There is a common misconception that children on the spectrum don't understand and share the same emotions as those that are said to be nuerotypical. While just about every parent with a autistic child could probably agree, that this simply isn't true.
We can all thank the popular movie Rain Man for this misconception. Although a fantastic movie and shined a spotlight on an autistic savant, it created the very image of Autism that most people think of today. I'd be lying if that wasn't the first thing that came to mind when we received your diagnosis my dear. Oh how we've learned so much since then!
You've got a whole bunch of emotions, and you're certainly not afraid to show them! But this doesn't mean that it's the same across the spectrum either.
A common phrase amongst the autism community is - When you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism. I find truth to this.
While you have all the same emotions as your siblings for example, identifying them has been a learning process.
I can remember your first music therapy lesson and we are coming off a down right horrible week. Your language all of just disapated and your irritability/frustration level was at an all time high! Shortly into your session your mood began to change. You were notably "happy" and proclaimed "I smile! I smile!" Your association with "happy" was smiling, and that you did.
You've even taken it a step further and have a pretty good understanding of empathy. Yet another misconception of autistic children.
If someone has fallen or hit something you'll be the first to say "Are you alright? Are you ok?!" Something we say to you, and you have learned to understand it's appropriateness.
If there's a sound that is making your skin crawl, you will flip your lip and say "I sad" and the crocodile tears start to roll. We call this your sAddie face. It's actually quite heartbreaking and nobody likes when you become sAddie :(
So while emotions aren't the easiest thing to learn and navigate, I know that if you're happy and you know you might just yell "I smile!" Instead of clapping your hands...and that's OK.
Keep it up Ad! You're doing a great job!
Love you baby girl!