In the Beatles’ classic song ‘A Day in the Life’, the lyrics contain ‘Woke up. Fell out of bed.’ That song was running through my head as I contemplated today’s post. So I am going to look at a day in the life of an Aspergian.
Woke up. Fell out of bed. – The start of the day may be troublesome. Some Aspergians have issues waking up and meeting the morning obligations. It’s a fight and everyone starts to dread mornings. I know we did. Mornings consisted of waking up the boy, he would fall back to sleep, rewake the boy and stand there until he was mobile, verify he was dressed, issues with what he was eating for breakfast, arguments over lunch, and when the car was leaving for school.
How to handle this? We resolved many of the issues by doing as many tasks the night before. All papers were reviewed and signed the previous night. Lunches were prepared in the evening and stored in the fridge. Breakfast choices were all simple ones that could be prepared by anyone. Clothing choices were made in the evening all well. Other than waking up, dressing, eating, and leaving, the mornings had no necessary tasks. Oddly enough, waking him up a little earlier worked better since he could get anything he NEEDED to get done and have time for a computer game.
Found my way upstairs – At work or at school, it’s a perilous time. Sensory overload issues abound. The kids in class may be chattering, whistling, or making some noise which drives an Aspergian nuts. They may hear the element in fluorescent lights whining like a fly against the window. At work, people may be eating in the work area, and the smells distracting to all.
How to handle this? Hopefully, parents have set up a plan with the school to support their Aspergian child in times of sensory overload. A safe place to go to and chill, a weighted vest, there are ways to relax. For the adult Aspergian, many companies allow their workers to wear headphones which help to filter the sounds.
I read the news today, oh boy – Home. It’s supposed to be home sweet home, but it often isn’t. Especially if homework is involved. Many Aspergians have problems completing their school work. There may be residual stress from the school day that carries over into the evening and associated work. The homework may be boring and they don’t see the need to complete it. They may have underlying issues with reading, writing, or math that cause them to shy away from doing the work.
How to handle this? My son wouldn’t write, you couldn’t get him to try. After testing, we found out that he had great weakness in his hands. He had OT and increased the strength in his hands and he found that writing wasn’t so hard and his results were better.
I went into a dream – To sleep, perchance to dream. Many Aspergians cannot get to sleep easily. Their ever spinning minds don’t wind down easily. Which sets up issues for tomorrow morning.
How to handle this? We set up a schedule that reduced the amount of stimulation for my son as the evening went on. No fluids after a certain time, no screen time (the monitor/screen actually stimulates the brain) after a certain time, a warm bath or shower, and a story. The slower routine and consistent routine helped. So did giving him melatonin, an over the counter medicine that can aid in falling asleep (ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE ADDING OR CHANGING MEDS, EVEN OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS).
Life with Aspergers can be complex, but can be handled, with lots and lots of planning.