Wednesday, June 10, 2015

If You Want To Make God Laugh.... A Word on Change and Shock in ASD

Tell Him your plans.

That's right. Make plans, be confident and sure of them, and wait.

Change is not something that ASDs have an easy time with. In fact, the more we can plan ahead, and prepare for things, the better. No surprise parties (though no one has ever thrown me one, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't like it because I would never be prepared for that much social activity).

Anyway, be gentle with your ASD when it comes to change. It doesn't matter if the change is the food you're serving for lunch (been there with my son!), or a change in plans (like going to go somewhere and then not having the money - again, been there!) Give them some time.

Don't be quick to congratulate for something when they are still trying to recover from the shock of change. ASDs can be surprisingly stubborn, irrational, even mean and panicky when they're still recovering from a shock. Please be gentle on your loved one or friend. Let them pour out their feelings of overwhelm and fear and pain and frustration and guilt.

I know through experience that all this happens. Sometimes it lasts 5 minutes. Sometimes it lasts for days. Point is that you have to give them space if they want, or the ear they need to just listen, or the shoulder they need to just cry on. Give them some time.

Do not mistake their smiling for happiness, sometimes ASD means poor emotional facial expressions. (Great, it's already hard for us to tell when you're kidding, but now I'm telling you its hard to tell when we are too?)
 I can't tell you the number of times something happened and I ended up stuck smiling, leaving the person thinking I'm joking or not serious. It's hard to defend yourself when you're smiling like its all a big joke, even though you know it's not, and don't even feel that it is, but your face deceives you.

Above all, follow their cue. Don't try to tell them that they are being ridiculous. Don't try to tell them that they don't make sense. Don't brush off their feelings, because they are real, and deep! Just bear with them, it is likely it will pass, but the way you made them feel won't.

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