adaptive strategies

Electronic books can make reading possible for people with executive dysfunction

Electronic books can be an important disability accommodation for a lot of people, including some people with normal vision. If you’re having a lot of trouble reading, or not reading as much as you’d like to, it might help to use electronic books.

There are a lot of steps involved in reading a print book. Some of these steps can be difficult or impossible for people with impaired executive function, autistic inertia, fatigue, chronic pain, or other conditions. Some difficult steps can be eliminated with electronic books. 

In order to start reading a print book, you have to be able to do all of these things:

  • Have the book in a place where it’s available to you when you have time to read.
  • (Which can involve remembering to bring with you somewhere.)
  • (And keeping track of the book and not losing it.)
  • Decide to stop what you’re doing and do a different kind of task.
  • Figure out where the book is.
  • Go get the book.
  • Avoid getting distracted by other things as you find the book or get the book.
  • Figure out where you are in the book.
  • (Which can involve things like remembering the place.) 
  • (Or using a bookmark, which comes with its own multi-step challenges like remembering that bookmarks exist and having one available.)
  • Open the book to the right page.
  • Avoid getting distracted by other parts of the book.
  • Get into a position in which you can read, which you can also sustain long enough to read for a significant among of time.
  • Actually start reading the book.
  • If you want to take notes or highlight, you also have to gather all your note-taking tools.
  • And not get distracted and forget what you’re doing.
  • And not forget where you put the book in the process.
  • That’s a lot of steps, any one of which can sometimes be difficult or impossible.
  • Using electronic copies can eliminate some of these steps, or make them easier.
  • This can be game-changing.

Some ways in which electronic copies can eliminate steps:

  • You can store your entire electronic library on one device (or synced to multiple devices). 
  • If you know where your device is, then you know where all of your electronic books are.
  • This can mean you don’t have to physically search for anything.
  • (Electronically searching to remember where you put something can be much easier.)
  • You also don’t have to remember to bring a specific book. You just have to remember to bring one device.
  • (Which can be a device like your laptop, phone, or iPad which you’re in the habit of carrying with you anyway).
  • If you’re already using your computer, you don’t have to get up to go get your book.
  • You also don’t have to change positions.
  • Being able to stay in the same position and location can make it much easier to start reading.
  • It can also be easier to remember your place. A lot of software will leave the book open to the same place as when you were last reading it.
  • Searching can be easier, faster, and less distracting than flipping through a print book. (This isn’t true for everyone, but it’s true for some people).
  • Electronic bookmarks may also be easier to use than physical ones.
  • You don’t have to look for highlighters, pens, pencils or notebooks, all of that is right there in the book-reading software.
  • Eliminating these steps can make reading a lot easier. 
  • Making it easier can make it possible.

This isn’t the right strategy for everyone; computers, phones and other devices have their own executive dysfunction pitfalls. But for some people, it makes reading much more possible. 

Tl;dr Some people have trouble reading print books, even if they have normal vision. Sometimes the reason for this is that executive dysfunction (or another disability) makes some of the steps involved in starting to read a print book difficult or impossible. (Eg: people with ADHD might get distracted looking for the book.) For some people, using electronic books instead of print books can make reading much more possible. Scroll up for some specific reasons that electronic books can help.

shower prompts

jack-not-jacque:

vladdraculea:

realsocialskills:

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:


Do you or your followers have any advice for focusing in the shower? Or for a good blog to ask this question? My mental illness makes it hard, so a 10 min shower sometimes takes me more like 40 min. Then I feel exhausted afterward. I’ve found lots of techniques to focus in other situations, but for some reason the internet seems to have no advice on this. It’s hard to use post-it notes or affordable electronics in a wet space.

realsocialskills said:

If notes or visual symbols work for you, there are options for using them in a shower. hygiene

If it’s your shower, the right way to do it might be to write the steps on the shower wall. You can do this with a bath crayon. (It’s also possible to wash off the bath crayon after, but it might not be a good idea to count on being able to do that without getting distracted.)

You could also write instructions on a shower curtain.

You could also try bath stickers. Baths stickers are these plastic things for kids that stick the walls while they’re wet. You could look around for what kinds there are, and see if there are some that might work as prompts.

You can also make a laminated note sheet that tells you the steps. Which you could hold in your hand attach to the wall with a suction cup. You can make your own and laminate it. (There are also a lot of activities of daily living sheets on Pintrest; but they’re mostly created by parents and therapists and may or may not meet your needs). Stores like Office Depot and copy shops usually have laminators. You can also use a page protector and tape. That doesn’t work as well.

If you use timers to help you notice the passage of time, an hourglass sand timer might be a good solution. There are some with suction cups, so you could get one of those and put it at eye level in a place where you will notice it.

In terms of higher tech solutions, there are also shower lights you can install that change color over time.

