What is Aspergers?
It is often thought that individuals with autism spectrum disorders, such as aspies, need rigid structure and routines for daily life to be less stressful (for the aspie as well as parents, teachers, etc.). This is certainly true in many ways! The brains of aspies work harder to make sense of things that non-aspies process automatically, like social interactions, facial expressions, and body language. So, routines are familiar and comfortable, and give the aspie brains less work to do. Changes in routine can sometimes cause a sensory (brain processing) overload similar to rush-hour traffic gridlock, which can result in a meltdown of some sort. So, yes, structure and routine are very crucial in the lives of aspies.
Sometimes, though, it’s change:
On the flip side, in some ways, many aspies crave seeing, hearing, touching, or feeling something new. Being in the same environment for hours and days can create a restless need for something new. Many non-aspies can get bored, but this need for sensory stimuli is different for aspies. The expression “deafening silence,” probably describes it well – sometimes the complete absence of sound can be almost painful! For aspies, the mundane routine of daily living can become “deafening,” so they may crave a new environment, new sounds, new smells, new scenery.
In the video blog below, Abby, our 11 yr old aspie, tells us a little us about this: