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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Confusion

By Sarah Matincheck

Being confused can be well, confusing! And you don’t always know exactly what made you feel confused sometimes. Being autistic, I have found that being confused can put you on a wild roller coaster that mostly only goes fast. And not many people like feeling confused. It can put them in a weird place that they feel awkward in.

Blogger Sarah Matinchek’s identifier for the How I See It series includes her name, the series name and a dolphin avatar.For me, feeling confused can make me feel very anxious. I try hard to process what’s going on – I don’t know what I’m doing, or why there was a last-minute change in plans. I start to question why and how something happened. Before working with a behavioral therapist, I would freak out and try so hard to calm back down from being anxious. I worked at it. I learned ways to stay calm, and that I need to try to pay close attention to what’s happening around me. And it works!

When I get too confused I start to stutter a little and talk too fast. At dance class, where I took lessons and taught preschoolers, that sometimes happened to me. As one of the oldest students there, I was expected to memorize my routines in addition to all of the pre-school routines. I would get so confused! I wanted to show my dance instructor that I could do it, but sometimes I would get carried away and felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, and that is not a good feeling. It’s one of the feelings that no one wants to feel in life, but no matter how hard you try not to be confused, it just happens.

No one likes to feel confused or to try really hard at something and admit defeat. I’ve learned how to be honest and to admit when I’m feeling confused, and to ask for help when I need it. When you ask for help, you’re being responsible.

Take advantage of opportunities to ask for help. We all want to prove that we can do things on our own and not to want to be seen as helpless, or as someone who can’t be as independent as others. But this is true for everyone. Teenagers and young adults are often confused but don’t want to admit it to others. I find growing up to be a roller-coaster with a million twists & turns, ups & downs, going side-to-side with fast unexpected stops that take you by surprise. I’ve been on that roller coaster and it’s not fun. But the good news is that you can sometimes stop the roller coaster by admitting you are confused and asking for help.

At school, I’ve had to tell my teachers so that they understand why I keep to myself, why I ask so many questions, and why I work alone. I’ve self-advocated. For me, that’s when the roller coaster finally stopped (or at least slowed down some!).

Thanks for reading!
Until next time –
Sarah