Neurodiverse people are all different, however many of us have certain common behaviour patterns. There is no ‘one size fits all’ pattern and just like a NT person, we’re all unique and we all have our own ‘quirks’ and strategies. It should also be pointed out that I am still learning to accept, acknowledge and love my own quirks as part of myself. This is all part of accepting my autism and how it helps to make me, me and that helps enhance my own uniqueness self.
I am learning and my own personal growth is important to me, it also means that I am starting to recognise my own behaviour and it allows me to accept it or try to change. There’s always going to be points of high stress during which, I will want to find a quiet corner and sit and wait for the world to slow down, or for my ND brain to process it.
So what do I personally do in order to help balance me?
I find huge benefits in following my obsession, which is mountain biking. I spend probably far too much time thinking about it or talking about it. I enjoy other things, which support the bike; I run (which again, I do enjoy and I find my competitive streak) and I use the gym (after my work out yesterday, I’m not sure that I enjoy the gym!)
Aside from this, I also have my ‘stims’ this is behaviour which helps me to keep calm, to relax or to express stress. These include tapping my fingers, clicking my forefinger and thumb, like many people with autism I use very rigid hand gestures: my fingers rigid etc., I have also noticed that I rock when I’m deep in thought or concentration and other have pointed out that I rub my scalp. I also, struggle to sit still for any length of time. I’m an avid film fan, but I rarely go to the cinema as I find it difficult to not get up at least once part of the way through a film: I’m not being rude or disrespectful of whoever I might be with, nor do I have an overly sensitive bladder. I simply find moving, pacing, or doing something for a couple of minutes helps my focus to return. At home, I watch a lot of movies, although frankly it can take all night to watch a two hour film, with various stops, pauses and self-distractions. This behaviour simply helps me to express myself or to self-soothe. Those around me can often tell from my actions that something is on my mind.
When I worked in an office, I would disguise this with trips to the printer, the filing cabinets or the coffee machine. In teaching, I can be a more active person, moving around the classroom environment and involving myself with my pupils.
I must admit that I had a couple of very interesting conversations recently in which two different NT people has ‘learnt behaviour’ from a ND sibling. I am lead to understand that this is common and there are certainly academic articles to support this.