You also might try audio prompts. If you have a way of making your phone loud enough to hear in the shower, you could try recording yourself describing the showering process then following your instructions. You could also try putting on a song that you know has a specific length in order to help yourself keep track of time.

Anyone else want to weigh in? What have you found helps you keep focused in the shower?

vladdraculea said:

Awesome advice!!! I don’t have any, but I’ll be taking some of yours — especially the laminated card idea. I think I can design one that’ll work well for my particular needs.

jack-not-jacque said:

The sand timer sounds like a great idea. I’ve used egg timers sitting on the counter as an audio prompt, but that’s not great since there’s only one alarm so no “warning” sound, and it’s hard to remember to check how much time I have left if it’s outside the shower. I’ve also got a water-resistant clock hanging from the shower head. It doesn’t ring or anything, but I can use it to judge how long I’ve been in the shower, or how close I’m getting to a time when I need to get out.

Shower prompts?

Anonymous asked:

Do you or your followers have any advice for focusing in the shower? Or for a good blog to ask this question? My mental illness makes it hard, so a 10 min shower sometimes takes me more like 40 min. Then I feel exhausted afterward. I’ve found lots of techniques to focus in other situations, but for some reason the internet seems to have no advice on this. It’s hard to use post-it notes or affordable electronics in a wet space.

realsocialskills said:

If notes or visual symbols work for you, there are options for using them in a shower. hygiene 

If it’s your shower, the right way to do it might be to write the steps on the shower wall. You can do this with a bath crayon. (It’s also possible to wash off the bath crayon after, but it might not be a good idea to count on being able to do that without getting distracted.)

You could also write instructions on a shower curtain.

You could also try bath stickers. Baths stickers are these plastic things for kids that stick the walls while they’re wet. You could look around for what kinds there are, and see if there are some that might work as prompts. 

You can also make a laminated note sheet that tells you the steps. Which you could hold in your hand attach to the wall with a suction cup. You can make your own and laminate it. (There are also a lot of activities of daily living sheets on Pintrest; but they’re mostly created by parents and therapists and may or may not meet your needs). Stores like Office Depot and copy shops usually have laminators. You can also use a page protector and tape. That doesn’t work as well. 

If you use timers to help you notice the passage of time, an hourglass sand timer might be a good solution. There are some with suction cups, so you could get one of those and put it at eye level in a place where you will notice it.

In terms of higher tech solutions, there are also shower lights you can install that change color over time. 

You also might try audio prompts. If you have a way of making your phone loud enough to hear in the shower, you could try recording yourself describing the showering process then following your instructions. You could also try putting on a song that you know has a specific length in order to help yourself keep track of time.

Anyone else want to weigh in? What have you found helps you keep focused in the shower?

On stimming in class

alwaysatrombonist said to realsocialskills:

Do you know of any quiet or discrete fidget/stim toys? I find that I need to fidget in my school discussion group to keep from getting super anxious, but if I play with a hairband under the table or doodle then people notice. Most of the fidget toys I find online are colourful, which I don’t want because people will see. I will try a stress ball, but I think that my fingers need to be doing things. Thank you :)

realsocialskills said:

A couple of thoughts:

There probably aren’t many ways to stim that are completely undetectable. Some things I can think of that might be harder to detect than some others:

  • Rocking back and forth subtly
  • Chewing gum
  • Using typing as a stim (eg: typing out scripts or words you like over and over)
  • Using a spinner ring or a gear ring if you’re in a context in which wearing rings is socially acceptable

Also, knitting and crocheting are not discreet at all, but they are often socially accepted in classes or group conversations. Depending on your particular group, that might be an option.

Another thought: maybe it’s ok if people notice:

  • Stimming isn’t necessarily as dangerous as it feels
  • Sometimes it’s okay to stim openly. Sometimes nothing awful happens
  • And sometimes people react badly, but in ways that are easier to put up with than the stress of suppressing stims
  • Stimming openly and conspicuously is not the right choice for everyone
  • But it’s probably the right choice for more people than realize it
  • So it might be worth reconsidering whether hiding your stims is the right choice
  • Or it might not be. You’re the best judge of this, and you have no obligation to stim visibly. 

Does anyone else want to weigh in? What are some ways you stim discreetly? What are some considerations about when to stim discreetly and when to stim openly?

Showering

anonymous asked:
do you have any tips on personal hygiene/showers for someone with both chronic pain/mobility issues and severe depression? often i shower the very least i can and still get away with it, it’s disgusting how long i’ve gone without showers just spotwashing in the sink and applying deodorant etc. i don’t understand what makes showers appealing to other people. all they do is put me in pain and take an immense amount of energy out of my day. this might be out of the reach of your blog though, sorry.
 

realsocialskills said:

I’m posting this mostly because I think many of y'all probably have advice on this.

