Springingtiger's Blog


Mature Autism – How I cope with Aspergers

I have been asked if I have any coping tips for adults with Aspergers. I think I should start by saying that I have had a serious advantage having been born in the early Nineteen-Fifties and also having been sent to an English Public School – Giggleswick – for my education which provided me with the discipline I needed to get through my childhood.

The benefit of a diagnosis of Aspergers is that it provides a context for one’s behavioural problems. The first coping tip I have is get your diagnosis confirmed and – only AFTER your diagnosis – start researching Aspergers. Become aware of your behaviours that differ from society’s norm, then you can can act on them.

Second and third tips. You are you and you can choose whether you wish to try and conform to the norm or not. Whatever you choose there will be consequences, but you’ve got Aspergers so you don’t recognise consequences. However consequences are real and manifest in how you are treated by others. As an Aspie you probably have the advantage of an aptitude for logical thought given the time. So the second tip is to logically assess your behaviours and calculate their consequences. The third tip is only to make those adaptations you want to, it doesn’t matter if you are thought odd as long as you can live as comfortably as you want. Do we really care what others think, do others really think? (Asperger joke)

The fourth tip is develop structure. I find my day goes best when I have fixed points of reference. My day is comprised of routines and alternative routines which depend on circumstances, the more eventualities you have planned for the less chance of being thrown by an untoward event.
Routines are crucial and can be applied to most of life, personal hygiene, domestic chores, travel, work, visiting the cinema, etc.

Be prepared is my fifth tip following on from number four. Perhaps I am extreme in my preparations, (https://springingtiger.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/mature-autism-be-prepared/ )having many pockets full of things I may need, but probably won’t. What is certainly true is that a little preparation can help you cope with sensory problems, if you have your earplugs and dark glasses in your pocket – or handbag – you may well be able to respond positively to an invitation to go for a drink.

Which brings us on to socialising. You are not obliged to socialise unless it is part of your job and if you’re an Aspie you probably don’t have that sort of job! The key to social events is to control them. Know how long you are prepared to put up with people and have an excuse ready so you can leave when you need. I prefer events with a purpose and a structure from which I can extricate myself easily. I love my quiz night because having done the bit I really enjoy I don’t upset the team if I go and leave them having fun. I went to a family wedding last year which I enjoyed because it was structured and I was mixing with people with whom I am familiar. Locate quiet places to which you can retreat to have a break from the bustle.

When it comes to information processing be aware of your difficulties and adapt to them. Twitter and Facebook are easier to handle than instant messaging because you have time to think and edit before responding. If you are on a course use a tape-recorder and make notes than – if it’s important enough – you can review what you are supposed to have learned. I keep getting into trouble because I forget to review, largely because I tend to forget there is anything to review because it hasn’t caught my focus in the first place.

A good tip immediately note down things you will have to do later, I use my phone’s calendar, but there are lots of widgets for Google or apps for your phone you can use. Develop a routine, identify task, note task, set alarms. Later when alerted you can use mind-mapping and project planning to actually move on the task.

Get support, there are people who will help you if they understand what you need. Locate them and drop the rest (Asperger joke).

Final tip use the internet – I know you’re an Aspie, you live in cyberspace – but I do mean USE the internet. There are plenty of resources online, you will find many linked on Twitter try @springingtiger. In April I will be blogging my Follow Friday (this year with all working links) Autism Awareness Month Supplement this is the link to last years https://springingtiger.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/follow-friday-autism-awareness-month-supplement/

If I had to put one tip as my number one it would be develop and use routines.

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[…] Mature Autism – How I cope with Aspergers January 21, 2011, 12:18 Filed under: asperger’s syndrome, autism, disability, social media | Tags: AS, asd, Asperger diagnosis, asperger’s syndrome, autism, FaceBook, sensory processing, social media, social networking, Twitter […]

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