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Norny
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30 May 2014, 12:36 am

I read a lot of posts here where people complain about feeling uncomfortable with having routines broken, or for other circumstances of change. Just about every human does not like change, and while not all have routines, a substantial amount of non-autistic individuals do, and feel great discomfort (usually stress) if they are disturbed.

Without the intense fear, I can't distinguish ASD dislike of change from the normal human trait of disliking change. Personally it seems to me like the 'resistance to change' only comes in to play in autism when the individual in question actually fears or melts/shuts down in response to it.

As a real life example, I have an autistic friend that has to mentally prepare himself for events by thinking about it and visualizing what is going to happen for at least a whole day before occurrence. He fears the unknown, and if presented with an unforeseen circumstance locks up and can't proceed. He has to go home. On the contrary, I had a friend with Asperger's who disliked change just as much as me, and the next person. I don't really consider that an 'autistic' resistance to change. 'Autistic' resistance to change seems really over-presented in this way.

There's a lot more on my mind concerning this topic but I'll see how replies (if any, that is) vary.


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btbnnyr
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30 May 2014, 12:43 am

I was super resistant to change when I was a kid, and the best description of that was whenever a thing is done a certain way the first time it was done, it must be done that way from then on, and any other way would cause a big problem, e.g. angry meltdown. This was also how Kanner described the trait in his paper, that things had to be done the same and repeated the same, and deviation from that would be big problem.


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Norny
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30 May 2014, 1:05 am

btbnnyr wrote:
I was super resistant to change when I was a kid, and the best description of that was whenever a thing is done a certain way the first time it was done, it must be done that way from then on, and any other way would cause a big problem, e.g. angry meltdown. This was also how Kanner described the trait in his paper, that things had to be done the same and repeated the same, and deviation from that would be big problem.


I'd like to bold 'big problem'.

An angry meltdown that you had is a big problem. Feeling general discomfort is not a big problem, it is just showing the typical human response to change.


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Marybird
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30 May 2014, 3:25 am

Norny wrote:
btbnnyr wrote:
I was super resistant to change when I was a kid, and the best description of that was whenever a thing is done a certain way the first time it was done, it must be done that way from then on, and any other way would cause a big problem, e.g. angry meltdown. This was also how Kanner described the trait in his paper, that things had to be done the same and repeated the same, and deviation from that would be big problem.


I'd like to bold 'big problem'.

An angry meltdown that you had is a big problem. Feeling general discomfort is not a big problem, it is just showing the typical human response to change.


It's not a behavioral problem.



BirdInFlight
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30 May 2014, 6:24 am

While I agree that all humans, even NTs, are unsettled and annoyed by change, it seems to me that the more NT reaction has far less intensity. An NT can be pissed off by change but in my observation seems to shrug it off and deal with it with a greater degree of ease and resignation, flexibility and adaptability than perhaps those on the autism spectrum.

Even those on the autism spectrum may also have to deal with change but the thing is, the dealing with it comes that much harder and with more pain and difficulty, for those -- that is -- who do have this issue as a strong trait.


.



bumble
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30 May 2014, 6:36 am

I don't like change that i feel is detrimental to my welfare because people are once again misunderstanding my methods and pushing me to take a course of action that not only goes against my natural instincts but which I know to be based on erroneous information (such as advising a diet of grains or processed replacement foods instead of eating whole natural foods for example).

It's also known as seeing the therapist (who insists on using a belief system I don't believe as if that one belief system is the only way to view the world), seeing the Dr (who can't tell his arse from his elbow most of the time except for simple things like a minor infection...ask them about health and fitness and its blank look time) or visiting the job Center who try to convince you they want to get you back into work as it's in your best interests (before you are ready) when what they really want is to make their figures look good this month and do well in the eyes of government (bloody liars they are, they don't care if they stick you in a worse situation than the one they are pushing you out of).

In those instances I don't like change.

Now, if the change is beneficial to me....that's a whole different matter.

I did used to have routines including ones revolving around food but those disappeared along with the standard western diet when I stopped eating it. My processing speed has increasedo on the paleo diet meaning I am better able to rethink and reorganise things on the fly if sudden change occurs.

On saying that I still don't cope well with having my hobby time disrupted to socialise etc. My social issues remain regardless of my lifestyle thus far. So more flexible in some ways but not socially it seems.



alwaysnow
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30 May 2014, 8:51 am

An autistic can be confused or anxious even for a type of change that NTs probably wouldn't even recognise as change.

NT dislike/fear of change you're mostly talking about big things like moving to another place, relationships, jobs etc., but for an autistic individual something much less significant than that could provoke a feeling of confusion or fear that could be stronger than NTs might ever experience.

