Friday, August 24, 2012AUTISTIFYING MY HABITAT!!At Autreat I learned that my anxiety & my difficulties with doing things that need done (hereafter referred to as “adulting”) are not things that I have to just live with. Internalized ableism says I just need to try harder, & the attitude of “you’re an adult & should act like one” says that too, but let’s face it: I am an adult, and that does not mean “I magically have everything together without reminders,” it means “you aren’t the boss of me! I can eat ice cream for dinner! I do what I want!”In keeping with the second, realistic definition of being an adult, I set out to make my apartment and my life accessible to me. I’ve tried systems like google calendar, and a paper and pencil planner before that, and these just aren’t things that work for me-there’s too many steps, what with having to remember to put things in there and then having to check it later. If I cannot see it at all times, it does not exist. If it requires me to be able to access a pen or other extra pieces to use it at all, it will not get used because I can’t always find a pen. Using what I know about what I need help doing and how my brain works, I set up a set of visual supports. See them below the cut.I came home from Autreat singing the praises of the interaction badges. Wearing an interaction badge at home doesn’t exactly work, though-it’s not like my roommate can see it if I am wearing it and holed up in my room because I don’t want to interact! This is my solution: Each column stands for a method of communication-the one on the left is “any”, the one in the middle is “text only” and where my initial pretty much lives, and the one on the right is the never-used “verbal only” as requested by my roommate. The green squares mean “talk to me about anything, I am open to socialization”. The yellow ones mean “only talk to me if it is important; if it can wait then don’t”, and red means “unless you are bleeding out or on fire, leave me alone for now”. It’s much better and less stressful to keep unwanted interactions from happening then to find a tactful way of saying “I don’t want to talk to you right now” after someone has tried to start a conversation.As far as leaving the house goes, my big major issue is getting out the door and thinking I forgot something-or getting on the bus and realizing I actually forgot something. For transit users this is much more of a problem than people who drive, since our ability to get from point A to point B is dependent on someone else’s schedule. I’ve always been a compulsive checker, but since I can’t consistently hold a list of all the things I need in my head I still frequently forget things, and the very thought of forgetting something essential has brought on legitimate panic attacks.Solution? Making a checklist! I have one posted by my bedroom door and one posted by my front door: It has all the things that I absolutely need every time I leave the house. I might forget something that I need for a particular instance using this system, but posting the things I always need frees up some working memory for the one-time items. Since I check for my phone and bus pass at each door now, I do not feel the need to check 6 times on the (1 block) walk to the bus stop. Very low chance of forgetting things = very much reduced anxiety, and consistently remembering my ipod = very much reduced sensory overload on the way from point A to point B.Now, part of Adulting is keeping an abode in a condition other than “all the natural disasters in the US auditioned here”. This means, unfortunately, that I have to do chores on a regular basis-sweeping, mopping, cleaning the sinks, et cetera. One of the reasons I struggle with this is that I have time agnosia (which is what it sounds like. I don’t grok time. I can tell you how long an hour is, or a week, but that doesn’t mean I really understand what that means) and therefore I don’t really get how long ago something was done & if that was too long ago or not. Another reason is that “stuff needs cleaned” is abstract and giant and daunting. So, I made this chart. The column on the left is things that have been done this week, and the column on the right is things that have not yet been done. I arbitrarily chose a week because “move stuff back to the right on Sunday” is something I can do, and doing each thing once a week is pretty reasonable. Instead of “clean the kitchen” or “clean the bathroom”, each task that is part of cleaning an area gets its own little card. I might not have the spoons to clean the bathroom, but I can probably manage to clean the toilet, for example. At this point in time we have not elected to assign chores, though if it became a problem with one person doing all the work consistently, I would have a “Done by K” and a “Done by A” column rather than just a “done” column.I hate the grocery store with the passion of 100,000 fiery suns. Perhaps more. Then while in the store I get overwhelmed because I di
Radical Neurodivergence Speaking: AUTISTIFYING MY HABITAT!!