Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Aspie Emergency Kit

Sunset, Lighthouse Beach, Erie, PA

As I write about in my "my monkey brains" section, my partner, Marcy (or "Frog"), has been helping me attempt to organize this different brain probably since we met.  She was the one who, eventually, with her background in education, figured out what was actually going on as we made our way to the Autistic truth of my brain.

She figured out that I worked best with visual schedules and cues, for example.  (And I will write about these in the future.)

She also figured out that for me to go out into the wider world could be, well, a bit challenging, and maybe there was a way to prepare better.

And thus came the idea of an "Aspie Emergency Kit."

My main Christmas present last year was the core of this kit:  my Kindle Fire.

Books, television, internet, and stimming/soothing games all in one tiny, perfectly sized and weighted unit.

Also in my kit:

Headphones:  Often the world is TOO LOUD and putting on headphones and listening to Brad Mehldau or Philip Glass is a great, calming remedy.

I have, for example, a really hard time when I go for my haircut and color.  There is so much miscellaneous chatter in a salon.  By the time I go home (and this is not a judgment of chatty people...that is what they like to by the time I go home, it can feel like my ears are bleeding, which sounds dramatic but that is what it feels like to me.

The headphones with the right music save me from feeling bonkers.

Bach's Rescue Remedy:  This is a little homeopathic trick for calming.  And it works.  If I am feeling highly agitated, a bit of this under the tongue makes me feel calmer within twenty minutes.

Squeezies:  I have a collection of small squeezables.  Just soft, plushy sorts of things that I can hold onto and squeeze for dear life.  It's grounding.

Paper & Pen:  Always.  Tons of it.  All over the place.  In all my bags, in the car...everywhere.  Just writing myself some notes can help alleviate stress.

Lavender:  A lot of the time, smell triggers me, and smell can fix me, too.  This smell is known to simultaneously calm and stimulate the brain.

Notes:  Often Marcy writes me little notes and reading her words -- even old ones -- can bring me back to myself.

Scarf:  A scarf around my neck makes me feel secure.  Summer is hard for this but I just replace it with well-fitted clothing in general.

I am also learning to be over-prepared for weather.  For cold.  For rain.  For change that doesn't seem like it will come.

If you have this sort of kit, what do you have in it?  What do you need to have in it?  What issue have you not figured out how to solve with your kit?


  1. I never looked at it through that lens, but I always have my messenger bag supplied with basic, necessary to me things. All my "just in case" things. Probably not the best for my spine, but great for my mind. Been doing this for years even before the "official" diagnosis or realization. I can see the same habit in my daughters who pack little boxes and leave them around the house full of required items and tools. And, I've found secret stashes in their beds. I have often thought I needed more specific coping tools-- scent is usually a big one too. I used to carry various scented objects in my pockets to rub my fingers on and then hold my hand to my face. Hmmm, probably looked a little strange to the outside world (whatever that is). I think actualizing things that make me happy and more calm would be better than waiting until I am all worked up and looking for an escape hatch.

  2. hI Christine, happy Thursday. My emergency kit also includes a tiny journal and my favorite pen which writes in fat juicy ink. I like to keep an apple with me so I won't be tempted by food stuffs when out and about. I have a small photo book that I carry with "happy" pictures to help me transcend anxious moments...pix of baby pygmy goats, blue green island water, double rainbows, gardenia and bougainvillea, and orange blossom with oranges and other personal fav things. I like sometimes to take along my beautiful rocks...ok so weird....but I have peacock ore (its colors shine in sunlight)...also a piece of crystal shaped like a half MP3 music player too (some mellow, some rowdier dance music)....//I want to write some little meditation books to take with me for a contingency plan: like what to do when stuff breaks and people let you down. Bright word-cues that act as pivots to get me into a loving space.
    So much of life seems to be "waiting" and I want lil mementos to help remind me to savor and enjoy the journey. Kalli

  3. I always have to have my knitting with me or be able to play solitaire on my phone. I don't like sitting in crowds waiting. I also have to be very careful what music I listen to because it can be overstimulating at times. I am more of a sensitive introvert (probably low spectrum). I can be extroverted when it is required but I need to retreat to charge up and headphones at work are the perfect things for me.

  4. I like what's in your kit! It's similar to mine.

    Mine includes:
    -my iPad (calming games, sketching, timers, AAC app for when I am unable to speak, etc)
    -noise canceling headphones, and inner ear earplugs
    -a bracelet I can bite on
    -something heavy to hold (usually it's my solid 2" ball of copper, which I have named Quincy)
    -a hat and scarf (pressure, feeling more secure, and possible weather changes)
    -pen and sketchbook