BuJo and ASD

I mentioned recently that I have begun bullet journaling, and it has helped me put one foot in front of the other to get past some pretty dark, helpless feelings this fall. I also belong to a fantastic facebook group with over 14,000 members who also bullet journal, and it has connected me to people across the globe. One of those fabulous ladies is an autism mom in the UK who shared that her son was helping to set the table, and began by making a list of “supplies” he would need – five plates, five forks, etc. – on his iPad. Then, he gathered his materials and put them in the appropriate spots on the table (while shouting loudly what each was). She remarked to him about his list. “Why did you make a list?” He said, “You remember everything, Mom, and you make lists in your journal all day long.”

This story got me to thinking. The reason many of us bullet journal is because it can get overwhelming relying on our brains to remember everything. I, personally, am the type to need to get things on paper, because if I don’t, I will remind myself to do that one thing at least six times in one day – how exhausting, and how almost perseverative (is that a word? it is now…)… Overwhelmed… Perseverating… Indeed, one of the most relied upon strategies for coping with autism is the social story (a list of sorts to describe what will happen), and another is “first, then” (First we will do some homework, then we will have some m&m’s).  Maybe, just maybe some kiddos, young adults, and adults on the spectrum would benefit from bullet journaling.

I may try this with The Boy. But my primary purpose with this post is to share an idea, a connection, a possibility. This may be a strategy that could help you or someone you know. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

BuJo

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Feeling in Control

One of the bits of advice that hangs on is “Fake it ’til you make it.” This bit has rung true for me. I have been able to pretend long enough to get the hang of something more times than I can count. Part of getting out of this low, scary place I’ve been has been “faking” that I am in control. In other words, planning.

I’ve done several posts on planning, and how it’s just part of my DNA. And even though I don’t have much to plan at work (besides how I’m going to spend six hours a day with no customers, which is actually enjoyable), I have found some peace.

You may remember that that I was trying to determine if I was going to order a Plum Paper Planner or another Erin Condren earlier this fall. I ended up ordering the Plum Paper Planner, and it is very stylish, and lovely, and just what I wanted at the time.

MTNAbout two weeks later, I found Midori Travelers Notebooks on Pinterest and fell in love. Had to have it, ordered one as an incentive for NaNoWriMo. It was so lovely to hold, and such a neat little niche of paper geeks that came along with it (I think I joined three different facebook groups). It was a fantastic motivator for NaNo (I won by the way!). I used it everyday, and loved how grown up and worldly it looked, as opposed to the sorority girlishness of the Erin Condren world, and I started to feel guilty toward my Plum Paper Planner.

Shortly after that, I came across the Bullet Journal again. I had dismissed it earlier because it sounded complicated. But the more I looked into it, the more creative I found it, and ironically, the more personalized. Way more personalized than Erin Condren or Plum Paper Planner could ever hope to be. Of course it was more work, but if the act of doing more work helps one find focus, remember more, and get more done, isn’t that a nifty trick?

habittrackerOn the last day of November, I started my BuJo (short for Bullet Journal), and have used it daily ever since. I was even able to take it to the meeting with the school administrators, with a page dedicated to the topics I’d like to discuss, and space on the facing page to take notes during the meeting. It is much more than a planner, containing “collections”, quotes, and goals. The community I have found (again on facebook and even instagram) has helped me plan, design my own setup, track habits I’d like to form, and figure out 100 life goals I’d like to achieve in the next ten years.

If it sounds hippy dippy, it’s really not. You can put into what you want, and take from it what you want. Goal setting was not something I had done in a long time, and what is better to do at your lowest point than set some goals and plan some ways to climb out of it?

If you are at all interested, you should check out this from the guy who came up with the system – Ryder, and this from one of the ladies who has made it fun – Kara Benz at BohoBerry (it’s actually the second in her series, but I find it more informative than the first). If not, that’s ok too. I just wanted to share what has helped me turn a corner.

And if you’re wondering about my Plum Paper Planner, I’m going to use it for blog planning and bill paying. That’s the plan, anyway 😉