Figuring out Autism Acceptance Month — Day 1— 30 Days of Autism Acceptance (2019)

I was going to write about executive function for my first post for the month, but I ended up doing some work to try to figure out what I would want to write about for that, and I hadn’t figured out where I wanted to go with that yet, so I have decided that I will actually talk about what I am trying to figure out about this:

  • Executive function in general
    • What is executive function?
  • Tools to help with that
    • Journalling
      • Bullet Journal
      • Open Journalling
      • Medication Log
    • Taking breaks
    • Goofing off
      • Games
        • Playing Games
        • Writing Game
    • Paper vs. Computer tools
  • Working with other people
    • Often very difficult
    • Sensory issues
    • Communication
    • Social Overload

That’s probably the broad overview of the things that I have come up with, and I’m not really sure where I want to go with any of this.  So I’ll try to write something fairly brief right now as a way to get some idea of where I want to go for the rest of the month (at least at this point)

Executive function in general

This is probably where I had planned on starting, but I’m not sure that it totally works that way for me.  The specific post that lead me to starting this, I have about 3 lines of notes for.  Each one of these could easily end up being at least a single paragraph, and maybe as much as about 200-500 words.

So, I guess I realised that I don’t really want to dive in with that kind of detail, and will probably break it down further, or into different ways of thinking about this stuff.

What is executive function?

I guess maybe I’ll try to have a post in more detail about what executive function is, in terms of pretty basic stuff that I would like to write about.

Basically, in the simple explanation where I don’t really want to give it all away at once, it’s the ability to get stuff done.  And I think that’s probably about where I want to leave the question for now.

Tools to help with that

One thing that I was really thinking about is the tools which help (or maybe don’t help).  Some of this is pretty good, and I think that some things are good to note that they are helpful.  And then, also think about things that for me didn’t actually end up being helpful.

Journalling

Many people talk about the importance of some kind of journalling.  I’m not sure that this helps for everyone, yet I can’t think of what kinds of things will make it not work as a general concept.

Bullet Journal

The Bullet Journal is a specific format which some people really like.  I don’t know that I fully like some of the things about this, but it’s what got me thinking about some of these concepts, and how important they are, and actually start working with this stuff, so it is really important to acknowledge as I have been working with a lot of these concepts for a while.

Open Journalling

This came about with my sense that I just couldn’t explain the concept of Bullet Journals in a way that made it accessible to some people.  I knew something had to be handled differently than the whole “Bullet Journal” concept, and there needed also to be some opening up with this.

A big part of this is the idea that this is more of a, “whatever works for you,” type concept, and there isn’t any right or wrong way to do it.

Some concepts about what works for me are actually a good part of what this is about, but it’s also taking what works for me, and trying to slim it down to the essentials of what it is.

I think I have come up with basically two parts that I think really are essential for finding what works for me, and that is the journal key, and the daily log.  Everything else is probably a bit too much to introduce to begin with.

Medication Log

This is a bit of something that I felt I needed to find a solution for for a number of reasons.  One, it was something that I was having a lot of trouble with keeping track of with how I was handling it at the time (it was really complicated at the time), and I needed to find a way that I didn’t end up getting frustrated with creating it every time I needed to do a “new log”.

Taking breaks

Taking breaks is a really good thing that I think a lot of us fail to account for.  We keep pushing through, and in my experience, this is not a helpful way to deal with things.  In fact, it seems to take a lot less of a “helpful” approach than I would say, and a harmful thing to not acknowledge that you need to take a break.

Goofing off

This is a bit of an extension of the “taking breaks” thing that is important to think about for me.  I still like to think that the real way to take a break is to not do anything.  That is you “simply rest” but I have found that this simply isn’t the way that things work for me a lot of the time, and I need to find a way to shift gears when I need to get out of a space, and do something which is different, rather than “nothing.”

I have in the past (and some of this is quite recent past) had some serious messages that “goofing off” is a really horrible thing, and really you need to be, “working when you are here,” type attitudes, and this not only isn’t helpful, it is actively harmful.  (There is a whole story that I may well write some time this month about some overt messages I received when I decided I wanted to go out and work in the community and tried to work at the local book store.)

So, while I don’t really think that what I’m talking about is what is implied by “goofing off” necessarily, I like the term, because it feels a bit like a reclaiming of a term which is used against people when they are doing something which “isn’t their job” and is “not viewed as productive” which I really hope to be able to explain why it is genuinely a productive use of time to stop doing unproductive work, and maybe do something unproductive (or if you can manage it, just rest).

Games

Games have been an important part of goofing off for me.  These are easy to fit in the category of goofing off (unless you are getting paid to play them, or make them).  To me, they are really important, and I probably will want to write a fair bit about why they are important to me.

Playing Games

Most people are familiar with some form of playing games.  And really I don’t need to talk about what that is (as far as I know).  But I do need to talk about how it is an important thing to do as a way of creating a meaningful life.

Writing Game

Lately, I have been trying to do some writing of games.  I haven’t made a lot of progress in any of the games that I have tried to write, but in a way, I don’t think that matters much.

A lot of why I write games, is because of the process, not because of the outcome.  And working on a game long enough to feel that I have an idea where I want to go with it is a great way to play with that process.  Of course, I still can try to get that together, and that would be a good extension of that process.

Many people would never really consider writing a game, and to that, I say, go for it.  Don’t worry about how well it turns out.  Talk to the people you know who are aware, or are doing game stuff, and find a place to start.  And then start writing the games you want to, (often games that you don’t see other people creating).

Paper vs. Computer tools

This is an interesting discussion, and I’ve fallen all over the place with this.  But I also have found that people who feel that they have an answer to this, often don’t see how there are different ways we process things when they are handled different ways.

My current sense is that it’s great to work with different ways of handling how you handle things.  I know that kind of feels like a crummy way of saying things.  It’s just…  I’m right now talking about how do you “get things done” and I think that’s a useful thing, but there are other aspects where I think this comes as an important thing.  Like how do you “learn things” and how do you “explain things.”  So I wanted something generic.  And well that’s what you got.

Working with other people

Eeek other people…

In all seriousness, I have a lot of trouble with working with other people, and I want to find ways that I can make that a lot better.  I know that some of this is stuff that I’m either not going to be able to change, or how I’m going to be able to change it, is to learn to ignore the ways that things aren’t working.

My experience with learning to ignore the ways that things aren’t working, has failed me miserably.  At best, it means that no one else knows things aren’t working, and leads to it never really getting to a way of actually working.

At worst, it can lead to severe burnout, even in the space of a few hours.  If in the space of a few hours of dealing with something it invariably leads to burnout, and you keep doing it, this can lead to really serious problems, like has happened with me and the fact that I no longer use public transit because of having felt, “I should be able to do this,” and continuing to push through.

Often very difficult

Working with other people is often really difficult.  Even when working with people who are good, when things have been difficult for a while, it can take quite a while to be able to find a nice flow with working with that person again.

Sensory issues

When working around other people, I often have sensory issues.  Some of that is things like people using fragrances which can be very overpowering for me (and if exposed for too long, lead to a great deal of pain).  Other times it’s the way that people are in a space, and that they make noises, or try to talk while the radio is on, or other things like that.

Communication

I have a lot of problems with communication, and learning how to express that in ways that don’t make it even worse has been very difficult.  Sometimes I manage it, most of the time I don’t.

Social Overload

One thing for me (and I think this might be more of an introversion thing, than an autism thing) it can be really overwhelming to be in a social situation for long, especially when there aren’t breaks.  It’s not that I don’t want to be in it.  It’s more that it takes so much energy to remain in it.

So, I think that I’ll leave things there.  And probably get to more of this in the next few days (Hey, I’m almost 4 weeks ahead of schedule at this point (March 5th I’m writing April 1st’s post)) some better idea of where I want to go with these posts.

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