Updated: Jan 16
Was Goldilocks a naughty girl or just misunderstood? Goldilocks was very fussy! She wandered off, her parents didn't know where she was, she had no personal boundaries for other people's stuff, ate their food, broke things that were special to other people and would only eat food at a particular temperature, sit on a chair that felt 'just right' and slept in a bed that felt 'just right'. Was she autistic? Here's why I would say yes.
1. She wandered off without her parents
One of the most distressing things about some kids with autism (ASD) is that they escape and run away without their parent's knowledge. This is one of the most dangerous behaviours for children with ASD. They are at great risk. Parents lock everything, they still escape, so parents may take shifts, if they're still together, and someone will be awake all night, to keep them safe.
2. She was playing alone
Maybe she was looking for somewhere quiet to be alone.
3. She had no social boundaries
Goldilocks had no sense of social boundaries. She was in someone else's house, eating their food, sitting in their chairs and sleeping in their beds. Worse still, she had no sense of danger. She was in the house of 3 bears!!!!
4. She did not recognise risky or dangerous situations
Not having intuition about danger can be a risk factor for children and adults with ASD. They do not always notice the social cues that indicate danger may be present. So many women I have shared assessments with have told me of being assaulted, raped or robbed because they were naïve to the dangerous situations they were in.
5. She had very specific sensory needs for her food
Did Goldilocks have ARFID? Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is defined by the DSM-5 as an eating or feeding disorder characterised by a persistent and disturbed pattern of feeding or eating that leads to a failure to meet nutritional/energy needs. Often autistic people have very specific reactions to food. It might be the smell, appearance, texture, temperature or any other thing about the food that impacts on their sensory sensitivities. Goldilocks had to get the porridge that was 'just right' or she couldn't eat it. If she only ate porridge a certain way, we would guess she did have restricted eating.
6. She had very specific sensory needs for where she sat and how she slept
Goldilocks was very sensory sensitive! She only wanted to sit a certain chair that felt 'just right' and sleep in a bed that felt 'just right'. I imagine baby bear's chair and bed were lovely and soft. Folklore has labelled her as 'fussy' in a negative way. Being fussy has been a label used to shame autistic people. But what if they had particular sensory needs that were going unmet like Goldilocks? I say need deliberately. Goldilocks could not compromise, and neither can people with sensory sensitivities. It is not always their choice to need things a certain way. It may be a compulsion that is unstoppable - much to everyone else's annoyance often.
7. Others were not happy with her
When the bears came home they were all angry with her. She had intruded into their private space, eaten their food, broken stuff and fallen asleep and got caught! Have you ever been anywhere that by the time you left, the other kids were crying and the parents were mad? I know I have.
I do a lot of autism and ADHD assessments, many with women and girls. When they describe aspects of growing up, there is often shame about having been labelled 'fussy', 'precise', 'picky' or rigid as a few examples. The family will remember how they could not compromise, made them late for events or took for ever to cut a cake or pour a drink to make sure every serve was exactly the same. There may be eyerolling from friends, family and strangers, showing contempt and ignorance. It can be very painful being misunderstood and judged.
Goldilocks was not a naughty, fussy girl. Instead, she may have been a sensory sensitive autistic girl who was misunderstood, labelled wrongly, chastised and made out to be a villain. This can happen to autistic children and adults too. I encourage you not to settle and accept negative words spoken over you or to you. It's OK to be a Goldilocks. Let go of the shame and embrace your inner Goldilocks with confidence.
Feel free to get in touch for an ASD and/or ADHD or sensory assessment. You can find out more about assessments here.