This blog, and its title, are inspired by the excellent post Autistifying My Habitat, by Kassiane Sibley. In it, she describes methods she learned at Autreat – a retreat designed for autistics, by autistics – for helping to deal with life as an autistic person. Sibley writes:
At Autreat I learned that my anxiety and my difficulties with doing things that need done … are not things that I have to just live with…. Using what I know about what I need help doing and how my brain works, I set up a set of visual supports.
After reading this post, I realized this is something I’ve been doing for years. Ever since I realized I was autistic, I’ve developed and sought out visual supports, technological supports, routines, and sensory integration strategies to help keep up with life. I initially spent a lot of time googling “autistify” and similar phrases, hoping to stumble across more resources similar to Sibley’s post, but nothing else relevant ever came up. Finally, it dawned on me that I know lots of tips and tricks for how to be successful as an autistic person, and that I could share those with others. Thus, this blog was born.
A note on that word, success: I define “success” as “accomplishing the things you want and need to do, to the best of your ability”. For some autistic people, “success” will mean “developing ways to communicate my boundaries” (Amanda Baggs has an excellent post on that here). For others, it will mean learning life skills that neurotypical people may take for granted, such as grocery shopping or driving a car. For some autistic people it will look like society’s definition of success – college, a full-time job, a monogamous long-term relationship, etc. What’s important here isn’t what success looks like to others, but what it means to the autistic person. I don’t consider it “success” if the person has been bullied or coerced into accomplishing a task. There are websites out there that will tell you ways to get an autistic person to do things they don’t want to do. This blog will not do that. What I want to do here is help autistic people choose goals for themselves and, perhaps with the help of cooperative carers, to implement supports to help them achieve those goals.
What you will find here: Detailed explanations of visual, sensory, emotional, organizational and other supports that have helped me, either now or in the past. Supports I learned while working in special education classrooms that I implemented in my own life and found to be useful. Examples of ways a support could be modified to help people who have different needs than me. Reviews of apps, websites, devices, and other technological supports I have tried. Discussion of my experience with government supports in the U.S. Possibly book reviews.
What you will not find here: Methods of coercion or force, as mentioned above. Discussion of restricted diets or other autism “cures.” Medical or legal advice, as I am not a licensed physician or lawyer. Political discussion, beyond my own values and beliefs naturally being reflected in what I choose to present here. Dating advice. Anything that can be universally applied to all autistic people, as there are no such things.