It can be really difficult and frustrating to live with someone who really needs to do things their way and in their own timing. We ask ourselves why can't they be more co-operative? Why are they so obsessive and controlling?
A person whose sensory processing is challenged may find the world jumbled and disordered. Sounds, light or touch can be overwhelming. Their movement may be unpredictable and uncoordinated. As Naoki Higashida writes, "I might not know what my arms and legs are up to or how to make them do what I'm telling them to do". They might want to say something but the words don't come. They go and go and night comes but sleep doesn't.
Their brain and body do not fully co-operate and their world can be experienced as chaotic, unpredictable and difficult to control. In such a situation it is natural to try to create order and exert control in any ways they can. It can be soothing or simply a matter of making life bearable.
Sometimes just understanding the source of their inflexibility eases conflict and helps us to see a way through. It isn't easy and demands huge reserves of patience and detective work, to manage our frustration and help them to manage theirs. Here's Naoki Higashida again, writing about trying to stop his compulsive behaviours: "maintaining this grip on myself is really, really, really tough. It's at these times that we need your help with patience, guidance and love. Of course we want you to stop us doing what we're not supposed to do, but we also want you to understand what we're going through at these times."
Naoki Higashida wrote 'The Reason I Jump' when he was 13. It was translated into English last year by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell.