4 Reasons Staycations Are Great for Autistics

The word “stay-cation” gives me a bit of a visceral reaction. Which is weird, because I usually like wordplay, especially of the rhyming variety. But for whatever reason, ‘stay-cation’ makes me cringe and promise myself that I’ll never take one.

Except that my in-laws came to visit this week, and they wanted to do all the cool but totally touristy stuff that St. Louis has to offer.

It was exhausting. I don’t understand how people can go from doing minimal movement in their day to day lives, to being able to walk miles upon miles and climb an infinite number of stairs.

Now granted, I would have been mentally and physically exhausted whether we were in St. Louis or Paris, and as the week went on, I came to realize that once I got past the name, stay-cations were made for me!

So here are a few reasons why taking your vacations at home are awesome:

  1. Minimal Travel: I don’t know about you, but while I love going places, I hate getting there. Travel gets difficult because it’s hard to predict. There could be an accident on the highway, your plane could be delayed. No matter how hard you try to plan out your stops, the rest area you were counting on could be closed. And here’s a slight bit of TMI for you- I’m not great at telling when I have to go to the bathroom, so when I have to go, I have to go NOW. So to sum it up, cars are uncomfortable, airports are loud, trains are crowded, and buses smell funny. Staying in your own city minimizes all of these issues, and frees up tons of energy for stuff that’s more fun!
  2. Familiar Food: Eating out once and a while is a lot of fun. I like getting to eat foods that I can’t easily make at home (like sushi and curly fries), but holy crap does eating out have diminishing returns. It goes from fun to tedious in the blink of an eye! This week was no exception. But something that I noticed was that familiar foods made eating out a bit less stressful. I could mostly stick to restaurants that I’d been to before, which added in familiarity. And be not being somewhere new, I could be sure that the dish I was ordering wouldn’t have any weird regional variations (who puts beets on burgers? I’m looking at you, Australia).
  3. Your Schedule isn’t Completely Messed Up: I thrive on my routine, and even if I’m having the time of my life on a vacation, not being able to do things at their scheduled times really takes a toll. You can do as much planning as you want, but it still won’t be quite the same. My cartoons before bed routine just isn’t as effective if it isn’t my bed. Enter the stay-cation. Being at home means that even if your days are all messed up, you can keep your mornings and nights pretty much the same! I’ve found that I’m in a lot better of a place if I can start with my morning routine and end with my bedtime one. It makes the chaotic middle part more tolerable. And as a bonus- you get to sleep in your own bed! (Also, you don’t have to fit 5 stuffed animals into your carryon)
  4. You Can Always Just Go Home: None of us wants to feel like we’re failing at things. It’s a crappy feeling, and for me, it generally leads to me mentally kicking myself for not being able to do what “normal people” can do. But failure happens. To everyone. And no matter who you are, it sucks even worst on vacation, because you spent time and money traveling, just to not be able to enjoy yourself. That’s what’s so great about stay-cations: you’re close to home. So it’s not like you wasted a day of travel. Sometimes you just need to go home, take a break, and try again later. And there’s no shame in that.

Have you ever taken a stay-cation? What was the best part? If you haven’t, tell me one thing about where you live that’s worth seeing!

Bonus Stay-Cation Pictures

The Gateway Arch

Penguins at the St. Louis Zoo

Meramac Caverns

Cave of Wonder

My Cave is a magical place

It is a cozy nest

Filled with calming things

That sooth my autistic soul.

It is small and dark

Full of sensory friendly things

A beanbag chair to sink in to

The glow of fairy lights

Defused peppermint oil

Soft and calming music.

When the world is too much

And I am overloaded

Into my cave

I retreat.





5 Favorite Books I Read This Year

5 Favorite Books I Read This Year


I am a bookworm. There’s no question there. When I was a kid, my library had to impose a limit on how many books I could take out at once (that limit was 12, by the way). I go up and down on how much I can read. My attention span is not always great. But when I do, I’m a huge library fiend (even though I make my wife check out my books because the mean librarian SHHHHHHed me once.) I also love the Goodreads app. It lets me maintain a To Read list, to see reviews from other readers, enter reading challenges to challenge me. I even won a book in a giveaway once! Books to me are more important than just entertainment. They let me connect with characters, who are often easier to understand than real people. They let me learn social skills by watching people do the right thing…or the wrong thing. I have also learned that while I love reading dialogue, I hate writing it. Anyway, not all of these books are going on my all-time favorites list (that’s for another week), but they all meant something to me.

1. Hawkeye 1-5: If the only thing you know about Clint Barton is that he’s an Avenger and he shoots arrows, then you are missing out. The Hawkeye comics right now are phenomenal, and are so relatable to me, as someone with multiple disabilities. Canonically, Hawkeye is deaf. It depends on the issue and the author HOW deaf he is, but he is written as Hard of Hearing at the least. And even better, his disability is written well. They include Lip Reading and ASL, in fact, there’s a whole book that almost entirely in Sign Language. Pro Tip, libraries often have collections of comics, so you don’t have to shell out the cash at your friendly local comic book store (unless you want to!)

