One of the hardest things about my autism is the unreliable fluidity of my own thinking. Sometimes my thoughts are fluid and sometimes they are not. When my thoughts are fluid I can easily think through task-oriented things such as making a meal, writing an article, or cleaning the house. I can make a mental (or written) list and follow it. I can think of a main idea and sub topics. I can gather supplies and start.
Lots of people like to eat out. I do, too. Because of my sensory sensitivities, I have learned to reduce certain input to the best of my ability in restaurants so as to better enjoy the experience.
Every first Friday of the month, I am part of a group of seven women who go out to eat. We are all moms of children with autism ranging in age from 13 to 30-something. Most of us have served on autism-related boards together over the years. Each month we choose a new restaurant. No matter where we go, we are the table of people who laugh the most!
Throughout the history of autism many have put their efforts into changing the behavior of autistic people. It is my opinion, and that of many of my autistic cohorts, that not enough effort has been made to understand and work with the autistic who is employing the behavior you wish to extinguish.
The visual sensory aspects of the way autism plays out for me most of the time means that I get too much information delivered – things are too big, too bright, too bold – typically too much to endure all day. Practically, this means I need to accommodate my sensory system in a variety of ways.
The field of autism is very new – not even 100 years old yet! This means we are constantly learning new things. It also means that those of us in the field of autism will likely need to change the way we deliver help to those who seek it and change the way we teach our students. It has happened to me and to most of my colleagues in the field.