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Change can be difficult for an Autistic person…


The Autistic Teacher

Change is a constant part of life, and for many of us, it can be challenging to navigate. As an autistic person, change can be particularly difficult, but it's important to approach this topic in a neuro-affirming way. Change is hard for me, not because of any limitations, but because of the way my brain processes and responds to new situations. It's a natural part of my neurodiversity, and it's important for others to understand and respect that.


Anxiety

Autistic individuals often have a strong preference for routine and predictability. This is not a flaw, but often a way of coping with high levels of anxiety and organising the chaos around us. When that routine is disrupted, it can cause stress and anxiety as our world that we have built to feel safe and secure is shaken. Understanding this can foster empathy and support rather than judgment.


Sensory Input

Sensory sensitivities are another significant factor in why change can be hard for me. The world is full of sensory stimuli that can be overwhelming, and changes in routine or environment can exacerbate these sensitivities. There are new things to process and understand which can become overwhelming all at once. This can impact my ability to adapt easily to new situations.


Communication

Communication differences also play a role in the challenges of change. As an autistic person, I may process and express information differently. Phone-calls can be challenging. Verbal communication confusing. Being patient, clear, and giving me time to process each step can help me to navigate change.


Change can be good!

It's also important for me to remember that change is not inherently bad. While it may be difficult, it can also bring about growth and new opportunities.


Respect

In a neuro-affirming approach, the focus is not on "fixing" the challenges of change, but on understanding and accommodating them. It's about creating a world that embraces neurodiversity and recognises the value of different cognitive styles. Instead of expecting me to conform to neurotypical standards of flexibility, it's about acknowledging and respecting the way my brain functions.


Be inclusive

Change may be hard for me, but it doesn't define my abilities or worth. It's simply a part of my neurodivergent experience, and by fostering understanding and support, we can create a world where change is approached with empathy and affirmation for all individuals, regardless of their neurocognitive makeup.


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