A couple of things I can think of to suggest:

Is your soap hurting you?

  • For some people, certain kinds of soap and shampoo hurt
  • If you find showering painful and you’ve only tried one kind of soap, it might be worth trying another kind.

Is showering exhausting because standing is painful?

  • If so, using a shower chair might help
  • Or, if you have a tub, maybe sitting in the tub and using one of those flexible shower heads would work?

I don’t really know. Have any of y'all found solutions that make showering work for you, or that allow you to be clean without showering?

Shopping for clothes

anonymous asked:
Hello, thank you for running this blog. I was wondering if you have any ideas on how to make shopping for clothes less overwhelming? I almost never buy new clothes until mine are full of holes because of a few reasons, but mostly because I get stressed out in clothing stores and even while shopping online because of how many things there are. Thank you!

realsocialskills said:

Most stores that sell clothing are also very overloading on a number of levels

  • It might be helpful to listen to music on headphones while you shop
  • Pay attention to which stores are more overloading, and try to shop at the ones that are easier to deal with
  • When you get overloaded or overwhelmed, it can be really helpful to stop and hold onto something solid (eg: a clothing rack, a shopping cart) for a couple of minutes until you feel more grounded

It might be helpful to have someone shop with you:

  • Some people get distracted and overloaded alone, but not with other people
  • Sometimes another person can help you narrow down decisions
  • Sometimes another person can notice signs of overload and help you come out of it
  • Sometimes just having someone else there can make it easier to have perspective
  • This doesn’t work for everyone, and for some people having someone else can make it worse. But it works really well for some people

When you find something you like, buy more than one of it

  • Then when it wears out or is in the wash or whatever, you’ll still have one
  • If you want one, you probably want more than one
  • Clothing is easier when a lot of it is the same
  • If you are a woman and will be socially penalized for wearing the same shirts style all the time, you can sometimes fix this by having a lot of scarves and wearing a different one every day.

Notice brands you like

  • If you like a particular brand, it’s likely that you’ll keep liking stuff from that brand even as they change it
  • The same brands are usually in the same places in the store
  • And if not, you can look for them on purpose instead of being completely overwhelmed by all the options

Different kinds of stores are different, and some might be more or less overloading:

  • For instance, The Burlington Coat Factory has racks where all the skirts in a particular range of sizes are. And then you can flip through.
  • Most other stores have racks with one particular thing in several different sizes, organized by designer and loosely organized be levels of fanciness
  • Depending on how you think, one or the other style of store might be dramatically easier for you to deal with
  • For instance, if I know that I want a shirt, I usually find it easier to go to a store that has all the shirts in my size in one place.
  • If I need various different pieces of clothing, I often find it easier to go to a store that’s organized by brand, so I can get various things in a brand I know I like

Some stores have people who can help you shop

  • This seems like it is probably helpful to some people, but as of yet, I am not one of those people, so I can’t tell you much about it
  • I am hoping other people will have more of a sense of how this can be helpful

Do any of y'all have suggestions about making clothes shopping manageable? 

When food is too hard

Related to the remembering food exists thing, do you have any advice for what to do when your depression is making preparing food seem so hard that you’d nearly prefer to just go hungry?

 

A couple of suggestions:

Order a pizza, or some other form of food that gets delivered to you

  • Hunger feeds on itself and makes everything harder
  • If you’re in a state of mind where preparing food seems too difficult to be bearable, ordering food can often break that cycle
  • So can getting takeout or going to McDonalds
  • This is not a frivolous expense
  • And it’s not necessarily more expensive than preparing your own food. McDonalds has a dollar menu.
  • When you’re starving from not eating, it is not the time to worry about health food. Making sure that you eat comes first. Eating anything (that you’re not allergic to) is healthier than regularly going hungry because you can’t bring yourself to eat.

Keep stuff around that’s easy to eat and doesn’t require any preparation or only need to be microwaved, for instance:

  • A box of cereal
  • Chocolate
  • Granola bars
  • Ice cream
  • Popsickles
  • Protein shakes
  • Rice cakes
  • Peanut butter
  • TV dinners
  • Frozen chicken nuggets
  • It can also help to keep around disposable plates and utensils so the thought of having to wash dishes doesn’t deter you from eating

Get someone else to tell you that you need to eat:

  • Sometimes it’s easier to remember that eating is important if someone else tells you
  • For instance, if you text a friend saying “remind me that I need to eat” and they do, that can sometimes make it more possible

Get someone else to talk you through the steps of making food:

  • If there’s someone you can ask how to find/make food, that can be helpful
  • Sometimes what’s really exhausting is not so much doing the steps, as it is anticipating them, or figuring out what they are
  • If someone can help you through that, it can make it much more possible