Being in control of my Autism: Practical strategies

There are times when I feel like I’m not coping with my autism and I’m letting it control me. However, on reflection I am actually in more control of it then I give myself credit for. I wanted to share with you my lovely readers some of strategies I, as well as many, use to keep in control of my autism. To note I’m sure a lot of these strategies are not just helpful to autistics.

1. Have something in my pocket to fiddle/squeeze – this could be anything depending on what texture suits and what is convenient. I usually at work will have a scrunched up piece of paper. Sometimes it is a plain piece of paper or sometimes it has thoughts on it. Either way having something to squeeze helps me to not rely on physical stims as much, as working in a school you need to.
2. Purge my thoughts – I find that I have lots of different thoughts in my head at once and sometimes they become overwhelming. These thoughts tend to be more negative. So instead of keeping them in my head I write the down in continuous prose, whatever I think goes onto paper even if it’s something like ‘I need to stop writing now’ etc. It is so that every single word in my head leaves my brain and also my thoughts look more irrelevant on paper.
3. Subtle stimming – as I say (a lot) stimming is very important for my mental health. However, swinging my arms or flicking my wrists in front of students is not going to help when trying to gain their respect. So I find subtle ways to get out the excess energy. I wring my hands, clench my fists, wiggle my fingers/toes, etc.
4. Observe before acting – having a lack of social savvy/understanding means that in every situation I have to work harder than neurotypicals to react. So I watch, I watch everything, every single micro detail. I analyse, I stage and predict everything that could happen then and only then do I act. It saves a lot of drama maybe not only autistics need to do this.
5. Creating scripts – following on from observing in order to be able to observe and act I need scripts. Scripts are drawn from my previous interactions and stored in my mind so that when similar situations happen again I can use these scripts to be able to act in social situations. Though I personally find it hard to adapt these scripts to very different situations I can only use a script if there are minor changes.
6. Honesty is the best policy – I think there’d be some people who would disagree with this and say well no if it spares people’s feelings. I think though there is a difference between telling the truth and imposing the truth. So if I’m asked an outright question like ‘do you like my hair?’ If I don’t I’m not going to lie I’d just say ‘it’s not my style’ whereas if without the other person asking me I say ‘oh your hair is not really my style’ then that’s unacceptable. I always make it very clear to people that don’t ask me if you don’t want the truth.

Recently I’ve been feeling like I’m not doing a good job of controlling my autism and this listing has really helped me realise that actually I do pretty well for myself. I just need to stop being so hard on myself. I’m sure others might benefit the same. Love a good list!

Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. Peace out!

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