An Autistic Perspective on Autism & Routine



A special thank you for the Transcriptions go out to Patreon subscriber, Kara – thanks Kara! You are amazing!!!

Hey everyone. I hope you are all having a wonderful week so far. 

So, for this week’s video, I wanted to talk a little bit about routines, or you know they say, “rituals and routines.”  Often, medical professionals and companies will pathologize the autistic “attachment to routine.” And that can be eating the same foods every day for every meal, or that can be doing your morning routine in the same order every day or just, you know whenever, just having a very specific way of doing things.

When I would go to the office, I used to have a very specific way I would have to set everything on my desk before I started work because it just didn’t feel right until it was set up.  So, I just wanted to share a little bit about my perspective on this because it hurts a little bit that I hear this pathologized so much.  Because for me, I have sometimes, well no, not sometimes, I have issues with my working memory (sometimes called executive functioning). It’s like, for example, when I’m shampooing and conditioning my hair in the shower, I do little visual things to help me know what step I’m on because I don’t remember.  Did I shampoo already twice?  Did I condition?  So, I’ll move the bottle around in the shower as I do each step, so that I know what step that I’m on.  But then, I always do that; it’s like a routine.  My routine in the morning that helps me stay organized is that I tend to kind of get ready and do everything in the same order, so I don’t forget a step.  I have all my stuff out visually, and I put it away as I finish with it.  It helps me know what step I’m on.  But really, just doing the things in the same order everyday helps me just to be more organized. 

I always try to find the most efficient way to do something and then that becomes my routine, because I’m like “Oh, this is the best way, so I’ll just do it this way every time.”  It’s the same thing with going to work.  Every now and then I’ll try to make myself mix it up and go a different route, but really (ooh, I’m just like, feeling uncomfortable here just thinking about it).  I do it every day, every now and then, because I know it’s good for me, but I like to just drive the same route to work every day because I know how to get there.  It’s just so familiar to me; I can just be relaxed and drive, and it’s not stressful.  It’s just helping to minimize chaos in my life by sticking to a routine. 

Other tendencies, like sometimes when I get really into one food and I will eat that food every meal, every day, for a long time; that’s not so good.  I understand nutrition, but sometimes just having that one meal that you can count on and is comforting, and you know is going to taste good when you have sensory issues.  Sometimes things that taste good one day might be wrong in your mouth the next day; if there is something you know is a good go-to food that you can always count on even when your sensory issues are aggravating you and your taste buds and your … it’s just so nice to have the food that you know will never let you down.

So anyway, those are just a few thoughts and just personal perspectives on “ritual” they say, “rituals and routines” and how I use that to stay organized, and like I said earlier, to just really minimize chaos in my day.  It just helps me have a calmer day.

So anyway, let me know.  Do you have certain routines that you use to help keep yourself organized, or do you use routines?  Let me know in the comments.  I’m always interested in hearing your feedback.  I put out new videos every Wednesday, so be sure to subscribe and turn on notifications so you don’t miss it.  I will talk to you all next week.  Bye!




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8 thoughts on “An Autistic Perspective on Autism & Routine

  1. great video! I think routines are ok! Don’t let anyone pathologise it! You are doing what people do! Just because you have autism, don’t let anyone tell you its abnormal, yes autistics may do things in a more set way, but everyone has a routine!

  2. Wonderful! Thank you, Christa.

    There are so many steps to getting ready in the morning that I always have to do things in pretty much the same order or else I’ll end up forgetting to do something – or doing it twice, or taking twice as long. Routine is definitely useful at the start of the day.

    And when I walk into university, for instance, I almost always follow exactly the same route, although there are other ways I could go that aren’t really any longer. I’d rather go with the familiar and predictable than have a bit of variety (in that context anyway).

    Routine is good. 🙂

  3. I don’t understand why this is pathologized either–because establishing routines is precisely what organization experts advise clients to do! The next doctor who complains that you’re too attached to routine, tell them to go check out And put down “routine expert” as another career possibility for autistic people. Reframe it as a strength, and pathologize doctors’ cluelessness of the world outside their field as living in a bubble.

  4. Here I thought you were going to talk about how difficult it is to keep a routine. On reading it I remembered all the things I did to be functional when I was young and working. Now I have difficulty on daily basis, but I did rely on familiar routines to keep going. Yup, same way to work every day, although I would wander around on the way home, checking side roads to make sure I could get there if the main road was closed. I am in no way a day person, so I had to get everything I was going to wear to work out the night before, and even try on things to make sure they fit. Clothes, jewelry, hair clips, shoes, purse. Sometimes even the make-up. Yup, had my things placed and ready to go at work too. At home I was messy but knew where everything was, at least in a general way. Once I could no longer work, my routines and life dissolved into a gloppy mess.I have to take multiple medications throughout the day, so I’ve finally set a routine to sort them out at the beginning of the day into separate containers, I have to sort them in a certain way. Cell phones are wonderful little timers, at each alarm I know what I need to take, if I forget whether I’ve taken it or not, I can check my little pill boxes. A good post, It’s making me think about all the routines I do have in place instead of beating myself up for the routines I don’t have down yet.

  5. Routines are helpful for ALL people. I’ve taken medication twice a couple of times. Routines makes sure that rarely happens. It’ll take me out four hours to recover.

    As for the food, it just makes us feel good. Just make sure if you’re stuck on Hostes Ding Dongs that you at least take some protein supplement in your milk or something so you stay healthy.

  6. A courageous confession. Thank you for sharing this to raise our awareness towards autism. I have schizophrenia and I have a habit of listening to the same few songs for weeks or months. I feel safe this way. Feel reluctant to explore new songs 😁

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