My 19-year-old daughter is leaving the nest. My son went to live with Dad for his high school years. I’m moving in with my long-time boyfriend. And, I started my weighted blanket business.
I imagine change like this would be difficult for anyone. Since I have High-Functioning Autism, it is doubly, triply, quadruply difficult for me.
A fallacy exists that people on the autism spectrum don’t feel much. For me, it’s the opposite; I feel deeply. I just don’t necessarily know what to do with the feelings, except rocking or other stims.
I’ve working up the courage to live with John for seven years. I’m here (at his house) most of the time. We have chosen decorations and furniture together over the years so they are a part of my mind. Even though the house and the things have become so familiar, just the anticipation of fully moving in disrupts my world.
I have made the transition easier by locating my business in the (entire) basement of his house and working here, so I have gradually gotten used to being here, so I have my house habits.
My house habits are my routines that I do in exactly the same way in the same places. As I write, I am sitting in my spot on the couch. I sit in the same place at the table to eat supper. I do the morning coffee routine in exactly the same order. Everything has to stay in the same place.
I have to introduce new things into my environment gradually-really gradually.
We, okay, John and his son, moved my dresser into our bedroom. It upset me that the bedroom looked different, yet it comforted me to have my things around me. John wanted to move the bed in another direction to make more room, but I told him that it would be too much change all at once.
I need my things. I enjoy looking that them. They create a solid comfort-much preferably to wild change. I want my home to feel like my cozy castle.
What to Do
If your loved one is on the autism spectrum:
- Introduce changes only one at a time.
- Make sure you involve them in the decision-making as to what is chosen and where it goes.
- Always warn them at least two weeks in advance of an impending change.
- No surprises, please.
Change as a New Routine
Lack of change can be a rut to fall in, and one must make change itself a routine to get used to. It challenges a person and opens up the mind to new ideas. In small doses, it invigorates.
Just make it planned is all.