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becklovesdogs
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21 Oct 2023, 6:10 am

Hi
I recently had a ASD assessment and the doctor thinks i have autism ( i am unsure, but don't really think i do). However I could not tell her any routines I have. I am unsure on what she means so she sent me various resources and a link to this forum.
Could someone please explain to me what is a routine and what counts.
For example, I don't eat or get up at a certain time. Nothing has to be done at a certain time. Does anyone have any examples that are not based around time.
thank you for any help.



blitzkrieg
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21 Oct 2023, 6:16 am

A routine could be something as simple as eating the same thing every day because it is same-y and might qualify as a routine.

Other people might have an afternoon nap and meltdown if they don't have one (this can happen to autistic people).

I have never had any strong routines, though I told the autism assessor when I had my assessment many years ago that I prefer routine and that it is executive function that prevents me from having a routine at times.



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21 Oct 2023, 6:19 am

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Mountain Goat
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21 Oct 2023, 8:48 am

This morning I was thinking of an example which is related to routine... (Though when I was thinking about it this morning it was not thinking about routie, but rather what seems to be the lack of routine but is routine from another angle).

When I get up in the mornings I can not make my bed. Is not that I can't, it is that it I do my inbuilt routine gets effected or the better word to use is disturbed. This effects me in that if I do off-road my routine and make my bed, the inbuilt plans I had for the day can be disturbed? (Hard to describe).
Ok. Best to explain a different way if I can. Is not laziness as though it seems like that, I can often launch myself into many other non lazy things which can take far greater effort than the simple task of making my bed. (I don't mean making my bed out of wood. I mean putting the covers over the mattress to make it look nice). It is rather about a pre-planned morning routine that it I differ from, it can set me back the rest of the day as I am almost unable to put my all into the day if I make my bed? I can just sit there on my bed knowing exactly what to do but unable to do it if I have to do it as soon as I get up if that makes sense?
Sometimes I can do it but most of the time of I try I can't because it knocks me back. Let's say I do it, I then am more likely to need to get back into bed and lie there and maybe try to sleep so I can start the days process again in my "Inbuilt" order.
But I am not so rigid that I can't suddenly decide to do something different. BUT if someone else suddenly decided to alter things that directly involve me and I am not ready for it, I can go into a shutdown, which usually starts in a lesser way by the sudden unexpected decision change, and it will escalate while doing the new task until I am on the floor in a full on shutdown! If the start of a shutdown process I then don't do the changed thing I had not accounted for, but instead, I go to relax, then I can avoid it turning into a full on shutdown. It is something that others don't believe so they think that when I reach a full on shutdown, that it is purposefully done to avoid doing any work! Is NOT the case! Though I can get something I would put off and put off because the task (Which is often not that bad) I would need to be in the right frame of mind or mood to be able to do it.

Now I do not know if I am autistic as I have not been assessed yet. So it may not be related to autism but could be a trait of being me! So what I write might not be a routine. But other things, one of which took me 35+ years to get out of was that I had to step on drain covers and avoid pavement cracks while walking. I would even cross a road to step on a drain cover in the pavement just so that I did not miss it out! I also trained myself not to stim so I would look more "Normal" BUT after doing this, I went through a series of burnout/breakdown events which I had never really had before. (Most stims were hidden stims so only the very observant would know, but I knew even though I never knew they were called stims!)

But I don't want to think about stims and want to just automatically do them in my own way without thinking about them because it I think about them I go into a mess of thought.
I don't so often do drain covers and things unless anxiety hits etc. Is a habit I did not like because apart from being noticable, it was annoying to myself as well! It was like all drains had a personal need to be touched. Like all walls and railings need to be gently touched while I walk down the street so as to make them feel happy! :D

But routines. I am not the type of person who MUST get up and a certain time and brush teeth at a certain time etc. Trying to brush teeth in "My" routine is neglected! I have to do it later on every few days when I remember! Oops!

Anyway. Not sure I have answered or not?

[P.S... My Mum makes my bed! (Usually because she would have to wait until afternoon for me to be in the right frame of mind to do it and she wants it done in the morning, so she does it. If I do it in the morning it kinda mentally paralises me? Hard to describe)].


