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  • Writer's pictureHannah's Hope

Autistic Burnout.

Ella, a person on the autism spectrum and a mother herself, created her website "Purple Ella" to write and share videos about her family's diagnosis and lifestyle in a practical, yet relatable blog about autism. She writes about topics like, what it's like to go to college with autism, managing autism with chronic illness, how to handle bullying, and a whole lot more. She wrote and created a video specifically on the topic of "Autism Burnout." She wrote that this type of burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by living in a world that was not designed for the autistic brain. This burnout can build up over time due to overload, sensory difficulties, and masking. In her video she explains how this feels as well as how to recover from it and how to prevent it. She uses her viewers' personal anecdotes to explain what burnout looks like and how some people recover from this feeling. Some explain that they have to do things like lay in a dark room and go to sleep, or hug their dog and just relax. While she agrees that rest and relaxation can help with burnout she said that in her own life, especially during lockdown, she learned that too much of that resting time would actually make her feel worse because her brain was finally recognizing how exhausted it was and felt the weight of not running on adrenaline anymore. One thing she talks about in her video that will help with burnout is energy accounting. This means that you plan out your day with a set amount of energy expenditure in mind and if you exceed this limit, you know that burnout is coming. When looking at the week and planning ahead, it is helpful to evaluate what amount of energy you will need to use in each of your tasks. There are other ways to cope with burnout that are different than just laying in bed and resting. Doing low energy tasks that you enjoy is a great way to cope from being overwhelmed, stressed, and burned out. Doing things like walking the dog, coloring in a book, reading, or watching a movie that is a favorite are all ways to preserve your energy while also doing things you love. While Ella has had to use these techniques in her personal life because of her own diagnosis, this idea of burnout is applicable to anyone who has children on the spectrum and these coping strategies could be passed on to them. Try taking some time out of your Sunday to plan out the week with your child, maybe even on their own planner, and measure the amount of energy as "a little: or "a lot," so they can have an idea of how they will feel after the task or event before the day even comes. This way they have a chance to prepare and gather their minds before partaking in the task. If you recognize that your child has been stretched really thin lately and you begin seeing the signs of burnout, try encouraging them to do something they love. Invest in stress-free coloring books and anxiety workbooks that they can try to ease their mind and lower their energy expenditure while avoiding just laying in bed all day to recover. Burnout comes in many different shapes and forms for everyone; pay attention to your child and try to recognize the signs before it ever hits so you can ensure that you are prepared.

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