Some people think that autism routines are just about what time they do things and in which order. However what don’t understand is the routines an autistic has is not limited to that. Autistics have routines that dictate everything from the way they do things, to socialising, etc. An autistic’s life is made up of series of routines within routines that help the individual function now here’s the distinction because I know some NT people might think well we all do all these what makes it different. For autistics it’s the essential need for these routines within routines so that we can function.
How I like to explain it is that I see the world in patterns. The world is just one big gigantic pattern. Everything has a pattern and every pattern is necessary. Let me divulge further before you loose interest/understanding. The way I eat my food requires a distinct pattern. This goes beyond routine of just when I eat I’m talking about how I eat. So if I have a digestive biscuit for example I HAVE to eat that in two bites. I can’t eat it any other way. So I will bite right down the middle; chew, swallow (don’t need to tell you guys how to eat). Then have the next bite. If I find a digestive that is broken I will try and avoid it and choose another because if it is broken I won’t be able to achieve the same pattern of eating. I don’t know why but it’s true. A different example of how I eat in an obsessive pattern is that I need to have even numbers on a plate so for example I might have six nuggets, never five or seven or anything odd, and I’ll have 2 McDonalds hash browns. Now I have a systematic way of eating this. I will eat half a nugget then cut a section of hash brown I will eat it in this order until all the food is finished. It is like I need to give equal time to the two different food products. First thing I do when I look at a meal is think how am I going to eat this. That is the difference. I look for the pattern in which I can eat the food. People don’t know I’m doing this because I do it quickly in my head so on the outside no one sees the cogs moving in my head trying to make sense of what’s in front of me.
It’s not just food where I find a pattern is essential I look for the patterns in people too. I will observe watch and study before I interact with anyone, where possible. I will find out what they like, don’t like, what they find funny or sad just by watching how they interact with others. Then when I think I’ve got their pattern of behaviour sussed I will approach them. So there’s a person at work who I’m not friends with or anything but they are a colleague and they are nice enough. Now in my head I have stock conversations I will have in my head with her. So we can talk about how work is, what we are doing over the weekend and sometimes I’ll enlighten her about autism. Now I know again this sounds like something that everyone does but there is a pattern. It feels like when I talk to her I have the same conversations each time. And there are something things that’d I’d never do like make jokes, a lot of my humour is crass and jokingly insulting which would never work. Again I know that everyone does this autistic or not but I can’t explain it but I’m not in the conversation I’m outside the conversation looking in so everything I say is from a more objective way rather than reacting in the middle. Let me try and give a clearer example. A lot of my conversations are very robotic. I’ve been told. I will respond very quickly to certain things because I’ve learnt that’s how you respond. So for example when I was younger and my parents used to ask me how my day was everyday like it was a pattern that I needed to do I would say day-like. Now this isn’t just like when you respond to how are you with I’m fine. This was everyday for over a decade. I couldn’t change it even if I wanted to. I couldn’t physically bring myself to say anything else. It had become so engrained in my brain I literally could only say that. That’s the difference I couldn’t say anything else not that I didn’t want to.
I’m sure I could think of many more ways patterns dictate my life but I think I’ve made my point, though my lovely readers you’ll be the judge of that. Patterns are beautiful to me. They can be obvious or hidden. They are essential to my living because I understand them. There’s a lot in the world I do not understand. I need my love of even numbers because odd numbers don’t make sense. They are called odd take the hint. I think most NTs can deal with the abstract and almost revel in it. As for me the abstract is nothing but a broken pattern. My life without patterns would be unimaginable. So when you think that an autistic is limited by the patterns they have, just think an autistic would be a lot more limited in what they can do without their patterns.
Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. Peace out!