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21 Oct 2023, 1:21 pm

My routines don't necessarily have assigned times for activities (especially now that I am retired) but I have a strong tendency to do things in a consistent order. For instance: wake up whenever I wake up (I am retired), watch the morning news/weather while drinking a can of caffeinated soda, do my morning walk, shower...

Some things are scheduled. Thursdays are when I do my wash.

I tend to stay with restaurants I am familiar with, though sometimes I'll test a new one. If I like a place enough to go to it repeatedly I explore the menu choices that look most promising to me. Once I've found a winner, I stick to it. (I was amused when I went into one place and the cashier had rung up my order before I got to the counter. She got it right, by the way!)

When I buy clothes (including shoes) I look for the same manufacturer, style, size, etc. I had been annually ordering the same walking shoes for a few years (I routinely do enough of a morning walk that replacing. the shoes annually seems appropriate). I'd go to the same website and order another pair using the product number inside the last pair. Sigh...it is not available right now! I am very frustrated by this.

Of course, I follow the same course each morning on my morning walks. (Currently in disarray, though. The problems with the shoes has forced me to reduce the length of my walk.)

My car was damaged enough last month that the insurance company declared it a write-off. It is horrible that the same make/model is not available for either 2023 or 2024.


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21 Oct 2023, 2:34 pm

Autism can differ widely in individuals so if you don't have one or two aspects of autism, you may still be diagnosed as having autism. It is possible to learn to mask or hide autistic behaviors. The difficultly with this is that doing this may create a lot of stress and ultimately lead out to burnout in some cases.

Females or nonbinaries may be better able to hide their autism than males.



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21 Oct 2023, 3:08 pm

BTDT wrote:
Autism can differ widely in individuals so if you don't have one or two aspects of autism, you may still be diagnosed as having autism. It is possible to learn to mask or hide autistic behaviors. The difficultly with this is that doing this may create a lot of stress and ultimately lead out to burnout in some cases.

Females or nonbinaries may be better able to hide their autism than males.


I was able as a child to lie to a psychologist to avoid going to a special school as I knew what answers to answer every question he asked to avoid going tothe school. I was age 7. My parents were not told about this. I never knew what a psychologist was until a few years ago when I met one. (Apart from when I was 7). I went quiet when asked questions. (I was normally dead quiet in class which is why the teacher called a psycologist as I hardly spoke). A teacher who taught me when I was 4 years old was there as my teacher had to go back to her class. The teacher said "If you don't speak, you will have to go to the special school". I knew that was a few miles away in the big town and I dreaded the thought of that, so I spoke! And every question I knew exactly what would happen if I answered one way or the other, so I am ashamed to say I lied to some of them to avoid going to that special school! No way would I want to go so far from home each day! (For years when in both schools, college or work I would be homesick. Found out it is a trait of prosopragnosia). But what I am saying is that masking is something I learned from an early age and it caught up with me with burnouts/breakdowns (Whatever they were) 're-occurring again and again each time I tried working again. (Was going through cycles where I'd work until I'd burnout, quit my job with an excuse (Never told the truth incase I wouldn't be re-employed) then spend ages within income recovering (6 months to a few years), get a job. Start working. Burnout. Quit. Recover. Get a job, burnout, quit... (And each successive burnout/breakdown Not means we than the one before, and I never told a doctor as never knew what they were or how to describe what I was going through).
What scared me into asking for help when I had the last burnout mess I was in was that at one point I forgot how to walk.I was standing in the middle of a car park outside work and I was just standing there. I didn't know what to do! It scared me!

But yes. Masking. I used to mask in triplicate. Mask on top of mask on top of mask! And I knew I was masking many, many years before I knew it had a name, as I used to marvel how other children in school could be so popular (I was age 8 or 9 when I reasoned this), and I assumed they were so much better at doing "It" (Masking) than I was. (I didn't know what to call it. I knew it was a "Thing" as I did it).
I hated acting for Drama lessons of for other school events because I was hiding behind masks and to add more masks felt wrong? Felt like I could be exposed when I took them off? Hard to describe. Due to years of masking even at age 11 on (When I first had Drama lessons in school) I felt very "Awkward" to act as it felt mentally claustrophobic as already my school life felt like an "Act". An act where I was absolutely terrified someone may find out!