2. Challenger Deep: This book started out…weird. You’re drawn into something, but you have no idea what it is. It’s like you’re invested before you know what you’re invested in. It slowly gets less confusing, and the dual stories start to intertwine, and to be honest, you’re still not sure where it’s going, but you know you’re going too. In only a minor spoiler, I’m going to say that this book has a unique way of exploring mental illness. I appreciated the honesty, and how relatable it was. I also really like that it was done by a father and his son who experiences mental illness. I may want to read this again, to see if understanding the beginning better will give me a different experience than the first time. As if I don’t have enough to read.

3. Little Brother: This is a young adult book and when I finished it, I immediately felt like if this book had been around when I was a teenager, it would have affected me in a way that could have changed me. It’s set maybe 5 years into our future, the only real difference between our world and theirs is that their technology is slightly more advanced. Which is where the trouble lies. After a terrorist attack on San Francisco, the government starts cracking down on the population, in a totally big brother sort of way. Secret prisons, electronic monitoring, a police state, and a bunch of high schoolers just trying to make the world better. This book is about 10 years old now, but with things like Net Neutrality going on, it incredibly relevant.

4. The Girl with All the Gifts: Ok. So. I am not really a zombie fan. Also, zombies tend to give my wife nightmares, so we mostly avoid them. The Girl with All the Gifts is not your average zombie story. In fact, you don’t learn about it for the first quarter of the book. Basically, they made it so interesting to me that once I learned there were zombies, I was already too invested. They take a very scientific approach to this genre. I actually really like learning about the sorts of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that could possibly push the brain into a zombie state. The book was also made into a movie recently with Glenn Close. I haven’t seen it yet, but it got pretty decent reviews.

5. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic: This is a graphic novel written by Alison Bechdel, a lesbian author whose last name you may recognize from the famous ‘Bechdel Test’ which examines feminism in media. The novel is biographical, following a young Alison from growing up in a home with distant parents, to discovering her sexuality in college, to dealing with the death of a parent. The whole thing was very straightforward, but when I finished it I felt connected to the author’s experiences. And that’s not really something that happens to me often, so here it is, on my list.

I have 10 books left to go in my reading challenge for this year, so if you have any recommendations, I’ll take them! The great think about living in a city with such a wide library system is that I can get my hands on just about anything!


7 Easy Sensory Crafts

I am a crafter at heart. Knitting was my favorite stim before I even know what a stim was. Since finding out about how useful sensory projects are for me, I’ve tried lots! I have the absolute worst luck at making slime, but that’s ok, I’ve found lots of other things that satisfy the sensory seeking crafter inside. I’m providing links to the tutorials I’ve used, and suggest if you want more info, to check out Pinterest!

1. Travel Glitter Jar: This is more of an idea than an actual tutorial, but it’s too good not to include. This person takes the insides of a glitter jar and puts them into a travel hand sanitizer contain. I have one hooked onto my backpack and I love it!

2. Paper Beads: If you’re the sort of person who likes getting glue on your hands just so you can pull it off again, this is the craft for you! All it takes is paper products, PVA glue, and skewers. You can use newspaper, magazines, old comic books or sheet music, basically any paper that you can recycle, you can use! The beads make really fun and stimmy jewelry too, so it’s a win-win!

3. Infuser Necklaces: It can be weirdly hard to find olfactory crafts, especially since I’m really picky about smells. These necklaces are easy, customizable, and only take 3 ingredients! My favorite essential oils are Peppermint, Tea Tree, and a custom blend appropriately entitled: Calm Your Shit Down.

4. Model Magic Butter Slime: This is so simple that I’m not including a link. Mostly because I don’t remember what instructions I originally used, and all the ones I could find were more complicated than necessary. When I make it, I take 1 part ready-made slime (usually from the dollar section at Walgreen’s or Target) and one part Model Magic. Kneading these together makes a really satisfying butter slime that’s perfect for your favorite slime add-ins!

5. Water Bead Stress Balls: I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like Orbeez. They come like tiny hard beads and with some time and water, plump up into something awesome! This project has you put them into balloons, and it makes a great stress ball!

6. Marbled Paper: This project is stimmy on so many levels. From shooting the shaving cream, to the shaving cream texture, to squeezing the food coloring and swirling it all up, I never get bored of it! It also produces some really beautiful paper, which you can use in other art projects. With the endless color combinations you can make, the sky’s the limit!

7. Shrinky Dinks: I will fully admit that I am a child of the ’90s, and that means my devotion to Shrinky Dinks is strong. You can buy the paper, or if you have access to #6 plastic (the type you’d find from a salad bar container) you can use that too! I’m never too old to have fun coloring, and watching the plastic shrink is highly rewarding. The link I included shows you how to turn your designs into pins, but you can also use them as necklaces, bracelets, or even buttons!

Well, that’s that for crafts. I’m sure I’ve forgotten things, but luckily there’s a big wide world of internet crafts out there. If you’ve got favorite sensory crafts, feel free to leave them in the comments, I’m always looking for more hands-on activities to do!

Neurotypical Bingo

Neurotypical people can sometimes be a source of frustration. I know that many people without autism mean well, but between a lack of knowledge about autistic people, and the many stereotypes people believe about autism, their words and attitudes can be anything from frustrating all the way up to hurtful. Education is important, but sometimes humor is the only solution! Next time you’re in a situation where someone is talking about puzzle pieces or how ‘high functioning’ you are, just mentally check them off on your card, and you’re one step closer to BINGO!

Neurotypical Bingo

Neurotypical Bingo