|Note this article is still under construction|
While it may be difficult for people on the autism spectrum, Habitica may help people on the autism spectrum to develop the skills necessary to overcome their difficulties and in turn, improve their lives.
Everyone's success with the strategies below will vary from individual to individual. It is important to consider what works for the player, as a strategy that works for one play may not necessarily work for another.
If you suspect that you have autism, or you are self diagnosed, you may find it helpful to head to the Autistic Adventurers' Guild, a guild of autistic people supporting one another in their journeys, including those who are self diagnosed. Also, the people in this guild have contributed their ideas to this page and I would like to thank them for that.
Guilds are also a great way to find people going through the same experiences and connect with those people. They can also be used to find and communicate with people of the same or similar interests, which can be helpful especially for those with a narrow interest range.
If you also have issues with mental health in conjunction with your autism, you may find checking out the guilds on your specific mental health issue helpful. For example, if you have anxiety or social anxiety as well as autism, the Anxiety Alliance Guild may be of help to you.
Please note that public guilds may not cater to your specific narrow interest area. In that case, you should be able to find one that has very similar interest to yours, or a guild with a broader focus which includes your special interest.
Living on the spectrum Edit
Clear Task Setting Edit
While it is important to be clear about what tasks mean for all users of Habitica, this can be especially important for people on the autism spectrum. In particular, they should be specific about their particular tasks, taking advantage of the notes on a particular task to do so.
Taking Care of YourselfEdit
When you are at your worst, it can become difficult to take care of yourself. Poor self-care, as well as being detrimental to your mental health, can cause problems in our life. So it is important that you learn to take care of yourself as much as you can. Care for yourself is challenge in many aspects of self care for those on the autism spectrum.
Getting proper sleepEdit
Poor sleep hygiene can be detrimental to anyone's mental health. In order to improve your sleeping habits, you should choose a sleep routine, with the same waking up and bed time everyday, even during the weekends. The sleep hygiene challenge from the Autistic Adventurers Guild is a sleep routine challenge specific for those on the Autism Spectrum.
Keeping yourself clean can help you to lead healthy lives, which can in turn optimize your functioning. Sometimes you may forget to keep yourselves clean, so using dailies can help remind yourself to do so, especially routine things that you do regularly. In addition to setting your dailies, you can also set alarms for you to do your personal hygiene tasks.
Eating well is important for you to lead healthy lives. Sometimes, it is easy to forget to eat, or eat unhealthily, especially if you are a fussy eater. Dailies and alarms can remind you to eat regularly and healthily. In addition to that, the Nutrition and Hydration challenge may also assist you in eating regular meals.
Fussy eaters may need to consider broadening their meals, as they may have some nutritional deficiencies due to it. There are numerous ways to do so, and you will need to find one that suits you. First of all, you need to identify a pattern of fussy eating. These patterns could be taste, texture, color, past association, and more including a combination of different factors.
Once you have identified the factors, your next step if to find more food that does not fit into any of the factors that you've listed for fussy eating and have not tried before. At this stage, it can be useful to explore other cuisines. A person who may not find many tolerable food in the American cuisine for example, may find more tolerable food in Chinese, Japanese or Egyptian cuisine.
Exercising is also something that you may be prone to forget. However, it is important that you lead a lifestyle with at least some exercises every day. You do not need to be able to run a marathon, but you can start small and add more when you feel comfortable doing so.
You may start off by looking for the numerous exercise challenges that are available in the Tavern, or make a daily tailored to yourself that encourages you to exercise. If you are not comfortable making exercising an everyday thing, you may also consider making it a habit.
When you are prescribed medication, it is important that you take them as instructed. This is best done as a daily since it is likely something you will need to do regularly. Additionally, the daily can also serve as a reminder for you to take your medicine. Tasks should be adjusted to your specific prescriptions.
Aiding Executive Functioning Edit
Many users on the autism spectrum have impaired executive functioning. Sometimes, this makes their day-to-day activities difficult to manage. Habitica can help you manage some difficulties associated with impaired executive functioning. In addition, the Executive Dysfunction Blues challenge can help you if you are having trouble coping with your executive functioning.
