As an autistic person, one of the difficulties my son faces is to predict or imagine what will happen next in any particular situation. Consequently, he becomes very anxious about going anywhere unfamiliar and prefers to keep to a routine he knows which means he is very resistant about trying anything new. Changes therefore have to be prepared for in advance and by doing this we can try and make things easier for him though we cannot always avoid him becoming distressed particularly if his senses face a sudden onslaught from noise, heat etc.
So when he started suffering with agoraphobia in 2009 (aged 10) getting him out off the house, even with planning, was initially almost impossible. (If you click on the agoraphobia link, there is some helpful information and comments that provide a more detailed understanding of what it is like for sufferers of anxiety and agoraphobia. There are also resources for parents and carers.)
Anyway, returning back to our situation, medication lessened my son’s anxiety sufficiently for us to be able to engage with him which meant that I could verbally dripfeed the idea of us leaving the house and going for a short walk outside. After mentioning this idea a few times, I then waited till he was as relaxed as possible before I encouraged him out of the front door. It wasn’t easy. My son was still anxious about leaving our home but with lots of encouragement (and a little bit of bribery) we managed to get him out of the front door and walk down the road. We then repeated this walk several times over the course of a few weeks until he felt comfortable enough to extend his walk to the corner shop from where he was allowed to pick some sweets.
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