NTs disliking change is miles away from being thrown into an intense feeling of confusion or fear even from something that from the outside could seem as a minor to non-issue.



kraftiekortie
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30 May 2014, 8:57 am

In essence, the difference between the NT and the ASD reaction to change is merely a matter of degree and intensity. Dislike for changes in routine is universal.



perpetual_padawan
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30 May 2014, 9:10 am

Change really bothers me. I buy a dozen case of yogurt once I get down to five automatically, because once I accidentally ran out and couldn't eat it for breakfast and my day was completely ruined. I couldn't think, I physically felt disoriented. I know it sounds crazy (I'm reminded constantly), but I have to have one for breakfast every day. Say, if my wife or someone wants eggs, waffles, bacon, or all of them for breakfast one day, I always end up having two breakfasts. Also, it can't be just any yogurt, it has to be Greek yogurt. And not just any Greek yogurt, but Fage brand. The texture and flavors of that company are unparalleled. Anything else tastes like excrement.


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arielhawksquill
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30 May 2014, 9:23 am

I have to disagree that all NTs hate change. If that were true, why would so many people line up to buy the latest Apple gadget when their old one works fine? There is plenty of novelty-seeking behavior in NTs, and the ones I know often express delight at a "change of pace" and express boredom with daily routine. Trying to justify autistic rigidity by saying all humans are that way is just false. If all human hated change, then change would not be the constant that it is in this world.



Norny
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30 May 2014, 10:48 am

arielhawksquill wrote:
I have to disagree that all NTs hate change. If that were true, why would so many people line up to buy the latest Apple gadget when their old one works fine? There is plenty of novelty-seeking behavior in NTs, and the ones I know often express delight at a "change of pace" and express boredom with daily routine. Trying to justify autistic rigidity by saying all humans are that way is just false. If all human hated change, then change would not be the constant that it is in this world.


There is always some kind of changes that humans won't like, typically if they are 'removed from their comfort zone'. People that like to thrill seek etc I suppose may be an exception, but I'm sure they have their points. Upgrading an Apple gadget isn't really the best example to use there. My autistic friend is always willing to upgrade his gear, but can't cope with unexpected change. He dislikes changes to certain things but no more than any other human. There is a very fine distinguishing line that I can't exactly pinpoint, but I'm centering my argument around it.

I'm not trying to justify autistic rigidity in that way at all. I just don't think it's an 'autistic' response to change without an extreme fear, or melt/shutdown attached. I should have expanded my terms to include examples such as Perpetual_Padawan's, as I used 'shutdown' to describe such extreme response.

I agree with kraftie in that the difference is degree and intensity, but I believe it's only so not when mildly more intense (that can be seen in NTs), but very much so.

I only made this thread as I've seen many posts confusing what I see to be something 'normal' with an 'autistic' response to change.

I'm aware that I can be wrong though, so I won't reject any ideas.


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mikassyna
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30 May 2014, 11:09 am

If someone in my family changes plans that I have planned, I get very upset. Sometimes, sadly, I explode pretty dramatically. I rant and rave, and a big argument ensues. I feel like my marriage is finished because my husband didn't care that I spent so much time making plans and didn't consult with me. It takes me a long time to adjust and plan things out in my head, that a disruption means I have to have a total re-do and make everything fit around the change, which is exhausting and time that I resent having to make because of someone else's lack of consideration.

I don't know if that qualifies as a "big problem" but I guess it could. I don't know how other people can juggle so much and be so easygoing about changes in plans. It was easier for me when I didn't have so many other moving targets (children) to work around. All the jigsaw puzzle pieces have to fit, you know? I really don't know how "typical" my reaction is. My husband thinks it's a big problem for me. But then again, I think he is Mr. Lazypants Wishy Washy LOL

My family has sort of adjusted around me on it. Now my husband asks me well in advance so I can plan around his plans if necessary.



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30 May 2014, 11:32 am

btbnnyr wrote:
I was super resistant to change when I was a kid, and the best description of that was whenever a thing is done a certain way the first time it was done, it must be done that way from then on, and any other way would cause a big problem, e.g. angry meltdown. This was also how Kanner described the trait in his paper, that things had to be done the same and repeated the same, and deviation from that would be big problem.


I am trying to better understand this topic. Particularly, because I don't have good recall of this when I was young. Other than my parents describing me as a very stubborn child (apparently, it ran in the family).

So, I had some questions (not just for you, but anyone who was super resistant in their childhood):

1. Are you talking about a simple process change (e.g. this is how I was taught to brush my teeth and I need to do it this way always, otherwise I will have a meltdown)? And, what happens if you noticed someone doing it a different and better way? Were you willing to change if the choice was yours? Or were you unwilling to observe (via in-person or even on TV) how others did things?

