0 Blogging About Autism: Multi Tasking, Sequencing, Transitioning and Other things

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Multi Tasking, Sequencing, Transitioning and Other things

Multi-Tasking , Transitioning, Sequencing  and Other Things

Amongst the many weird and annoying ways autism digs its claws into my life is that my brain seems unable to mult-task very well or sometimes even at all. I find this rather infuriating and want to discuss the many ways in which it happens in further detail. I am a one thing at a time kind of person in many parts of my life but this is due to necessity. I have to choose one or the other. Even in regards to the things I really wish I didn’t have to choose between because my disability limits me. Autism effects some people differently than others but my variation of the bag of symptoms that are directly caused by it is pretty disabling. Each little thing I do takes more focus than it should and it is mentally exhausting to go through life like this.


 I have fell so many times outdoors that I am extremely careful when walking and if I get distracted by talking, I often trip or almost trip. I have got so used to tripping I seem to just about catch myself most times but not all of the time. If I am overwhelmed by a sound or my thoughts or both which is usually the case then my ability to safely walk down steps is comprimised because I can no longer focus on the distance between my foot and the step.  My brain seems to take steps and turn them all into one step and I often can’t differentiate where the next one even is for what feels like a long time. 

I always hold on very tightly to railings or bannisters and I have one in my flat that was put in by an OT. I have fallen downstairs by misjudging distance more than a few times in my past. I also get pains in my legs and feet and this can become distracting for me and I am exhausted between feeling the pain in my legs and feet and trying to avoid falling over. I fall over one of my feet regularly it actually goes from under me and I don’t know why.  

If I am with someone who is speaking to me and walking up steps, they have to stop speaking to me so I can put my full attention onto each step I take. Without that full attention I am liable to fall and have many times in my past.

I can't walk onto moving things and I rarely go up on an escalator because it takes me so long to process and I don't want to hold up the queue. I cannot go down an escalator at all due to the movement and my processing times I feel it is too dangerous. I am very conscious of how it must look to others to see someone who looks normal struggle so much with these things but I do. 



 If I am eating and my fiancĂ© speaks to me, I often get food stuck in my throat and I am afraid of this due to it having possibly been the cause of terrifying breathing spasms in the past. I tend to have difficulties with swallowing food properly and chewing it efficiently enough too. My brain appears to mix up the difference between when it is time to chew or time to swallow. There are certain foods which I have entirely had to cut out of my life in spite of how much I love them because of this. 

Dropping Things 

 If someone speaks to me  I sometimes drop the thing in my hand that I am holding. This has happened often with glasses or cans of juice. I have broken so many glasses I tend to just stick to plastic cups now. 

Phone Calls 

 I struggle to make a phone call because of problems multi-tasking and processing verbal information and reading tone etc. If I have an important call to make, I often need to write everything down for a kind of visual mapping out of what needs to be said. Caught without a visual map I am repeating words I need to say out loud and starting to go into meltdown or malfunction which I think Is a more appropriate term for how I experience it. 

The poor person on the other end of the line has to listen to me desperately trying to put together pieces of a messed-up puzzle of information as I get more and more upset by my inability to do it. I end up exhausted and at that point I can’t mask anymore even around family my polite mask slips off. I don’t necessarily become rude or anything. I just can’t keep smiling and pretending everything is ok by that point and I struggle to keep my eyes open because I am mentally and physically exhausted. 

If I have a particularly difficult day I would struggle to even talk to my sister on the phone. In fact, most days I feel quite guilty because my sister does phone me and I never remember to phone her. Staying in contact with people doesn’t occur to me. I think about them a lot and I care more than I can say but it never occurs to me to make contact. I sometimes wonder if it is just too frightening for me to be the first to contact someone because I have been rejected and hurt so much in the past. 

When my sister calls, I am so busy trying to listen and make sense of her words that my brain can’t process much of a reply. I think she probably thinks I am ignoring her but I am not if she says something, I try to put myself in her shoes and my linking thoughts mean I pluck something from my experiences to try to relate and show that I am listening. My brain doesn’t seem compatible with small talk or even casual conversation.

 I am always intense and need deep meaningful conversation. When we talk about things like that, I can talk much more easily but most people don’t relate to my different brain.  I think people mistake it as me trying to be difficult or me being obsessed with always talking about myself. It is so unfair because in actual fact I am always trying to get things right and not annoy others with my differences. If I am the one who needs to make the call and give information or plan anything it can go horribly wrong. A simple phone call is incredibly stressful for me and  can actually damage  my self-esteem.  

Movement and Navigating My Space

If I have a heavy day of face to face communication, an unexpected phone call or something else that stresses me out my ability not to fall into and bang into everything disappears. Even a day where there is an unexpected change in routine can leave me that way. I wish I didn’t have to experience the loss of ability to function in other areas when I focus in on one.  

Between prioritising to remember to wash my hands in the bathroom and being overwhelmed by the noise of the hand dryer it led to me somehow whacking my head off it and I still don’t know how it happened. I often struggle with telling how far away something actually is and whether it is moving or not.  

Transitioning, Organization & Sequencing 

Transitioning and sequencing come into the equation too because trying to complete a sequence such as to dry, brush and then straighten my hair is a nightmare for me. I struggle to transition between each part in the sequence and it takes so long for my brain to even allow me to make a decision or find the next item that I will need to use. Even when something is purposefully placed in a position, I have put it in to make it more accessible. I still struggle to move from doing one thing to the next. If I want to do something my brain is kind of like “ha I am going to distract and bombard you with every trauma and every negative thought or worry imaginable instead.” 

 Some days are worse than others but many of the days I don’t manage very well at all. My brain is like a pinball machine because everything is lit up at once and it is overwhelmed with too many balls shooting in every direction. I am drowning in those never-ending thoughts with no way to filter and organize them in terms of relevance.  With the help of CBT, I am starting to identify rumination and a few times I have said something out loud and tried to redirect myself and it has worked but does not always. I see that it is working sometimes as a positive though. Prior to getting help through CBT I was well and truly stuck. Now I still get stuck but I can catch it on some occasions or at least know that it occurred.


Nearly every single time I have a hot drink and sometimes with hot food I get scalded and my brain never either remembers, gets the correct signal or processes information to prevent it from occurring again next time. 

Wrong Signals  

 My brain seems to be giving me the wrong signals pretty much all of the time. When I should feel danger, I often feel safe and when I should feel entirely safe, I feel that I am in danger. 


  1. Thank you for sharing, this was really interesting to read. My little nephew is autistic but too young to really explain to us what he is thinking or what is going on in his mind more often than not, so I really enjoy reading things like this that may give me some insight so that I can better understand what I can do to support him. I have seen some of these patterns in his behaviours, so it gives me a new way to look at them moving forward.

    1. Thank you for commenting and I am glad you found this information helpful.


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