Memo's from Sophia Nicholls, Executive Secretary of ASNA.


Two Lessons from the snow

Watching my husband get ready for work this morning, reminded me of an iceberg! An iceberg you say..yes. I was thinking..if only they knew what was below the height of the laptop! I am sure a number of you can relate to that! He takes pride in his appearance and I love this about him. The pandemic has saved us a ton of money on dry cleaning bills and I know you can relate to that too!

What has this to do with the snow? Snow reminds me of icebergs! Looking out of my window and watching the snow, I thought about icebergs and how the pandemic has caused us to spend so much time in front of a device that only shows what WE want others to see. The danger with this is we are missing out on the beautiful relationships we could be forming when we come together in community. The Laptop / Phone / what ever device we use, allows us to curate the image and personality we want others to see. Deep below the tip of the iceberg, there are old jogging bottoms, shorts and in some cases pyjama bottoms (forgive me if I am making this up?)

Dwight Bain in his blog article Iceberg Personality - The secret reason people do what they do says it like this ' 90% of an iceberg is under the water, leaving only a tiny amount exposed above the surface. Like an iceberg, a large portion of personality is hidden from view. Most of who we really are is covered up and tightly protected from ever being seen by others.

I'd encourage you to read the whole article, it is brilliant and speaks to the hidden parts of the iceberg and the importance of working on these elements for healthy relationships with your self and others.

Lesson one: Work on the pyjamas!

The snow also reminds me of Matthew, my first son and the inspiration behind ASNA . As a young child, he would often find it very difficult to touch new things and had an aversion to new textures. We could not understand this until he was assessed for a sensory processing disorder which brought us so much light to his behaviour. He was diagnosed to be tactile defensive or hypersensitivity to touch. This was demonstrated in a number of ways including

  • a low pain threshold

  • appearing clumsy

  • fleeing without regard to safety

  • covering eyes or ears frequently

  • picky food preferences

One morning , we took him out into the snow and having introduced this new element to him, after some time he began to love the snow. The snow became a place he loved to be especially with his brother. He still has some of these behaviours but understanding them helped us to work with him enabling him to expand his experiences and joy for life.

Lesson 2: Expand your experiences, try new things!

This week, 8 - 14 February, is Sign2singweek . Why not try something new this week. Maybe learn to spell your name using British Sign Language or learn a new song using signs. I used to work for a wonderful charity that uses music to unlock the potential of people with learning disabilities. This charity changed our life! Music is a significant part of Matthew's life and the tools and techniques of this charity enabled us to enter Matthew's world using music and signs. Check them out here Soundabout .

So this week, work on your pyjamas and learn something new. You will be amazed at what you can do!

Happy Sing2sign week!

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