This is what I often hear from my little guy who loves routine. Having Asperger’s Syndrome can be a lot to handle sometimes. Routine or familiarity can make a world of difference in the day to day – one less thing to stress about while dealing with all the other input the world is throwing at you.
When he was little and life was changing so fast, we heard this phrase often. There were tantrums over the wrong peanut butter or an apple being cut up instead of whole. Never mind EVER having a babysitter or driving a different way home from the mall – that would be traumatizing!
It did get better. When he could read, we made up social stories, walking through what to expect and if that didn’t happen, what was next. And humour helped. Helping him see how ridiculous it was to stress over whether he had an apple or a plum in his lunch when I was going to give him a pineapple instead. Thank God for his great sense of humour!
What’s helped the most is having a strong foundation, a footing that let him safely take on the outside world. For our DS it was a trust in his parents and more often now, trust in himself to be able to handle the unexpected. We break it down and often say such things as “One of the great talents of our family is our amazing problem solving ability.” or “This sounds like a job for Super-Kid!” With this, he is getting better at how to deal with the unexpected – most days.
The funny thing is how much we say “That’s NOT what I expected!” to each other now. “What?! We’re out of coffee?! That’s not what I was expecting!!!” It puts it all in perspective. I think most people can handle the good, bad and ugly in life much better when they know what to expect. We just do it more automatically than some people with learning challenges.