It may also be useful for you to learn to use the Data Display Tool to see your progress and the potential damage that you may take due to undone dailies. This may be especially useful if you wish to see hard data on your performance and find having evidence that you are improving really motivating.
When a person on the autism spectrum encounters a major task, they can very easily be overwhelmed with the enormity of the task. Chunking, or breaking large tasks into many smaller tasks can help with initiative and can provide a greater incentive to complete the tasks, especially when it comes to long and difficult tasks.
Dailies that may be long and overwhelming may be broken into smaller, more manageable parts of a larger task. The checklist function can aid the player in chunking large dailies. They may reduce the damage inflicted upon the player and their party if the checklist items have been completed. Some players may want to check out strategies given in the page players who can't do tasks reliably, especially those who are starting out or those who struggle with task completion.
To-Dos are ideal for longer term tasks that need to be broken down, or for tasks that are not done on a regular basis. Due to their nature, To-Dos can be difficult to manage with impaired executive functioning. They can also be chunked by using their checklists, which can be useful for large tasks that seem overwhelming. Additionally, the added satisfaction for completing checklist items when the task is done can provide an incentive to complete the task.
Coping with Major ChangesEdit
Change is a part of life but they can also be difficult to deal with when you have impaired executive functioning. A major change in your life can be really stressful for you, so it is best to approach the change gradually rather than to be exposed to the major change all of a sudden.
If it is possible, you can take a gradual exposure approach to anticipated major changes. Try to anticipate the change if possible and plan for it. You may need to plan for extra self care sessions for the duration of the change to help you cope.
It may also help to the parts of the change in which you can control and the parts that are more difficult to control. Having more control may make dealing with a major change easier to deal with. In addition, you may need to learn the rules and guidelines associated with the change. This give you structure to work within, allowing you to be confident that you, at the very least, partly know what you are doing.
In the worst case, where the major change is both unanticipated and quick, you may need to plan in many more extra self care sessions and take some breaks from the major change. This ensures that you will have the energy to deal with such a change.
Developing Social SkillsEdit
Developing socials skills can be a rather tedious affair for a person on the Autism Spectrum. Whilst it may be impractical for you to meet new people everyday, you should still make an effort to learn and practise these skills regularly. In fact, you can also practise them with people you already know, or even close friends.
By making sure you have some sort of social contact everyday, even if all you can manage is online, can seriously help your practise your social skills. Ideally, you should practise them in various diverse social settings such as teams, small parties, on phone calls and in one to one conversations. This would allow you to have a better understanding of what to do in these situations. Habits can also be used to encourage the practise of social skill, especially ones that you have just learnt. Alternatively, for higher stakes, you may make practising social skills a daily and you need to do it everyday.
Additionally, be patient in your learning of social skills. Everyone will progress at a different pace. A skill one person learns in a week can take another 6 weeks to learn. You are unlikely to learn to be social at the pace of a nurotypical, as they like already instinctively know the skills that takes you time and effort to learn.
Giving emotional supportEdit
One of the most difficult social skills for a person with autism to do is to give another person emotional support, especially during tough times. Sometimes, it can be difficult for one to know what to do in these situations and these situations can also be daunting to people with autism.
You should approach it with the understanding that you may not be able to read other people's feelings very well or effectively deal with your own emotions. In fact, empathy can be difficult to show in many cases, and sometimes, you may react inappropriately. You may also feel bewildered or out of depth when giving emotional support. It is okay to feel this way.
It is best not to assume that you know what the person wants and to ask instead. Most people are more than willing to give you what they want, whether it be advice, tea, hugs or even to be left alone. If people are having difficulty answering you, you can give a few suggestions in order to allow them to find what they need to be adequately supported.
While you may want to support your friends and family when they are going through a tough time, you need to prioritize your needs before you can help others. Otherwise, you may eventually lack the energy to give emotional support.