The #AspieAuthor Guide to Travel


Or, how I make flying easier on myself as an aspie.

I’ve traveled a lot in m life, and have learned the hard way that it can be very painful for myself to fly. So here’s a list of things I do to help myself.  It’s not comprehensive, but…it might help you.

– Purchase ticket online early.

I know I find being seated either by the window or aisle works best. I don’t like sitting in the middle and I prefer to be in the front of the plane as opposed to the back.

By getting my ticket early, it means I have a better chance of selecting the perfect seat.

– Arrive Early.

It allows me to check in early, get to the gate early and get through security without a crowd.

– Getting Through Security

Take off all jewelry, things from my pockets, etc and put in the front pocket of my carry-on backpack.  Wear sneakers that I can easily slide on and off.  Don’t wear a belt.

– Check in online if possible(or at the kiosk inside the airport).

Means no lines, no drama, no having to talk to people at counter.

– Headphones.

Bring headphones and an iPod (or kindle or tablet).  Even if I’m not listening to music, it looks like I am.

– Distractions.

I always bring a back-pack on the plane with me.  I put a change of clothes (or all my clothes I’m bringing if it’s short trip), notebooks, pens, books and fidget toys.  If the flight is long, I’m going to need them.

– Clothes.

Dress in my most comfortable clothing.  I’m not there to impress perfect strangers.  I’m trying to get through a stressful thing without a meltdown.  Ensuring my clothing is comfortable is one less thing to worry about.

– On the subject of packing.

Check the TSA guidelines out carefully for carry-on luggage. Nothing stresses me out more than getting something wrong and having to throw stuff out to get through security.

– Food/Water

Wait to buy water/snacks until you get through security. There’s always little stores/restaurants near the gates.

– Reserve Energy

I know people are going to talk to me either on the plane, or at the gate.  It’s going to happen.  So have a quiet evening the night before, indulge in my special interests to recharge my batteries so I’m capable of handling it.

– Lotion

Keep lotion handy in backpack.  My hands get itchy and can cause sensory overload. Lotion helps that quite a bit.

– Remember to say Thank You.

It goes a long way with airline employees. Be polite.

Seems silly to remind myself of that, but I’ve found as an Aspie, sometimes I get lost in my head and social niceties don’t come naturally to me.  I’m not trying to be rude, I just don’t always remember that I should say things like good morning, etc.



A Friendship Guide


I think I’m going to start giving this out to my friends.

How to nurture a friendship with me, your friendly neighborhood autistic.

1. Remember that my brain works differently, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work at all, and it doesn’t mean I’m not human.

2. Remember that I find you as difficult to understand as you find me.

3. Vaccines didn’t cause my autism.

4. You are not a little autistic, unless you are actually autistic.  You claiming to be what I am, isn’t showing empathy.  It’s brushing under the rug the things I deal with.

5. Don’t hug me unless you know for 100% certainty that I’m okay with physical contact from you.

6. If I’m not talking, it’s not personal, I might’ve just reached my social engagement limit for the day.

7. Yes, certain sounds really do bother me as badly as I act like they do.

8. I’m not throwing a temper tantrum.  I am having a meltdown because I have gotten so much input, my brain can no longer process anything.

9. I would love to talk about my special interests and obsessions with you.

10. Don’t promise me you’re going to do something then not do it.

And most importantly, remember that I’m an actual person with feelings and emotions.  I might not always understand them, but I have them.  I need friends just as much as a neurotypical does.  It’s just a little (or a lot) harder for me to find, make and keep them.

I need friendships which are reciprocal with people who are patient and understanding.


Autism Acceptance

ebook and books IIApril brings along a time which many autistics find incredibly uncomfortable due to Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue campaign.  While I am a very firm supporter of Autism acceptance, I am NOT a supporter of Autism speaks.  There’s a brilliant article here that explains far better than I could ever do:

From Neurotribes.

So…how can you show your acceptance of the autistics in your life without support an organization that has never shown acceptance?  Here’s a few tips:

– keep your voice low.

– include us in your invitations to parties & social gatherings, but don’t pressure us.  Take no at face value.

– ask before hugging.

– don’t wear strong perfume or cologne.

– understand we don’t stim to embarrass you, we stim because it is necessary.

– we’re not always aware of what conversations are socially acceptable, and we often forget how a conversation is supposed to flow.  We aren’t being self-absorbed or disrespectful, our brains jsut don’t trigger on the social cues which others do.

When is a joke a joke?


Aspies tend to take things literally.  We tend to have trouble determine if someone is being facetious or not.  Satire is another thing that occasionally goes over my head, probably why I don’t care for sites like the Onion.

We also, unfortunately, get taken advantage of quote often.  We have a tendency towards naivety.  It’s compounded by the fact that without a diagnosis, it’s hard to understand that there’s something different about how our minds work.

Even those without nefarious (such a great word) intentions can accidentally confuse someone who is autistic.

Things I have learned to do to help myself:

– if a news article or report is forwarded to me, I do my own research before ‘believing’ it.

– I ask questions if I’m not sure if someone is teasing me or not.

– I also politely ask my friends not to tease me about certain types of things which confuse me.

– I wait to laugh at a joke until other people are laughing.  Nothing worse than laughing inappropriately.

– I unfollow(online) or step back from (in the real world) people who refuse to respect the boundaries that I need in my life.



I love silence.

When things are silent, there are no quiet sounds driving me to the edge of sensory overload.  No little noises that it feels like I’m the only one who hears them, which makes me feel like I’m a little insane.  I spend long minutes hunting around for the source of the sound just to prove to myself that it’s really there.

There’s not enough silence in the world for me at times.

Sensory overload is exhausting.

It’s like the quiet sounds no one else hears are so loud it’s a physical assault on my sense.

Can you imagine what loud sounds are like?

It’s like someone standing beside you screaming in your ear while at the same time hitting you in the side of the head.

There’s not enough silence in the world.

Cracked, but not broken.

Tea bowl fixed in the Kintsugi method

Different should not equal defective or wrong.

Neurotypical shouldn’t equal perfection.

Nothing and no one is perfect in this world.

I feel like Aspies(and neuroatypical’s in general) are like Kintsugi.  It’s the Japanese art form where they take broken pottery and instead of tossing it, fix it with gold, silver or platinum lacquer, turning it into something which is even more beautiful than the original.

That’s an Aspie.

We’re a little cracked, but our uniqueness is the gold lacquer which puts us back together into something special.

I like that.

I like the imagery.

The Art of Compromise


The hard part about being married to a neurotypical is sometimes my husband forgets that ‘simple’ things are incredibly stressful for me at times.   And then he forgets that at times, I need to indulge in my hobbies/obsessions to rediscover my calm and let go of stress.

Relationships in general are about compromise I suppose, but even more so when you have someone on the autism spectrum and an NT involved.

Going out at night is a huge stress trigger for me, but my hubby really wanted to go out last night.  I made the compromise of going out, knowing that today I’d like have what I like to call ‘Aspie headaches.’

Aspie headaches are what happen when I’ve experienced sensory overload of some sort or another, or gone out an been ‘social.’  I usually need a day to recover.  I find watching a favourite TV show (The Tudors or As Time Goes By) helps with the process.

It’s simply one of those things I have to do to be in a relationship.  I can’t always say ‘no, I don’t want to go out,’ because that isn’t fair to my husband.  So, like most Aspies in the NT world, I work at finding ways to cope.