Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Plans and Routines

There's an idea that autistic people depend heavily on routines and/or plans. Sometimes it's even true. I like routines because the less I need to think about my schedule, the better, but I also like to know what's coming. The easiest way I've found to meet both of those desires is to just do approximately the same thing each day or each week.

There's a few bits of nuance I'd like to point out though. The first is that plans and routines are different things. You can have (or break) one without the other, which tends to be how I figure out that two things 1) are different and 2) don't have one as a subset of the other.

Example of breaking a routine because of a plan:
Normally, I eat my meals at the International Engineering Program House. (It's my meal plan.) This Thursday, I am not going to eat lunch or dinner there, which is a break in my routine, because I'm going to Crossingscon! (that's a plan.)

Example of going back to a routine because of a broken plan:
Last semester, I normally went to a club meeting at 6pm on Tuesdays. I thought I had to meet with a student one Tuesday at 6pm, so I wasn't going to go to the club meeting (that's a plan.) When the student cancelled (broken plan), I went to the club meeting (back to routine, but not what was planned.)

One of these I'm completely fine with, and it's not the one where I'm following a routine. It's the one where I'm following a plan: I know what's going to happen, not (just) what's happened in the past. The other? I had trouble both during and after the club meeting even though a focus on routine might lead you to believe I'd be fine.

And yes, plans and routines can relate: if I have a routine, the idea that I'm going to continue having that routine becomes a plan, either implicitly or explicitly. (At least for a certain duration. I know full well that routines change from one semester to another. Classes change and club meeting times change, and that's not an issue because I know what classes I'm taking, when I'm taking them, and where they meet. I've got a plan.)

It's also possible to break both at once, and then I'm really in trouble: When I was studying in Tianjin, my class took a trip to Jingdezhen. I knew that was coming, so that was a (planned) change in routine but not a change in plans. When we got back, however, I had to switch from the travel routine back to the classes routine (change in routine) and they changed our tutors without warning (change in plans.) They also changed our groups for the small group classes and which teacher had the big group class vs. the small group classes, again without warning. That was a bad week, which ended with my melting down in class.

I mostly like routine because when I have a routine, I don't need to think as much about what I'm doing next. It's nice, but not having one is OK, and having it change (with enough time to plan) is fine too. I mostly like plans because I like knowing what's coming. I'd generally rather have one, but I'd much prefer not having one at all to having one changed at the last minute. I can cope with not having a plan. I don't do well at all with having plans changed with little to no warning. The worst thing is a last minute change in plans that is also a break in routine, even though the broken routine wouldn't have been an issue if I'd known it was coming. 

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