I watched the first episode of The Autistic Gardener this evening. I wasn't sure about the sound of it - I was worried it would be just another entertainment programme misrepresenting vulnerable people. But I watched it, and as all of the team had high-functioning autism, it did seem to be their story and edited sensitively. There was a lovely, warm sense of humour running throughout it, and some very tender moments.
It reminded me that I took some photos with my sister (who has low-functioning autism) just over a week ago that I wanted to share here.
We made another trip to Nymans, and there was a sensory treat in store for my sister. She has paid a couple of brief visits to the beautiful National Trust gardens, just sitting in the meadow or walking up the path and looking at the narcissi and crocuses - the staff are great at suggesting what is quick to see and not too far to walk to.
At the end of last month, when it was very warm but not horrendously hot, we paid another visit on the way to Brighton. We walked through the centre of the meadow and I ran my hand along the grasses, and she copied me. She took my photograph, but decided I look better with most of myself cropped out!
Nymans has left boxes around the place with activities for children and families. I demonstrated a skipping rope, very badly, but she didn't fancy skipping. I tried to get her to play giant noughts and crosses, and she sort of joined in.
We saw all sorts of colour emerging in the gardens.
Does anyone know what this is?
We sat down in the rose garden, and for the first time she really sniffed when I asked her to smell the roses. The heat meant the scent was even stronger. So although we didn't manage to see the bluebells or the wisteria this year, sitting in the rose garden surrounded by the most wonderful fragrance was a pretty cool achievement. She seemed happy.