Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 1 Fall 2014 - Page 36

13-year-old Jay speaks from experience when he talks about how easy it is to get upset in the morning and what helps him not to lose his cool. “Have a structured routine and try not to stray from it. When things change, I can get confused, and that is why I get upset. And whatever you do, don’t let your child play video games in the morning because he can easily get engrossed and then not want to stop. Believe me, I know!” Since many autistic individuals think in pictures, Lydia says to use visuals. “Make a visual schedule for each task in your morning. Move each task from a ‘to do’ column to a ‘done’ column. Knowing what to expect will ease your kiddo’s stress.” Kate says that many autistics are just not MORNING PEOPLE. “For me, mornings go more smoothly if I have a routine that I can follow and not much stress put on me the first few hours after I get up. Anything stressful I put off until later in the day. I don’t even look at any emails that might be emotional until nighttime because my emotional regulation takes several hours to get up and running, and I overreact a lot more when I first get up. I am highly verbal most of the time but often can be almost nonverbal when I first get up—my brain is just not on yet, which frustrates me. It makes it hard to be on time to anything that actually happens in the morning. I have to accept this and schedule things for the afternoon when I can.” MAYBE TRY THIS… Besides having a structured routine in the morning, many of our experts have suggested the use of some sort of Visual Timer. Visual timers can come in many forms such as a physical clock that can hang on a wall, a wrist watch and now even an app on your phone or IPad. The timer displays time as a red disk that quietly gets smaller as time elapses. No more vague concepts of what 5 minutes feels like because the autistic individual can see that when the red is gone, time is up! There are even apps that have a professional look with lots of features that can help autistic adults in the working world make every moment count. 36 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses