I have been hesitating to write about Peter’s “phobia” about the weather because we are still in the middle of it. I like a nice neat story with an ending line and the end of this story has yet to be written. At the same time, I find myself wondering whether others have an idea all of us in my network of friends and experts have missed.
The more I talk with others, the more I discover how many with autistic spectrum disorders fear storms. I can only imagine. Storms assault the senses and they are anything but predictable. That is a lethal combination when it comes to people on the spectrum. They often have heightened senses and like things to remain predictable and orderly.
Thunderstorms have always scared Peter. I watch as his eyes begin to dart around and he slaps his hands over his ears to block out the sound. Sometimes he hears the thunder long before the rest of us do. Lately he has taken to pacing around my house as he worries about the weather. The trouble is now that the worry comes long before the storm. Pretty fluffy white clouds concern him. Peter wants a pure blue sky and that rarely happens.
I had hoped I could help Peter through this one, but nothing seemed to be working. For him, information is usually helpful. My husband Bill is an earth science teacher and has taught meteorology, so I thought a couple of weather lessons would do the trick. Instead, Peter is now obsessed with checking the radar, the hourly forecast and more, but none of that information is calming him.
We had Peter at the pediatrician for another issue and checked on this at the same time. He agreed that our next step should be a behaviorist. I have tapped my network and have a name. Now to get an appointment and get Peter there. The only thing Peter may dislike more than storms is doctors.