Life-Changing Aids for Adults with Autism – Practical Tips and Tools

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Do adults with autism need aids? One might think that as a high-functioning individual, I should manage without them. And indeed, some people with autism do fine without any aids. But in certain situations, one may need help to compensate for difficulties with communication, social interaction, or attention. It’s essential to identify these difficulties and needs to find solutions that help.

When I first contacted adult habilitation services, I was asked if I needed any aids in my daily life. How should one answer that? I was barely aware that I had problems in my daily life, let alone that aids existed. Although I had a head start having gone through the assistive technology center for my son’s needs and knew some strategies beforehand, I didn’t feel like I needed picture cards, checklists, clocks, or boards. I said, “No thanks,” and left habilitation.

A year later, I found myself in the office of the person who has helped me the most, apart from my wife. I had met an occupational therapist who really took an interest in my and my family’s situation. She encouraged me and asked the right questions. I started thinking and Googling if there were better tools than the ones I had. Guess what? There are smart things out there. But most of them are not relevant to me.

My wife is still old school and using a bullet journal. Google Calendar is free and will work for most people.

I have always hated missing an appointment; if someone wants to meet me or if I have planned something, I absolutely do not want to miss it. Therefore, since my early teens, I have always had a pocket calendar where I constantly filled in meetings and important things. Modern, right? But even before I got my diagnosis, I started using Google Calendar. To me, it’s a fantastic tool that really helped me, but I saw some flaws. For example, my wife absolutely does not want to deal with the “tech calendar,” so syncing things with her became a chore. I didn’t like how the calendar could quickly become messy and hard to overview. I mentioned this to my occupational therapist, and she quickly said, “That’s no problem, there must be better planners.” And there are. Today, both my son and I use an Abilia MEMOplanner. It keeps our lives in order. I also have an app on my phone that syncs, making it easy to overview. It works because everyone in the family can see what’s planned.

There’s another thing I hadn’t considered as an aid before. I passionately hate talking on the phone and prefer writing if I want something. It has always been hard for me to maintain relationships because relationships die if you don’t keep in touch. SMS has existed since the turn of the millennium and works to some extent, but today with all smartphones, we have better aids. I use Messenger, WhatsApp, and some other similar services. I don’t quite understand how it was before, but today I can even feel it’s not so bad to call because I have managed to maintain contact with people.

I put on headphones without listening to anything just to get some quiet time.

Sometimes, I put on headphones without listening to anything just to get some quiet. In recent years, I have found something amazing, ANC (Active Noise Cancellation). I have always been bothered by background noise like fans, fluorescent lights, and general clatter. I had an “Aha” moment. The first time I tried a pair of headphones with ANC was when I got a cheap Bluetooth headset with a magazine subscription. I thought I could connect the headphones to the TV, and I did, but when I tested it for the first time, I was amazed. It became “quiet.” Yes, I could hear the TV sound, albeit with poor quality, but the sound of the kitchen fan that was humming in the kitchen disappeared. I really didn’t think it would make such a big difference. Noise protection in the form of earmuffs, plugs, and similar things only reduce the sound, but ANC headphones completely remove certain noises. I’m hooked and today have both in-ears and over-ears with ANC. Highly recommended. My Over-ears: link

My in-ears: link

I have also considered earmuffs with ANC technology, but I’m not quite there yet. Earmuffs are a rapidly evolving technology, and I realize it’s hard and especially expensive to buy and test my way to the cups that work for me. I have a pair of Peltor WS alert that I’ve used for almost six years, but they lack the active noise reduction I desire. I’m aware of and have thought about trying Isotunes, but that’s something that might come in a future article.

Label and all in the kitchen.

Organization in the kitchen… I have written about organization and structure and how important it has become for me. Here, I have a great aid that maybe not many consider as an aid. I bought a Dymo label maker link that helps me in my organizing. I dream of buying a proper label printer, but that will have to wait a while; it’s not quite a top priority in our life, and getting one through the assistive technology center was impossible 🙂

Do you have any great aids in your daily life? Please leave a comment and share your tips


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