5 Things Everyone with ASD Needs
Noise cancelling heaphones:
I’ve said it before and I'll say it again, these CHANGED MY LIFE. All of a sudden, I was able to get through my day without having at least one meltdown. I used to always just go to the library and hope for the best but unfortunately, people sometimes decide that talking is okay in libraries. Or maybe eating, or cracking their knuckles (this specifically will immediately toss me into a tear filled meltdown). I was never able to get any of my work done when something like this happened and it made school nearly impossible at times. Now, at least I have a solution for one sensory system. Further, if I’m really tired, and I need to be somewhere with more activity so that I don’t fall asleep, now that’s an option. I just put on the white noise, and then sometimes the level of activity in a local coffee shop is perfect.
Adventure Filled books With Aspie Type Characters:
In high school, my favourite books were by Ally Carter. Heist Society, and Only the Good Spy Young were my personal favourites. I’m quite a-romantic, I largely fit into the stereotypical robotic Aspie in this regard and I’m totally fine admitting that. Many other people on the spectrum will agree and I can’t express the comfort and happiness that reading action and adventure novels has brought me.
Now since I also have ADHD, as a kid, I did not enjoy reading at all; I couldn’t sit down and focus on something, I had to move around. This is where audiobooks come in. You can listen to them anytime and anywhere (especially with your shiny new noise cancelling headphones). I’ve listened to them while running, doing homework, grocery shopping. They can be the perfect level of stimulation for anyone with ADHD that sometimes (or always) just needs that extra thing happening.
My Favourite Books with Aspie Type Characters:
Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (The Uncle)
Harry Potter (Hermione Granger)
A Sport or other Physical Activity form that they love (probably not a team sport):
I’ve been athletic my whole life, but I never did well in team sports. I found them far too overwhelming and I was always terrified I would mess up and let down the team. I knew I could never deal with the guilt if that happened. However, I did extremely well at gymnastics, horseback riding (provincial championships repeatedly), swimming, and boxing. In these sports, I was able to just focus on myself and let everything else go. They’re a way to get in some very good exercise and give my brain a break from the constant chaotic state that it’s always in.
Cats and fish have seemed to often be preferable to Aspies. A pet gives a sense of companionship that they will likely have a hard time finding elsewhere due to their condition. What’s more, it gives anyone (but especially a kid) a sense of responsibility. When you’re the one responsible for another creature’s well-being, it gives an irreplaceable sense of livelihood and self-confidence.
Anything and everything! Maybe the hobby will be reading! Just something that will help them escape when necessary. Painting, an instrument, writing, yoga, puzzles. I also think that ideally, the hobby will take place primarily in one spot to create a sense of routine. If it can’t be confined to one space, then maybe try to make it so that it can be taken everywhere, for example: if the hobby is drawing or puzzles, then you can always have a book and some pencils on you and it can even become a coping mechanism
A couple of years ago I had a 9-5 office job and I found it to be excruciatingly stressful. I was answering phones and dealing with customers all day and the one thing that would always help me settle down was drawing. Drawing became a temporary escape, and what was nice about it was that it was super inconspicuous, I never had to leave my desk or explain myself for doing it. I should note, since the job took such a toll, I quit after less then a month and returned to restaurant work, which I have a significant amount of experience in, and kept me on my feet which I much prefer.