Like many autistics, all my life I have thought visually. My thinking is comprised of pictures, colors, shapes along with their sound and movement. Given that experience, I have had to learn how to hold onto new thoughts because it doesn’t just happen automatically. This is especially true if I see a novel thought while in a slightly (or more than slightly) elevated emotional state. It doesn’t matter if the emotion is negative or positive. Here is an example:
As an autism consultant I am often asked how I sort out what to do when I see an autistic client who is struggling in school or in life. As an autistic person I know first hand if stabilization needs are not met, regardless of the supports in place an autistic person will struggle. Stabilization consists of three areas that interplay – internal and external regulation in the context of a positive relationship.
As an autistic getting through the holiday time can be quite tricky. As an autistic parent with children who had different needs it was even trickier. Routine and structure can go a long way! They anchor the days that can otherwise be perceived by an autism neurology as totally chaotic, which in turn, often leads to being overwhelmed and experiencing meltdowns.
Because of my autism I have an autistic thinking style. One characteristic often attributed to me is “inflexible thinking.”
Flexibility in thinking has to do with being able to adapt when circumstances change by adjusting or shifting from one expectation to another. This has never been easy for me, but I have learned how to live more comfortably with my autistic thinking style in a world where flexibility is much more highly valued than my inborn trait.
As an adult with autism, knowing what will happen during each day is important to me. For children, who have much less life experience, it is often a deal breaker in terms of them being able to participate in life around them. Using visual schedules supports this need both at school and on ordinary days at home, but what about those times when life gets hectic or when spontaneity is in order?