And I would also go through "Two year cycles" at whatever workplace I was in (Before I had burnouts though came close... Actually maybe they were milder burnouts?) I noticed that around close to two years was the maximum time I could go with masking before the masking started to form cracks and break down. When this happened the bullying began! So I learned to work until the masking started to crack/fail/break, and I had to hand in my notice and quit, because if I carried on working I would be in for a real tough time! This has seriously effected my employment life. Then when I had turnouts of breakdowns instead, it got a lot worse and took ages and ages to recover from each event. (Would be in a mess... Balance and co-ordination messed up with a fragile feeling etc).
Yes. Masking is a think that has long term effects so if one does not mask, and someone tries to make you to stop stimming etc, do not stop! Walk away! You need to stick to protect your future! (Best way is to change to more hidden stims instead that are less noticeable to others. I can tell you how I hid my stims if it helps?


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TheOutsider
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21 Oct 2023, 6:41 pm

Routines are just regular patterns of behavior and they can vary from person to person. I don't necessarily have times that I do everything, but I like to do things in the same order. I place things like my car keys and other objects I use in the same spot immediately after I use them. I sit in the same chair everyday during tv time, which occurs before dinner. I like to wear the same clothes or the same types of clothes everyday. I like to eat the same foods, in the same order, for my daily meals and snacks. I wash clothes on the same day of the week. I drive the same route to work. These are just a few of an entire lifestyle of routines that I have and if any of them are disrupted, it can cause a great deal of discomfort.



colliegrace
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21 Oct 2023, 10:04 pm

I would say I don't have much in the way of need for routines/"insistence on sameness".

I've noticed that I get very irritable at work if asked to do tasks out of their intended order, but like.... aside from that? I don't know of anything.


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21 Oct 2023, 10:22 pm

I tend to be one of those people who do best adhering to strict routines. I like my days structured to be pretty much the same every day, and on days where I need to do different things, I prefer them to be on the same days every week. I'm ridiculously boring and predictable like that. I don't have to follow a set time schedule, but I like a familiar breakdown of my days, ie: get up and drink coffee and wake up for an hour or two and maybe stretch, read, do some puzzles, browse the internet, whatever...that's my wakeup/me time. Then I want to take my dog for a walk. We get home and I do the dishes, clean the kitchen and make us breakfast... I could break down my average day, but I think you can get the point. It's less about time and more about the general overall structure. Without that structure I end up kinda 'lost' and get nothing done for the whole day. It just sets me off and I don't recover well from it. I do best with a routine to follow. I also tend to do things like go to the same few stores/places, walk the same few routes, talk to the same few people..I like familiar and predictable.



colliegrace
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21 Oct 2023, 10:27 pm

FleaOfTheChill wrote:
Without that structure I end up kinda 'lost' and get nothing done for the whole day. It just sets me off and I don't recover well from it. I do best with a routine to follow.

I kinda relate to this actually. But I find I prefer the routine to be imposed on me, rather than setting it myself?

Idk. This is why I loved summer camp. A schedule every single day. I remember thinking I wanted my whole life to be like that.


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RAADs: 104 | ASQ: 30 | Aspie Quiz: 116/200 (84% probability of being atypical)

Also diagnosed with: seasonal depression, anxiety, OCD


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21 Oct 2023, 11:33 pm

I wonder sometimes if need for routine meant the need for predictability or the need for daily consistency.

The former, sure -- the latter? Only when the need for former is strong enough.

One doesn't necessarily lead to another.


I want consistency, but I struggle with it.
So no routines for me, not even with the basics of eating and sleeping.

And I want less need for predictability -- having less need to know what to do ahead of time.
Because I'd rather be able to adjust and be flexible with change.

Essentially, I have a need for predictability as any autistics do.
Yet I'm not internally predictable myself, so there won't be any routines giving me that, among other factors.


To sum up; some autistics need for predictability is accommodated by routines.
Yet, not all autistics have the same need for predictability nor necessarily have any routines nor the insistent sameness to satisfy that need.


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