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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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.

My Autism

A lot of people say to me when I tell them that I am autistic is “you don’t look like someone with autism”.  I have given up explaining to them that not all autistics look the same. So here is the down low on my Autism. Because I was diagnosed later in like I have learned to deal with some situations or hide certain things so here is how my Autism affects me.

I find it very hard to talk to people in a meaningful way. I either get very quiet or over talkative. When I get over talkative I can be too open and end up talking about things that you should not really discuss in a normal conversation.

I can be too open and I have to check with people as to whether or not things should be discussed. For me logically, if you tell someone something it is hand in hand that you tell them why. An example (Prior to diagnosis) I was asked by work colleagues if I wanted another drink and when I said no and they pushed I told them all of the details why. I was told later that this was something I should not have done and I didn’t understand why I was being told not to talk about it.

I also take things very literally. If you ask me a question you must give me a full question. When I had to appeal my disability benefits the judge asked me “What would you do if you needed to go out for milk?” I answered the question as “I wouldn’t”. When the judge asked me why I told her, “I don’t drink milk”.  If the judge had asked me what would I do if I needed to go out and get something from the shop, then the question would have been answered in a different way

I find it very easy to get lost and when things are changed or I am in an unfamiliar territory then I get very overwhelmed and get on the verge of meltdown mode.

If my routine is changed without my knowledge beforehand I get very upset. For instance, Friday night is Pizza night. If no one tells me at least 24 hours prior that they are going to change the routine then I find it very difficult to get my head around it. I can once again head to meltdown mode. My routine is sacred to me.

I hate change. I accept that there are times especially in work that change happens however when there is not enough communication around it then I am very stressed and at the same time I can fall into a meltdown mode. Even when someone who changes something in my room, then I get very anxious around it and then I have to have it moved back the way it was. If I move something its fine but when someone else does it I have major issues.

I have issues with food. There are certain foods that I can’t deal with because I am struggling with the texture. Brown bread is one for me. I can’t do it and therefore I do not eat it. The same is with white bread with bits in it, I can’t deal with it. I have lots of issues with meat so even as a child I had to go to vegetarianism because I could not deal with it. Along with that, I had a problem with the fact that I could tell when someone changed brands in my house. If you went from Birdseye to another brand I could tell the difference and wouldn’t eat what was in front of me. This is yet another reason why I became a vegetarian. It would be easier for me to be a vegetarian and have fewer restrictions on what I eat.

Smell is something that is a problem for me. I can tell when people change their perfume or deodorants and get really affected by some smells especially when there is too much. I get honestly sick.

The sound is something that I have issues with. When I am at work I have to block my ears when we have a fire drill because the noise is so loud. I have always had sensitive hearing. I can hear when the tv is too loud from the other end of the flat and I can also hear both sides of the telephone call.

These are all the things that affect me.

Anyways from this, you can tell just because we are diagnosed the same, we do not look the same. When you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism, don’t assume we are all the same.