Autism and Moving House

Hello.  I’ve missed you.  I’ve missed my blog, I’ve missed my Facebook page and Twitter feed, I’ve missed other people’s blogs and social media, forums.  I have missed the internet.

I hate moving.  Not just because of the disruption to internet, though that’s certainly a big part of it.  Moving’s one of those things that’s always listed as being super stressful (alongside bereavement, getting married and getting divorced, which makes it seem like living in those little individual pods in The Matrix with no contact with anyone else would cut down on a lot of stress (you know, if you took the Matrix part of The Matrix out of the equation) frack, even the battery pod people in The Matrix had access to the internet…sort of) but moving is particularly stressful for autistic people.

It’s a big change.  Change of place, obviously, but also possibly change of people you’re around, change of routine, change of layout of possessions, change of GP/local shops/school/nursery, change of which floorboards in the kids’ bedroom creak, change of how long the toaster takes to toast (much longer – seriously, I could make and drink about five cups of tea in the time it takes to make a round of toast).  Just, lots and lots of change.  You probably already know this but people with autism typically don’t cope well with change.  Yep, really.

Autistic people also struggle with executive functioning, which is the ability to set goals, organise and complete tasks.  As you can imagine, that’s not super helpful when you need to pack, plan moving, unpack, sort out a new nursery, register with a new GP, change your address with banks and pet insurance providers etc., sort out council tax and all the other things I’m refusing to acknowledge right now.  Throw in a big dollop of anxiety over phoning people on top of that and…I’m just going to go and watch a few cat videos on YouTube to calm myself down.

Then there’s a lot of sensory stuff, too.  Do you know how loud parcel tape is??  And the visual chaos of all that stuff and the boxes.  And when most of your stuff has been stored in a garage for two years there’s also a lot of dust and everything smells…wrong.  And the new house also smells wrong and has new sounds and new lights to get used to.

It’s all just one big headache, really (sometimes literally because I get headaches when I’m stressed).

But I’m an adult, at least.  I was very worried about how Tyger might cope with it all.  I had a look on the NAS (National Autistic Society) website and found an Usborne book they recommended about moving house.

It has a wildly imaginative title.
It has a wildly imaginative title.

Tyger really liked it and insisted on having it as one of his books before bed every night for the week running up to the move, which brought home just how much of his anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect (or what’s expected of him).

I also finally used the week-long visual timetable his lovely outreach worker made for him and drew very artistic and not at all crappy pictures of packing for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then a picture of a removal van for Friday so he knew when the move was going to take place.  Despite the less than masterful drawings he liked the timetable, too.

Almost as good as my MS Paint drawings.
Almost as good as my MS Paint drawings.

So, the day of the move came and the men with a van we found online disappeared for over two and a half hours with all our boxes of stuff (on a drive that should have taken about an hour) leading me to worry a tad that they’d run off with a load of our possessions.  It transpired they’d had a detour to dump a mattress they already had in the van because…that’s a totally reasonable thing to do in those circumstances, and our boxes made it safely to the new house.  It turns out we have a LOT of stuff, though, so the two van loads we assumed would be needed turned into three over two days.

Whilst that was inconvenient, it wasn’t the end of the world but we still needed to move the cubs across to the new house.

Tyger gets car sick.

Tyger gets very car sick.

I will not give a full account of the journey across to the new house but suffice to say there were delays, Tyger did not have a pleasant time and my mum’s car window wasn’t in a good way and it’s just as well the seat had a seat cover.

But we all got to the house in one piece (can’t say we’ve stayed in one piece between Bear having a run-in with the coffee table resulting in a black eye and both boys having peeling fingernails as part of the knock-on damage from having hand, foot and mouth a bazillion years ago).  The cubs seem to like the new house and we’re settling in.  Hopefully, that means I’ll start to write blog posts on something like a schedule again.

 

 

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10 Comments


  1. Well done!
    Now make a list of things you need to do, colour it in nicely, pin it up somewhere in the kitchen and ignore it for the next three years!

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  2. Well done on making the move and I hope you feel settled int he new house soon, it sounds like quite an ordeal already and car sickness is so horrid. a nasty feeling. #MarvMondays

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  3. Welcome to your new home! New adventures, worst is over, now the fun begins. It’s the crazy difficult trials in life that give us memories of strength and test our love and patience. #MarvMondays

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  4. Oh gosh that sounds so stressful, we ended up moving four times before my baby turned four and I think it was so stressful for her and she doesn’t have any sensory issues as such, (possibly anxiety but that isn’t surprising really!), it made me think yesterday, she has a blanky and a teddy she NEEDS to have to sleep and most of the time when she is at home watching tv etc whereas her brother has a ted and a muslin that he likes to have sometimes but isn’t massively bothered if he doesn’t have, I’ve been wondering if that is because it is a constant in a life of changes for her. Enjoy settling in, the worst of it is over now. And maybe buy a new toaster! 😉 Thanks for linking up! #bigpinklink

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  5. Moving house is an awful ordeal for anyone, and particularly for children. Necessary but awful. I’m sorry it was such an ordeal but good to hear you’ve all settled now!
    #bigpinklink

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  6. I hate moving and one day we are planning to move and that fills me with dread.
    I totally get this, a the changes and order. The smells, the change of room layout etc last time I moved it took me a month to recover and that was after everything was moved. It is so stressful for an autisitic person. I love order and hate Choas. I hope things calm down and your new life begins in a positive way! X #SpectrumSunday

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  7. Oh goodness. Well done you for getting through. My son us autistic and we don’t plan to move particularly soon but just thinking about this (as we do plan to up size at some point) and how badly he might react makes me break out in a sweat. And relax…. 🙂 #bigpinklink

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  8. Well done on managing the move so well! Moving house is stressful for anyone, but I can imaging it is particularly stressful for anyone with autism. I am so impressed with some of the prep that you did like the chart, such a good idea and sounds like it definitely helped. Hopefully you’ll all start to feel settled over the next few weeks 🙂 Emily #MarvMondays

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  9. So lovely to have you back Nym! Moving is stressful enough for neuro typical people, so I cannot imagine what it is like. We have done a few house moves with Hayden and there was only one that really effected him but we had quite a lengthy hotel stay in the mean time, which really unsettled him! Thank you for joining me on #spectrumsunday hope you’re now settled and would love you to join me again this week. xx

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