Autistic people experience adversity to change. We find it hard to handle – or so the experts say. And yes, some of us do have a very hard time with change. Autism is often defined by an adversity to change and a need for adherence to rigid, strict routines but let’s explore this a bit more.
Yes, human beings can find it difficult to deal with change and Autistic people are people so therefore we too can find it difficult to manage change.
“Ah yeah but I don’t run screaming out the building when my lunch break is 5 minute delayed” I hear you say- meaning your ability to handle change is not as bad or deficient as an Autistic ability.
But this isn’t an Autistic thing- this is an anxiety thing and anxious people have a far harder time than non-anxious people when it comes to dealing with unexpected things, changes in routine and transitions at times. Unpredictable stuff is hard to handle when we are just about hanging on and need predictability because we are anxious, anxious and then some more anxious.
And we’re not anxious either coz of “autism” – this magic reason for every bad thing experienced by sensitive people- nope, we are anxious coz the world and the people in it treat us like crap most of the time. We’re excluded, othered, spoken down to, over and for. We are experimented on and abused. We are ridiculed for being honest, thoughtful, emotional.
We are excluded for thinking for ourselves and questioning and loving things deeply. We are studied like lab rats and subjected to all sorts of inhumane, grotesque “therapies” in an effort to cure or at least alleviate our deeply sensitive way of experiencing this world.
Is it really any wonder we have high levels of anxiety and stress?
And this is where it gets interesting…
We are sensitive- that’s what the science shows- Autistic people take in and process more information than less sensitive people.
What is this “information” that we process though?
Well, our sensors pick up on changes in our environment and we notice and process more of these changes than less sensitive people do.
So really we are actually extremely good at processing changes- we deal with more of it than other people do- so when you think about it really- Autistics are actually extremely well equipped to handle change and the fact that so many of us can’t deal with changes just shows exactly how messed up the world is for us… and it’s not that we can’t handle this world either- like all the other people manage to do- it’s that the world treats us way worse and that is hard for any person to handle.
So, ironically a community who have been labelled with a perceive terrible affliction of not being able to handle change are actively campaigning for change and have been for at least three decades because Autistics need change!! And part of this change is changing how others understand autism and change!