Photo of Lyric, a fair skinned multiracial human in their mid 30s, with short hair and shaved sides, in their RV, in front of a TV that has Disney's Cars and Lightning McQueen smiling on the screen behind them.

Autistic “Insistence on Sameness”… or Comfort in Familiarity?

#ActuallyAutistic #AskingAutistics – do you have comfort movies, shows, or songs?

There are many Autistic stereotypes that I (like many Autistic People) won’t fit into because people are more complex and varied than stereotypes are. However, because Autistics are also defined in a particular medical context, there are stereotypes that I (and many of us) will fit from time to time.

One Autistic trait I fit was the kid who repeatedly watched the same movie (or scene of a film) or song (or small section of a piece).

In addition to being Autistic, I also am ADHD (combined type). Being an Autistic ADHDer (or AuDHD) means I am of two conflicting “brains.” The “Autistic Brain” likes routine, predictability, and sameness, and the ADHD brain is always dopamine searching, looking for entertainment like an insatiable itch.

To feed both wolves (brains), I constantly search for the perfect balance of predictable novelty (or dopamine) seeking, engaging in hobbies I can attain thrill through mastery and repetitive practice—music, skating, kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, and physical exercise. These hobbies scratch an itch, always nagging and hungry for more, even when tired.

Sometimes I scratch this itch by watching one of my comfort movies (movies I can watch over and over again and still enjoy) or by listening to songs I’ve heard so many times I can play them back in my head, every lyric and note from start to finish.

Today, as we sit in an undisclosed parking lot, one of my favorite comfort movies, Disney’s Cars, plays in the background as I write this piece. Like a song I love and get enough of, I’ve played this movie more times than I can count, memorizing the lines, visuals, and scenes.

Photo of Lyric, a fair skinned multiracial human in their mid 30s, with short hair and shaved sides, in their RV, in front of a TV that has Disney's Cars and Lightning McQueen smiling on the screen behind them.

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13 thoughts on “Autistic “Insistence on Sameness”… or Comfort in Familiarity?

  1. hello nd-rebel,

    i’d like to respond to some stuff i’ve read on your blog. I hope you wont feel offended by this, it in not my intention. ( i noticed that several autistic people running blogs do not publish my comments, much less give me a public reply. )


    you mention that many autistic people don’t fix into stereotypes.

    Well, that’s because of what stereotypes are, rough shortcuts into personality instead of giving the whole picture, it’s like a cartooncharacter, it’s flat, one dimensional.
    Just about NO ONE fits into a stereotype, not just autistic people.


    your ‘About’ banner yells:
    A society that values assimilation over individuality.

    With you being part of a minority, i can understand you’re pretty angry, yell at society out there,
    i notice the same struggle going on inside your head, since you tell us you have both adHd and autism, whith adhd resembling uniqueness (watching a new movie every time) and autism resembling assimilation / sameness (only watching known, predictable scenes).
    I guess the notable difference would be that there will not be verbal and physical violence inside your head.

    you mention:

    “explores the ideology of Neurodiversity”,

    but how can neurologically determined characteristics (e.g. asd, adhd, synesthesia, down-syndrome or high-intelligence, righthandedness, to name but some )

    be called an ideology ? It is not moral path you choose to adhere to, i.e. you don’t choose to be gay/straight/…./ , you’re born that way.

    Veganism, political stance, racist thought, religions, bhuddism, mormonism, are examples of ideologies.

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