Reflections: The Importance of A Routine

One of the major facets of autism is the fact that many thrive off of routines. Having and following a routine can also provide a sense of comfort and wellness for getting through the day and staying well. Not adhering to the said routine can cause challenges for autistics and those around them.

Autistics have a varying degree of adherence to routines. For some it has to be so rigid that there can be no wiggle room and any disturbance to the flow of operations can cause the person to react negatively. It can cause their energy to flow onto others and change the way things are as a whole.Others, like me for example, just can have things that I know need to be done, yet some can have no order, while others must be done in a certain way. For me, the start of the morning routine can be important to have a shower and be dressed has to come first before anything else. Some people feel like the bed has to be made, but for me I feel as if that can be a lesser priority than some of the more interesting things of my routine. Included in this is the importance of eating meals and taking my medicine. I have learned that it is important to do those two things within their desirable timeframes. 

Many autistics have a desire for those that know them to respect their routines as they are a sacred piece of them thriving through a life that can be very challenging when the rest of the world does not have as clear or as rigid a makeup of the way things must be completed. Life is challenging for anyone in the current world and this is no exception for autistics. In fact, it can be more complex and challenging to the point it causes overload and burnout, of which the simplest distracting from the rigidity of their routine can further challenge them causing a possible negative reaction that could ultimately provide a less desirable situation for those around them. 

It can be hard for the neurotypical populace to understand the importance of the routine of the autistic person. It is like their safety blanket. It is something that is guaranteed to happen and when it does not go according to plan, it can produce anxiety, anger, and other negative outcomes where one can automatically jump to the worse case scenario or want to develop options for making the unpleasantness that they are experiencing better by developing a better scenario whether or not if that is possible. In that moment of their distress, all they can think about is getting back to their regularly scheduled routine. 

That can likely be why autistics can relate and have a deep interest in trains, as I do have some interest as well. They stay on a track and they are conducted to follow a time schedule and make planned stops. Trains (for the most part) are routinistic in nature and when things happen, it can be a very disturbing and tragic thing, like it makes a headline or the news when the train does not move according to plan, comes off the track, anything basically to not make it follow the plan set by the engineer or conductor. 

While we as a community worldwide have been taught many things over the past few years, it has taught us that we need to be aware that things happen. Moreso, for the autistic community it has started to season us better to the effect that while we like our routines, we must understand the importance of the need to be more flexible in our daily lives for things that we must adapt to because of the world we live in. While we may not desire what we have to endure, it must be understood that the world is just not made for the autistic community and as such the neurotypical community has a duty to be kind to individuals that are struggle with changes with their daily routines because someone may be challenged when things do not go according to plan..

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