Routines in Autism

My routines, sometimes more like rigid habits, soothe me.  Without routines in what I do, I get confused and stressed.

So, I started reading, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  Evidently, habits become learned then stored in a different part of the brain, the basal ganglia, so we are not using the “thinking” part of our brains to process it.

A change in the routine can upset it, so that it isn’t the routine anymore, hence the stress.  For example, I am writing to you from my side of the couch in the sun room.  I write on white paper on a clipboard.  If I write on a yellow pad  the lines and the color make my mind go blank or my thoughts don’t flow as well.  I feel irritated the whole time I am using a yellow pad.

As another example, when the kids come over to watch football with hubby, they watch in the sun room with the surround sound.  So, I write or do work at the kitchen table.  I spend my whole time at the table upset, and feeling discombobulated.  Doing something else isn’t an option at the time because I have something in my head that needs to come out on paper now, not later.

I have plenty of other things to do such as working or doing art or reading, but my mind gets stuck in the disrupted routine.  A change in my routine can be upsetting to the point of some hand-flapping and rocking.

There is no way I will let anyone move the coffee pot to a different place on the counter or I’d be all messed up first thing in the morning!


About Eileen Parker 100 Articles
Support a starving writer, by buying my current book, The Weighted Blanket Guide, on Amazon. I'm a writer working on my fourth book. I live in the Twin Cities with my husband. Between us, we have four children.