Meet Ty, a spunky 15 year old young man that was diagnosed with autism at 6 years old. I met Ty a few years ago in a therapy waiting room and it has been amazing seeing how far he has come since then. On the very cold day that we took these photos, he seemed truly excited to see me, so I like to think we bond in those 5 minutes twice a week!
When Ty was younger, his parents noticed that he had lost some verbal fluency and was having sensory issues while in class. This prompted them to get to the bottom of things, resulting in an autism diagnosis.
Ty is very outgoing and willing to share his feelings of happiness with everyone. I have definitely spent lots of time (in the previously mentioned waiting room) talking with him about Pokemon Go, Hercules, Star Wars, or whatever subject he is on for the morning! Ty likes to play on his iPad, take care of his dog, and play with his favorite toys.
Ty struggles with different textures as well as loud noises. He also, like many with autism, struggles with changes in routines.
Ty's parents say: "Life is an adventure. Even more so with autism."
One of the diagnostic criteria for autism is restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. This includes the insistence of sameness and a strict adherence to routines, many times down to the minute details. Changes in routine, on any scale, can lead people with autism into excessive stimming or even meltdowns. Just like everything else about autism, not all respond the same way to changes in routine. Some may be slightly agitated for the next hour or so, some will be for the rest of the day. For some, changes in routine, especially unexpected or drastic changes, can cause full blown panick attacks. I found THIS to be a great read about obsessions, repetitive behaviors, and routines.