Although challenging, Habitica can help autistic people develop the skills necessary to overcome their obstacles and improve their lives, just like it can do for neurotypical Habiticans.
The strategies below will vary from individual to individual. It is important to consider what works for the player, as a strategy that works for one person may not necessarily work for another.
If you are autistic, it may be helpful to visit the Autistic Adventurers' Guild, a guild specifically for autistic people supporting each other throughout their journey. The guild includes those who are self-diagnosed. Members of the guild have contributed most of the ideas for this page.
- 1 Guilds
- 2 Living on the Spectrum
Guilds are a great way to find people going through similar experiences and connect with those people. Guilds also help you find and communicate with people with similar interests, which can be especially helpful for those with a narrow interest range.
The topics discussed in Guilds can range from Gaming to Fandom and everything in between. They can also discuss lifestyle and can help you learn a new language. The Guilds Guide is a useful page that describes many Habitica guilds (although small/bronze guilds with fewer than 100 members are rarely listed).
If you also have issues with mental health in conjunction with being autistic, you may find checking out the guilds on your specific mental health issue helpful. For example, if you have anxiety or social anxiety, the Anxiety Alliance Guild may be of help to you.
Please note that public guilds may not cater to your specific interest area. In that case, you should be able to find one that has a similar interest or a broader focus that incorporates your interests.
Living on the Spectrum
Clear Task Setting
For people on the autism spectrum, it is especially important to be clear about what tasks mean. These players should be specific about their objectives, such as taking advantage of the notes on a particular task. Many of the following suggestions are about setting up tasks. To see sample lists of Habits, Dailies, and other tasks please see the category Sample Lists.
Taking Care of Yourself
Poor self-care can be detrimental to mental health and can cause other problems in one's life. So it is important that players learn to take care of themselves as much possible. Care for yourself is a challenge in self care for those on the autism spectrum.
Getting Proper Sleep
Poor sleep hygiene can be detrimental to anyone's mental health. In order to improve sleeping habits, one should choose a sleep routine, with the same daily wake up and bed time, even during the weekends. The sleep hygiene challenge from the Autistic Adventurers Guild is a sleep routine challenge specific for those on the autism spectrum.
Keeping clean can help one lead a healthy life. Functioning Dailies can help remind a player to complete personal hygiene goals. In addition to setting your Dailies, you can also set alarms for when to complete personal hygiene tasks.
Eating well is important for leading a healthy life. Sometimes, it is easy to forget to eat or eat well, especially for a fussy eater. Dailies and alarms can remind you to eat healthy and regularly. In addition to that, the Nutrition and Hydration challenge may also assist you in eating regular meals.
Fussy eaters may need to consider broadening their meals, as they may have some nutritional deficiencies. There are numerous ways to do so, but they should find what system works for them. One should usually begin by identifying the source of picky eating. These factors could be taste, texture, color, past association, or any other reason.
When a person has identified the sources of picky eating, it then becomes possible to identify other possible acceptable food sources. At this stage, it can be useful to explore other cuisines. A person who may not find many tolerable foods in the American cuisine may find more tolerable food in Chinese cuisine.
Exercising is also something that you may be prone to forget. However, it is important that you lead a lifestyle with at least some exercise every day. You should start small and add more when you feel comfortable doing so.
You can start off by looking for the numerous exercise challenges that are available in the Tavern, or make a Daily tailored to yourself that encourages you to exercise. If you are not comfortable making exercising an everyday thing, you may also consider making it a habit.
Take your prescribed medication as instructed. This is best done as a Daily since it is likely a task that will be done regularly. Additionally, Dailies can serve as a reminder to take medication. Tasks can be adjusted for specific medication schedules.
Aiding Executive Functioning
Many users on the autism spectrum have impaired executive functioning. Sometimes, this makes their day-to-day activities difficult to manage. Habitica can help a player manage some difficulties associated with impaired executive functioning. In addition, the Executive Dysfunction Blues challenge can help if one is having trouble coping with their executive functioning.
It may also be useful to learn to use the Data Display Tool to view progress and the potential damage from undone dailies. This may be especially useful if a player wishes to see hard data on their performance and are motivated by concrete evidence.
When a person on the autism spectrum encounters a major task, they can very easily be overwhelmed with the enormity of the task. Chunking, or breaking large tasks into many smaller tasks can help with initiative and can provide a greater incentive to complete the tasks, especially when it comes to long and difficult tasks.
Dailies that may be long and overwhelming may be broken into smaller, more manageable parts of a larger task. The checklist function can aid the player in chunking large dailies. They may reduce the damage inflicted upon the player and their party if the checklist items have been completed. Some players may want to check out strategies given in the page, players who can't do tasks reliably, especially those who are starting out or those who struggle with task completion.
To Do's are ideal for long-term tasks that need to be broken down, or for tasks with an irregular schedule. Due to their nature, To Do's can be difficult to manage with impaired executive functioning. They can also be chunked by using their checklists, which can be useful for large tasks that seem overwhelming. Additionally, the added satisfaction for completing checklist items when the task is done can provide an incentive to complete the task.
Coping with Major Changes
Change is a part of life but can be especially difficult for someone with impaired executive functioning. A major change in life can lead to extreme stress, so it is best to approach the change gradually rather than to be exposed to the major change at once.
If it is possible, a player can take a gradual exposure approach to anticipated major changes. Try to anticipate the change if possible and plan for it. Plan for extra self-care sessions for the duration of the change to help you cope.
It may also help to acknowledge the parts of the change under personal control and the parts that cannot be controlled. Having more control may make dealing with a major change easier to deal with. In addition, a person may need to learn new rules and guidelines associated with the change. This can provide structure and more confidence.
When the major change is both unanticipated and quick, one may need to plan for extra self-care sessions and take some breaks from the major change. This may provide the energy necessary to deal with such a change.
Developing Social Skills
Developing socials skills can be a tedious affair for an autistic person. While it may be impractical to meet new people every day, it could be helpful to learn and practice these skills regularly. One can also practice them with people you already know, or close friends.
Social contact every day, even online, can seriously help develop social skills. Ideally, a player should practice in diverse social settings such as teams, small parties, on phone calls and in one-on-one conversations. This would allow the user to have a better understanding of what to do in these situations. Habits can also be used to encourage the practice of social skills, especially ones recently learned. Alternatively, for higher stakes, practicing social skills could become a Daily.
Additionally, be patient when developing social skills. Some players are unlikely to learn to be social at the pace of a neurotypical. Everyone will progress at a different pace. A skill that one person learns in a week can take another person six weeks to learn.
Giving Emotional Support
One of the most difficult social skills for an autistic person to do is to give another person emotional support, especially during tough times. Sometimes, it can be difficult for one to know what to do in these situations and these situations can be especially daunting to autistic people.
You should approach it with the understanding that you may not be able to read other people's feelings very well or effectively deal with your own emotions. In fact, empathy can be difficult to show in many cases, and sometimes, you may react inappropriately. You may also feel bewildered or out of depth when giving emotional support. It is okay to feel this way.
It is best not to assume that you know what the person wants and to ask instead. Most people are more than willing to express or tell what they want. It might be advice, tea, hugs or even to be left alone. If people are having difficulty answering you, you can give a few suggestions in order to allow them to find what they need to be adequately supported.
While you may want to support your friends and family when they are going through a tough time, you need to prioritize your needs before you can help others. Be sure to treat yourself well and to conserve the energy for other activities.