and teach accordingly!!! I actually think that long term it is the easier option, even if it looks “too hard” in the beginning!

Christianne Palmer
Ah yes. I have seen ABA work very well and I have seen it not work and I have seen it be really quite damaging. And that’s just in my own son! (different times). Actually the hardest thing of all was saying ‘this is damaging him’ and stopping because I felt as if I had to stand alone. In reality I didn’t – I have met quite a few families who have made the same decision but at the time it felt as if we were the only ones. anyway a few years later life is good. I take him surfing and camping instead πŸ™‚

Alyson Bradley AsPlanet
I love this line “sometimes its about growing up treated more as a case/condition than a person”. We are not numbers but real people, scary πŸ™‚ My take as an AS adult, we attach to like minded, as a child with parents like most daughters I was more attached to my dad. I have found autism and other children focus on others things when not coping, stressed, I know I do and have seen other autistic children do the same, while at the time the object may seem more important to them, I am sure the person is. Maybe we attach ourselves to those that do not try and get us to conform to what may never work for us as individuals. πŸ™‚

Kristina Mendelis
question. in your experience did majority of ASD attach to just mother, just father or did they equaly attach to both. there was a research of ‘bulldog children’, these were second world war orphans. yet they were not ASD, these children did not attach to adults, they formed a pack and attached only to each other. what is your take on this?

Donna Williams
Hi Kristina, my take is that many faceblind kids with autism and those with Simultagnosia (who have visual perceptual fragmentation) attach not to their carers but a favorite object. It is commonly a rug with patterns, a light, some will attach to a piece of colored plastic. I attached to the patterned wallpaper, the light bulb, a comb, a green plastic ball, then to the mirror reflection. All were important and helpful, especially mirrors. I meet other kids attached to no humans or objects and my job is at least to first build some attachment to objects as an eventual bridge to humans. You may find this link about attachment interesting.

Flora Foster
Matt bonded with his blanket. Ryan bonded with toy cars.

Marie Richardson
Faceblindness explains a lot about me. I’ve never been a bond-er with people very well.

Valerie Bray-Arias
Me. πŸ™‚ all three of them did. Probably because I never put them down. My mother-in-law was always harping on me that my babies would be arm spoilt. But it worked out for the best. They are all very loving and amazing. And I really feel that holding them all the time was very beneficial.

Marie Richardson
Valerie, that’s actually how I was able to bond with my own kids. Well, that and formula-feeding.

Donna Williams
Hi Valerie, for kids with Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) they fear independence as it means in their minds that the carer will get a life/identity which they equate with abandonment. The problem is when they are around 3, 5, 7 they are still trying to be 6 mths old and this is commonly confused with their ‘autism’. The mother is by then exhausted, confused. She knows the clinging is control but is afraid to dare set boundaries or protect her own. As she becomes a tool and loses her own social connections, identity, she then feels entrapped and caught between guilt, fear of external judgment, frustration, despair, sometimes martyrdom… all an overwhelming mix. As she pandered to DPD the DPD gets even more entrenched, especially as the child gets older. Ultimately any relationship she has with a partner or friends generally breaks down as the child with DPD tolerates no threat at all to their control over their carer, so essentially tries to engulf the parent and ensure they can’t speak to others, interact with them etc…. nothing that will risk their complete monopoly over them. DPD is a hungry beast, and involves attachment disorder, but because it is SOOOO clingy, most people don’t realise that the personality disorder of DPD involves a form of attachment disorder.

Sarah Justice
He has never had a bond with an object though had a major OBSESSION with trains. My son has currently made a bond with a deaf horse. Even though he knows she cant hear him he will stand in front of her stall til he can get her attention.

Marita Beard
Her blankie.

Marie Davis
I bonded with my blankie. I didn’t care if my parents left me anywhere.

Susan Mann
I bonded with nothing. Well, may be the wallpaper.

Rukmiati Stylianopoulos
Our son first attached to my breast, then my hair, and finally me as his mother. His Dad used to feel sad at their lack of a relationship but now that our son’s a teenager he has developed a close bond with his Dad and also older brother.

CarolAnn Edscorn
I fell in love with sparkies in window light. And sparkles in water.

Gabrielle Hogg
i first bonded with a soft toy that my nanna made me, it was a monkey and i had to take it with me wherever i went for the first 8 yrs of my life!

Reswobian Dreaming
I hate the One-size-fits-all thing. Going through school I met so many teachers that just want to do that because it makes their lives easier. It is pretty hard to get recognised as an individual. Another thing I remember at school is that early in my childhood I did not want to do the physical education routines or the join in dances. Besides the fact that I moved in a strange way which was the cause of a lot of bullying but when I was moving as the teachers told me to do I felt like it was not me. This person was telling me to make movements that were not part of being me. I felt humiliated. I’ve been told that I’m pretty high functioning in regards to Asperger’s Disorder. I remember being more attached to my Dad when I was very little because Mum was the one who gave out most of the punishment and was forcing me into hugs. I was scared of her. It was only when I reached puberty that I could relate better to my Mum on an intellectual and emotional level, that I could have a deeper level of sympathy for her. After she died I found out how much of a selfish person my Dad is and my relationship with him has become non-existent.

Sondra Williams
trees, rocks, sky

Devlyn Rhys Young
rocks, sparklies, tiny things (like from cracker jacks, gumball machines)

Christianne Palmer
Me. But he has always had a thing about straight lines – when he was little it was things like stairs. Now it is shutters – he adores shutters.

Ray Ray Taylor
I use to bond with paper, tons of it, all over my room. I now have a stuffed hippo I take everywhere.

Tanya Longbottom
Daughter – could not go anywhere without her little pink ribbon day teddy. She too was and still is fascinated with light sparkles. Also seeing her reflection in anything. Oh loves water! My son didnt really form a bond with anything in particular until he got older. Is very into cars, computers, anything he can make go – very mechanical.

Eil Vocal
A white bear with a great big face! Known as Snowy Bear, he is now a dirty gray.

Utami Purbasari
My autistic kid bonded with a plastic bottle

Isabelle Monod
first bonded with the trees as a baby, ( staying in Australia ), then back in France bounded with the ceiling lights, and then plastic water bottles, keys especially car keys, anything made out of rubber ( my cats have the same addiction ).

Kerrie Jane Berroyer
his little pale blue cat from a baby, still kisses it with so much love to this day…in fact he loves all soft things blankets, teddies those with big eyes and noses too…….as long as they feel great

Paul Isaacs
Well the first object I connected with was toilets. I had to flush them and watch the water go down the pan. I used to do this if I went around someones house or if we went out shopping.

Ruth Elaine Hane
I bonded with sunlight shining through lace curtains. Later shiny objects, coins, gum wrappers, rhinestones, dust motes that looked like sparkling stars. I stimmed on flushing toilets, turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors and listening to the sound of the latch and squeak of the hinges, also ringing other people’s door chimes. I liked to open and close drawers and look into snow globes, for hours.

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.


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