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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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Growth and Goals

By Out-of-Sync Woman
 Having plans I’m working towards helps me achieve goals. It’s not enough to just desire something. A timeline with small, simple steps so I don’t get overwhelmed makes it easier to meet my objectives. I’m going on vacation with my friends and I’m having a cat sitter come to my home daily. I want my apartment to be clean and organized before I leave for my trip. I need to budget how much I can spend so I don’t overspend money mindlessly. In addition, I need to wash my clothes and have them ready to pack. I can’t forget what I’m responsible for bringing to share as well.
 Counting them up, I have three goals I want to accomplish before I leave with my friends for the beach. I have a lot of reasons that I need to think ahead as I have difficulty with executive functioning. The best way to describe executive functioning is thinking about a conductor for a symphony telling each section when to play, how long to play, and when to stop playing. “My conductor” sometimes falls asleep at the job so the flutes are playing when the drums are supposed to play. So this is a nice image but what does it really mean for me? I have difficulty making schedules, organizing items, and figuring out how long things will take to do. I’m easily distracted like the dog in the movie “Up” from Pixar Studios. This means that getting ready for this trip is real work and that I really have to pay attention to get everything done.
 Another issue is that I have problems being obsessive-compulsive which means getting stuck doing the same thing over and over again. For example, checking to see if I locked the door before I leave my apartment. I try to do this only once and then move on. It takes me longer to get things done which is not a problem, but I can’t do things last minute. Learning to take that into account saves me a lot of frustration and embarrassment. Sometimes though I don’t always take this into account and I end up being late or not being able to finish what I hoped to accomplish. I try not to beat myself up and to learn from the experience.
 I almost forgot that I need to factor in my anxiety and depression since that can impact how much I get done in a day. Some days getting dressed and ready is all I get accomplished because it’s not just what’s going on in my head it’s also how my body feels. When my anxiety and depression are high, I feel sick, headachy, too hot, and have an upset stomach. In addition, when my anxiety kicks up, I’m doing everything in slow motion as if I’m in the mud. So to give myself a few extra days to prepare if possible is really helpful.
Understanding my limitations and the areas that I need to work on has taken my all of my life to figure out. It wasn’t something I woke up one day knowing all by myself. It wasn’t enough to learn about myself; I also needed to be able to use the information in practical, everyday ways. Furthermore, I had to work on my jealousy issues in which I believed other people had it easier or better than me. I have found that comparing myself to others isn’t helpful or useful and leaves me in a bad place emotionally.
These days I’m concentrating on what I’m grateful for in my life. I’m happy that I have the ability and independence to be able to make plans and follow through with them. I’m overjoyed that I have friends to spend time with and go on trips with. Overall, my life is good and I’m quite thankful for that. Best wishes to my readers to have fun and be safe this summer.