The following is from a Tumblr post, I felt it was important for people to read, so I am reposting it here. The link to the post is here.
I was wondering if you could go in depth about autistic people who need help doing cretin things like going to the bathroom,washing hair, remembering to eat, ect. You don't really hear about that much I and I would like to learn more about people with autism who have trouble with task that for most people are 'simple'. I often forget to eat/drink because i don't notice I'm hungry
Hi anon. This is a very big topic that is difficult for me to write about here, seeing as how every autistic person is different and will have different disabilities and difficulties.
There are lots of daily tasks that neurotypical and able bodied people tend to think of as simple or easy but that can pose real challenges for autistic, neuro-atypical, and disabled people. Many of these are what is known as “self care skills”. Personal hygiene (brushing ones teeth, showering/bathing, dressing, etc.) and basic homemaking (preparing food/meals, cleaning counters and sinks, sweeping/vacuuming, maintaining a tidy living environment, etc.) make up most of the “self care skills” people talk about.
There is a stigma surrounding those who, for whatever reason, need assistance or accommodation with self-care skills. This is partly because of a lack of understanding or empathy on the part of the able bodied/neurotypical majority. The able bodied/neurotypical thinking appears to be something like, “I learned to brush my teeth when I was four, and I have never had any trouble brushing my teeth, so idea of someone who does have trouble brushing their teeth is confusing/pitiable/unbelievable to me”.
I think another part of the stigma is that many of the self care skills people talk about were “supposed” to be learned and mastered in childhood. The able majority is all about the normative milestones, and there is a definite link in the average able/neurotypical person’s mind between the mastery of self care skills and adulthood. This means that disabled people who struggle with or who need accommodation to perform self care skills are often infantilized and presumed to be less competent overall, even in areas where they display no disabilities or challenges.
When it comes to autistic people specifically, there are many reasons that self care, like showering or remembering to eat or drink, might be difficult. In my mind the three biggest reasons are sensory processing issues (SPD), executive function issues (executive dysfunction), and comorbid conditions (other disorders or conditions that are also present).
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arinwolfe:The more I read the. More I want to cry because I’m not alone. I thought it was just me, that I was broken. ( not that I think anyone else that needs help is!)
(What follows is from the same post, it's my response)I know when I get “in the zone” on something, I tune everything else out. When I finally snap out of it, hours have passed and I’m hungry, have to pee, thirsty, and who knows what else. I had at least one instance of spending a whole 8 hours straight, no breaks, just drawing. Holy CRAP I felt horrible when I snapped out of that one. I try not to let myself stay in the zone that long.
As to everyday life, a lot of self-care things I just forget because I’ve gotten distracted. I get up and I’m like “Oh gotta do the thing,” but then I’m like, “Wait, gotta do this other thing first,” and then I forget about the first thing and do other stuff, then an hour later or so I remember again and we start the process all over again.
Then, too, depression plays a major role in my self-care issues, too. I keep my hair in braids so it doesn’t get tangled into rats nests at night, but a lot of mornings I don’t have the energy to comb them out and rebraid them, so I’ll either just leave them in, or just take them out and comb them, but not rebraid my pigtails; I leave that for some time before bed. But I don’t always have the energy to do it then, either.
And I don’t mean bored or anything like that, I mean I am fucking EXHAUSTED after combing out my hair and/or rebraiding it, especially my arms. The stamina my arms have for staying up in the air doing things is not very long. Frequent breaks are needed.
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This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1241357.html
You can comment either here or there.