It appears quite a few of you are enjoying my little ramblings about all things Autistic so, I thought I'd treat you to a few more! AREN'T YOU LUCKY!!
I got to thinking about Autistic culture and the way that things are done differently within the Autistic community (MY community) and how Autistic households adapt and change to the differening needs of multiple ND people under one roof….
One of the simplest and most useful things to adopt, I think personally, would be ENERGY ACCOUNTING.
SPOONS, SPORKS, RUNNING ON EMPTY, BATTERY IS LOW…
What does it mean?
Where did it come from?
How can we introduce it into our family life?
The Spoons theory was created by a lady called Christine Miserandino and is a popular way of disabled people describing their limited energy using a spoon as a unit of energy.
So, for example, Little Nicola is 14, she attends a mainstream secondary school. She is on the edge of burnout, masking profusely at school, trying not to stand out and be noticed as different, fawning heavily in an effort to be good and get good grades…. All day there are people, smells, busy corridors, demands, school work, social situations that make no sense. She's surrounded by NT peers and people that don't understand her, nor does she understand them so she feels lonely (double empathy more on that later). It's quite frankly hell…. When she gets home, she's so overloaded that she's unable to talk much, she just want's to go to her bedroom and regulate by playing her game and hiding under her weighted blanket.
Mum is worried and questioning "do you want some food? Are you feeling depressed? Talk to me about your feelings, Can I do anything for you? Don't forget your homework" etc etc etc.
Mum is doing what any other worried parent would do in this situation. However, Nicola doesn't know how she feels because she's alexithymic, she doesn't feel hungry because she has undersensitive interoception…. What even IS depression? All these questions are taking spoons she doesn't have…. Nicola snaps at Mum….
What's happening here is that Nicola has no spoons left, not that she doesn't want to interact with Mum of course she does…. She doesn't have the energy or the language to be able to express how she feels…infact she woke up with very few spoons this morning, and now she's running on sporks (we move onto sporks when we're out of spoons, they're like spoons but spikey).
All Nicola had to say to Mum is "Mum, I'm out of spoons." Immediately Mum would know what that meant and that she needed to be alone to regulate. This would have avoided guilt, explanation, snapping, worry, and so much more…
You don't even have to use the spoon theory if you don't want to… some people use a visual representation of a phone battery!
It's just a handy way of communicating that we have very little energy with not much effort.
Hope that helps
Much Love Tanya <3
Side note – Many issues have been raised in this post and I don't have the space to cover them all right here. None of which can be fixed with energy accounting alone …. It just goes some way towards helping communicate what's going on.
To learn more about energy accounting from the fabulous Jodie Smitten -
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