June 2022 Sunset

Reflections: When the Internet goes out, What do you do?

A few weeks ago, central service lines to a neighboring broadband provider were severed, thus incapacitating broadband and TV services for a majority of the county in which I reside.There have also been instances of power outages in order to upgrade services in some areas in recent weeks. Although I have been mostly spared by these outages, I have begun to think as many autistics are technology dependent for the sole purpose of entertainment and information, it is imperative to have a “back-up” plan should that ever happen.

I am no casualty to power outages where I have lost the capacity to have my broadband, instead I have had to rely on my mobile data to get by. This is one of the reasons I choose to have an unlimited data plan on my cell phone (and in order to have streaming music when necessary without the fear of that ability being severed.)

In many cases, the autistic mind can only see that things like the Internet, TV, etc. that are dependent on these things are just things that just have to work. When they have become dependent on these things as their sole method of entertaining themselves, it can develop issues when outages occur where they can be easily irritated. It in turn further infuriates the atmosphere of those around them because of their irritability and reaction of a negative manner because of their inability to entertain themselves digitally and feed themselves on information.

Therefore, when visiting places for an extended period of time, I often carry a “sensory bag” that contains many things in order to keep myself entertained, including necessary portable power supplies and a older tablet that is routinely updated but has apps that do not need to the capability of Internet for in instances I would need to need to entertain myself when there is no other option available to do so. Having these options readily available provides me with the options needed when I am on the go to keep myself engaged and not retaliate towards others for something that is beyond their control.

It is imperative that when these instances occur that a fair demeanor is maintained. Not only as autistics have become dependent on the the ability to connect to the Internet as a means of communication and entertainment, many businesses and individuals also rely on the same means for doing so and as such when they are unable to acquire the things that they are used to in order to routinely enjoy their life, they also become irritable.

However in many instances unlike autistic individuals, they are able to maintain a good temperament about it and not react as deeply as many autistic individuals do as a result of being without something that seems like the world to them and just has to work, in their opinion. Many times, they do not see any other option than to have things that they are used to, and they want it back in short order because they can also be dependent on the services for the execution of their daily routine as we know is something that many autistics thrive on daily. I too often start my day off utilizing broadband to some capacity and while in some instances some of the products I depend on will arrive via mail later in the day, I just have to be in the know about getting things done. However, I can at times be patient and retract to sources I have saved that do not require the resources of technology in order to keep myself entertained until the services are restored. 

It is all how you see things, you can make the best of it and make do with the situation at hand or choose to be miserable by not addressing the white elephant in the room and working at best in engaging the autistic individual in order to prevent a meltdown from occurring at these instances which in turn will build them up to for maturity and understanding when things cannot happen in the way that we think they are to. Again, it is making the best of the opportunity.

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