One of the features of autism is an inability to manage sudden change. An example of this something as simple, and as complicated, as a person heads into work and instead of doing a lesson on one subject they are old to do something else. The autistic person may not be able to manage this change in their plans. They would have spent a long time mentally preparing their entire day. What they may need to say to whom and when. How to react if the day goes well and how to manage it going south. As a result of things that are out of their control changing, this means that the mental preparation they have gone through is worthless and the autistic person feels unprepared. They must react spontaneously and in a different social manner that they had planned. If a person spends their time Masking their autism, then they may not know what mask to wear.
As with everything this doesn’t affect me in this manner. Because, of course, it does not. For me, this worry about change revolves around food. I can be spontaneous at work – it is a pretty essential element of teaching after all. A good example of this happened today. Before work I nipped into a nearby supermarket. I wanted the meal deal and when I buy it, I buy the same thing every time. Same drink, same flavour crisps and a choice of probably two sandwiches. I get this because I know that I like them, I know that they will almost always be there, and it stops me from buying something and not liking it. Not that not liking something would be the end of the world but it would feel pretty close. So, I go to the meal deal section. It has a range of sandwiches. I grab the sandwich I want; I settle on the drink and then head to the crisps. They don’t have the ones I like. I don’t panic and it doesn’t ruin my day, but it does send a wave of uncertainty through me. I settle with a flavour and buy it. I don’t eat them, they remain in my bag. I noticed that I was feeling this way and messaged my wife. I asked about my worry, “do you think it is because I am aware of it (that has caused my worry) or is being aware of it causing my slight worry?” I send the most romantic messages. As an aside, she completed a Master’s Degree in Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health. I rang to order her a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to our house. Where we live. The lady on the phone asked if I would like a message on the little card. This is a question I had not anticipated and as a result I panicked. I scrambled for the right words. Words that would sum up how proud I was, and still am, of her. How amazed I was at the hard work she had put in. How much of an achievement a Master’s Degree actually is. I searched and I searched. The words came to me. Four words to sum up a proud moment for the love of my life. Four simple words:
“Congratulations on your degree.”
I am also not spontaneous at home either. I very rarely say, “let’s go out” or “let’s do this” as I genuinely do not know what to do. And I generally don’t want to do anything. This is a reason why these posts are relatively infrequent – I do not know what aspects of my life I want to write about.
And this is where I ask a favour of those that read this. Please can you leave a comment and tell me what you would like me to cover? Is there an area of autism or autistic behaviour you want to know about – remember I am not an expert and only really talk from my own experience and reading. Do you know someone who is autistic and you have questions? Anything that is within my understanding I will try and answer. Plus as well it will do stuff to algorithms that I do not pretend to understand.