Consider this post a Public Service Announcement.

As the parent of an adult child with Autism, I have learned that changes can be hard. If we rearranged the living room, she would be upset and want to return the furniture to where it had previously been. She is still upset with us for painting the sea foam green walls in our apartment white back in 2007. We don’t exactly love the tears and bad moods that go along with changes in our household. But we do love her and work with her on accepting change. Sometimes it is a matter of attempting to include her in the choices surrounding the pending change; she can choose between two paint colors we’ve narrowed it down to or she can come with us to select which room will be hers if we are buying a new house.  She shares my minimalist taste in most decorative things, although I usually maintain veto power on things like bright purple rugs and large posters of whatever animated superhero she is currently excited about.

We have been painting the house for the last ten days or so, packing things into boxes to get them out of the way and donating things we don’t use anymore to Mission Arlington. These changes are making for some gnarly mood swings. Twice she asked my friend, Terri, to “please go away” when she was here helping me paint. This last time, Terri thought ahead and brought cheese pizza when she came. My daughter decided she could stay.

Changes are hard for all of us. For people with Autism, it can be a trigger for several bad days in a row. If you’re working or living or schooling with someone who is on the spectrum, try to be patient when they are in distress over changes to their regular routine. Change disorients people and can make them feel uncomfortable and lost and uncertain of themselves and the world around them. Taking the time to explain the change ahead of time, if possible, will sometimes prepare them and make for a slightly less anxious situation.


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