2. Are you referring to any change? As opposed to changes you pursued? As opposed to change imposed by others?

3. What happened if the change was unavoidable? I used to enjoy certain TV shows when I was young, and became quite sad when the TV network changed their schedule. However, I had no control over these. Yet, this impacted my daily routine.

4. How did you react to school? As school involves change? Each year, you enter a new grade (a big change). Then, you have winter and spring breaks (another change to daily living). Then school ends (yet another change). Each of these are external changes imposed by others?

5. Was you resistant to change because you were settled into a pattern, that you thought was "good enough"?

6. Were you confident that change was not needed, because you had optimized a process/procedure that you were comfortable with?

Thanks.



arielhawksquill
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30 May 2014, 11:40 am

Mikassyna's post shows the critical difference between AS and NT: neurotypicals don't have to pre-think everything. Most of them can rely on their skills to understand what's going on IN THE MOMENT and adjust accordingly. People on the spectrum find routine soothing because it doesn't have to be carefully thought through and pre-planned every time.



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30 May 2014, 11:42 am

I have never been bothered moving to a new place or getting a different job so I cannot relate to anyone disliking this change, same as for a relationship. This has always been an exciting thing for me because it was a positive change and something I wanted and it was better.

I do wonder though how much of my dislike of change has been an ASD thing or a normal thing or something else. With me I am extreme. If something doesn't bother me or affect me, I do not dislike that change. I just do not care that it happens. If I dislike something, it's because it gives me anxiety, it gives me chaos, I feel confusion, I fear things could go wrong or what if this happens or that or what if I feel this way or not.

I always hated school barbecues because it made me uncomfortable. I was used to eating in the cafeteria and getting my lunch in the lunchroom from the kitchen, on barbecue, we were eating outside and parents were arriving with their other kids and I would make me feel jealous because mine never came and we also got our food outside too. But those days were always hard for me during lunch time but then it stopped being an issue as I got older because I was used to it and my parents would come sometimes. I don't know if these were normal feelings or not.

I remember kids having to pull teeth with me to get me to be flexible and having to compromise with me and I was also bossy and would get very upset if things didn't go my way. I do see this as a problem because then kids wouldn't want to play with that child because they are to bossy and want everything to go their way.

I remember being new to my school when I was three and I did not welcome any change in that classroom. I wanted everything to stay the same and would move it back. Then after a few weeks I got used to things changing and started accepting it. New Environment I guess I wanted everything to stay the same to keep comfortable and once I got used to being there, change in that room didn't bother me anymore.

I remember I used to get very upset if anyone messed with my stuff or moved it or wrecked something I was going to play with when I got home from school even though the toy belonged to everyone and it wasn't just mine. I know lot of people don't like this either but I have never seen them have the same reaction as me. I knew of another boy who had a similar reaction to me but my mom thinks he had AS too and it was one of our neighbor's kids and he played with my brothers for a while until they quit playing with him when I was in 6th grade because they didn't like him.

At work one time the elevator was out of service so it changed my routine because I had my cart in the basement and I needed to take it up to the main floor for my job and it left me in panic and chaos and confusion and it gave me anxiety. I noticed other co workers had problems with it too but they seemed to handle it better than me. But once I learned the strategy of what to do when that happens, I felt calmer and it was less of a nuisance whenever it happened. But one time that happened again and plus I had to clean the daycare because someone was on a vacation that day called in sick and then we had a safety meeting that day so it got me behind and I got anxiety and had a meltdown because it was all too much. But the main reason was because I was worried about being behind and not getting off work in time.

I remember being in high school and sometimes we would get done with softball practice a half hour early and I didn't like to wait that long to have my dad pick me up so I would walk home even if it was a few mile walk and my legs will get sore from it. Someone from the team used that as an example of me not handling change well. It was even said in my report cards I don't do well with change. I guess you don't need to flip our or freak out or have a meltdown to have problems with change because I don't remember doing any of these things as a child if there was a change in school.

I also hate when plans change at the last minute and sometimes I hate it when anyone decides to do something different than we planned like the time mom and I planned to go to IKEA and on the way there she decided to stop at some furniture store and I flt uncomfortable and frustrated but i kept cool about it and said I would just wait in the car. I did not want to go inside and was very resistant to it and then mom told me to come in with her and to keep track of the time so she isn't in there long and it would help her out so I wet in with her and had the time with me and I saw they had snacks there so it turned into a good thing she stopped there and I no longer minded being there lol. It was just one of those moments I had and my mother had to really work hard at trying to get me to go in with her.


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