Difficulty with monitoring myself was another part of my Autism. I found it very difficult knowing when to stop doing certain things that aren’t very good for me to do all the time. I have learnt to monitor myself with things through the years by learning when to stop doing them before it became too much.
I attended my friends birthday parties during my primary school years. I loved crisps and I found it very difficult to stop eating them because they tasted so good. There were two incidents at parties when I ended up eating too many crisps that I can remember.
Once when I attended a friends birthday party when I was in First class at Brusna NS Mum went home for an hour and she asked someone else at the party to look after me before she left. I thought that I could take more crisps. I sat in the utility room eating five small sized bags of crisps.
Once at another friends birthday party I couldn’t stop eating crisps because I didn’t monitor how many of them I ate. I just kept taking them out of the bowls whenever they were refilled and then a lot of pringles.
I started monitoring how many crisps I should eat by learning that crisps are junk food and they can be very bad for my health if I consume too many of them. Now when I attend parties I only eat a few handfuls or one small sized bag. I also made up a joke called party giddiness. I pretend to steal some of mum’s crisps out of her bowl when I finish mine.
I flew in an airplane so many times to Sweden and I became very fascinated with how they fly. Every day when I was allowed to go on the computer I typed in Ryanair videos into google and I watched so many videos on YouTube of airplanes taking off and landing. Mum had to listen to the same sounds for months. I had to learn to monitor my video watching because it became my obsessive behaviour after a little while and It wasn’t doing me any good. After School when I finished all my homework I allowed myself to only do it for a bit.
I learnt to monitor noise levels. Sometimes I’m exposed to certain noises that I can’t really avoid. We need the fan on high speed in vehicles when the windows get steamed up and it is very noisy. I just accept it for a bit and I know that it isn’t going to be on for very long. My stepdad jokes with me about the fan and that helps me get conscious about it. There was some very loud drilling in my day service a few times. I chose not to show any reactions. I managed with it and I just continued to do my work.
A few years ago when I came home from my day service in Ballaghaderreen I spent most of my free time in the evenings doing gaming on my Nintendo Switch. I talked to my stepdad about reducing gaming and doing other things such as reading a book or helping him with tasks. Gaming all the time doesn’t get me anywhere and too much screen time can put strain on my eyes. Once I helped my stepdad do a task for two people rather than gaming one evening when it was more important. I only do gaming for 1 hour in the evenings now.
I set timers to three minutes for brushing my teeth twice a day so that I brush them long enough. Before I bought a timer it was very hard for me to monitor how long I was brushing my teeth. The time was shorter than three minutes.