December 16, 2018

When I read advice for autistics, I notice that it’s often worded differently than the same advice for other people.

The rest of the world shares “life hacks” for “productivity.” Autistics share “coping strategies” for “executive functioning.”

Some examples:

“Tackle a big task by breaking it down into small parts” vs. “Make a checklist of steps to follow for any activity that feels overwhelming.”

“Consistent habits can lower your stress by reducing the need to make decisions” vs. “Familiar routines can calm your anxiety by reducing the need to process information.”

“Chew gum or go for a short walk to release tension and improve your concentration” vs. “Use a fidget toy or move around to settle your mind and focus better.”

The problem isn’t just that one feels like a more positive framing. The problem is that by using different language, both sides are missing out on potentially valuable information.

The only solution I can think of is to deliberately go looking on the other side. Autistics, read more blogs by life coaches and entrepreneurs. Everyone else, read more blogs by autistics.

We have so much to learn from one another.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.