suzefricker@mylifeaccordingtome.org Available all the time, just send me an email and I will get back to you.

Autism & Routine

A routine to an autistic person is as important as insulin is to a diabetic. With out a routine we can feel lost and are more prone to meltdowns as we are unable to deal with change.

The thing is, each autistic person handles change at various levels so the routine that works for one may not work for all.

So tips I have picked up for myself are:

  1. Work out how much change you can handle before you plan your routine;
  2. If you can’t handle change on a big scale make sure your routine is not so strict that you can’t allow for unfortunate incidents;
  3. If your routine has to be flexible like mine does as I am a back up carer for my dad, make sure that you plan far enough in advance so that you can handle the upcoming change.
  4. Understand that something may happen beyond your control and that if you are struggling to deal with it, it’s fine. Seek help and someone to talk to.

These are some of the tricks that have helped me.

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Autism Cheat – Present buying

Am I the only one out there who gets flustered when you ask someone what they want for Christmas or their birthday and they say “surprise me” or “you know what I like”. I don’t do vagueness. Never have and never will. Now I know that that is part of my autism.

So a cheat that I have learned about is making a Wish List. But, it doesn’t stop there. You get everyone that you buy presents for to create a Wish List as well.

Take for instance Amazon. I have a Wish list set up there and I have set it so that any time someone buys something from it, it clears off. I have also asked my brother to do one, my mum to do one for her and dad, and I will be asking my sister to set some up for her, her husband and her kids. This way when it comes to shopping for Christmas I can peruse their wish list and get items that I know they will like.

This is a cheat around having to be frustrated with Neurotypical people who just don’t quite understand that the vagueness is not something we as autistic people can handle. It also means that I know when it comes to birthday and Christmas, I will get something that I actually want instead of something that I might not necessarily want or need.

For anyone who does not know how to set up an Amazon Wish List, let me know and I will skype you and talk you through it.

 

Moving out: – Advice to Autistics

So as most of you know on June 29 2019 I moved into my very first proper flat. I am living on my own for the very first time. This was a very tough decision for me but for my personal safety and my mental wellbeing I needed to not be with my parents full time.

As of September 29, I will have made it exactly 3 months semi on my own. I say semi on my own because I still have to work in London so I still stay with parents when I am there. However, I try to be in my second home more then I am in London. This varies week to week due to the needs of my mum and dad as I am still my dad’s secondary carer.

So some tips I can give you for moving into a new property as an Autistic person;

  1. Make a list of all the things that you need to do i.e. register council tax, change your benefit address, etc.
  2. For key things make sure you have them from the get-go (why not try buying them in advance so that when it comes to moving you already have it)
  3. Temporary furniture such as blow-up sofas are very handy
  4. Start working out your routine from day one. Which days are going to be your cleaning days, which days are going to be your chill days. If you have to travel for work which days are best for you. All these things work out nicely.
  5. If you are in receipt of disability benefits and your new place includes train travel apply for your Disabled person’s railcard. (money saver)
  6. If you work, take 2 weeks off as holiday so that you have the time to acclimatize to the area.
  7. Have back up plans in place in case you need them. Mine is that my mum is going to keep me on the tenancy so that I have a room should the shit hit the fan!.

Remember as autistic people we don’t do well with change, however, the more planning and preparation you put into it we can minimize the stress that comes with moving.

The Autistic Brain

Through talking to other autistic people I feel like I can say this with confidence. When you have to get something out you gotta get it out. I regularly find myself with songs stuck in my head and the only way to get it to stop is to sing it. It is important for me to get it out otherwise I get stressed out.

Before my diagnosis, my ex used to get frustrated with me because we would be having dinner and then I would just start singing something. Before my diagnosis, I did not understand why I did it, but now I do and when I need to get something out, I just gotta get it out. Sometimes it has to be a couple of times before it goes but it goes away eventually.

Just remember if you are autistic and you need to get it out just do it. Don’t be concerned about the people around you. It would be worse if you kept it in and that lead to a meltdown.

I have friends

I know this is something that people have issues with relationships, even more so when you are autistic.

I have struggled my entire life to understand what a real friendship is. Not just having friendships but keeping them. Since my autism diagnosis however, being able to accept my short falls, I can safely say I have friends. It is amazing for me to say this. I never really had a frame of reference so I had to discuss it with my support worker but I have friends.

This however brings on the fear of how do I make sure that I do not loose them?

I am just so happy I can say this out loud.

The Box

This is a random title I know but it is to explain something to you. Prior to 2018 and my diagnosis of Autism, I felt like I was in a box. I did not feel like I was able to express to people why I felt different or what I was struggling with. I felt like I was in a steel box that I could not get out of and it was very isolating.

Since my diagnosis, however, I feel like someone opened the lid to the box and set me free. This is because I have been able to be my true self.

The problem with being let out of the box is that no one wants you to be out. They want you neatly categorized because that is how they know who you are and what you are doing. This for me is something I can not let happen to me ever again. I was in that box for 31 years and I never held a steady job for a long period of time and moreover, I was struggling with my mental health. So when someone sends ignorance my way, I fight their views and their ignorance. The second that I stop fighting these ignorant people who refuse to accept difference as a positive they win and I will be back in the box. If I stop being open about my autism I put myself back in the box and I can not go back into that cold place. I just wont do it!

To help with Autism – Who else has it

So because it will be National Autism Awareness Week I wanted to share something I have been researching. This has come about because my workplace set up a picture gram of famous people in history with Autism… They used quite a lot of old people which, we could not conclusively say were autistic. So, I decided to do my own research into this.

The first person I have found which was a shock to me is Anthony Hopkins (the original Hanibal Lecter). He was diagnosed with Aspergers because his “wife was trying to figure out who she was married to”. He has credited this to why he was usually restless which has also made him an extremely hard worker. This is his Autistic Super Power.

Courtney Love is another one. She was one of the lucky ones to be diagnosed as a child as “mildly autistic”. Her autistic superpower was that she was “unusually intelligent” even if she was socially awkward.

Kim Peek who was the inspiration for the movie rain man was absolutely a fantastic person. He could recall the content of up to 12,000 books. This was his superpower even if his motor skills were lower then everyone else.

Daryl Hannah an amazing actress who was in the Kill Bill movie and The Splash was diagnosed with Aspergers as a child. She is very shy and whilst she does stay away from Hollywood no one can deny her acting abilities.

Matt Savage who is a musical Savant (I do not know what Savant is) is also known as being autistic. This guy has toured the world and is successful. His superpower is clearly his music.

Caiseal Mór is also autistic. This guy also is a best selling novelist.

Jonathan Jayne is an autistic special olympian. Though his story does not have quite a greatness as he was cruelly mocked when he went onto American Idol. However, the plus side is that he is an Olympian!

James Hobley is an autistic dancer. He was also a finalist on Britain got talent.

Susan Boyle who most British people know won Britains Got Talent back in 2009. She was diagnosed with autism.

As you can see there are a lot of modern day people who are on the Autistic Spectrum which also makes them Neuro Diverse. They have lived amazing lives and they have done what they love. You can too. It is not something that you should be afraid of. Your autism makes you special, it makes you someone who thinks differently to the rest of the world which gives you something to be proud of.

I personally am proud to be autistic. I know I am different from everyone around me and when I got my diagnosis I was honestly relieved because I am now able to think about what makes me who I am as a positive. Everyone on the spectrum has things both positive and negative that makes them special. We have to accept the negatives so that we can thrive on the positive.