For the last few days i have been rather unwell. Nothing to serious, just a bad cold or a bit of Flu. Today i ventured to the local shop to buy some more lemsip then coming back i sat in costa coffee.
I brought my normal drink and sat down. I was feeling rough, so i asked the costa barista if they would be so kind as to make me a lemsip. They did!
I sat down and smelled it. It was great. I then forgot entirely about thermodynamics and tried to drink it. I managed to drink my cold drink before it did too much damage.
This is all pretty typical. When chatting with my friend their advice was to add a new rule. Something like "always test a drink with your lips or wait at least 10 minutes".
At first this sounded sensible, but then i realised i had no chance of making that rule work. I simply wouldn’t have remembered it.
So, instead i asked "what did the environment assume incorrectly"? What can the enviroment around me to do prevent the bad outcome?
I had a think and decided the assumption was "jamie will remember something is hot" and thats a bad assumption for the environment to make for me.
So then i had a wonder, what could i do to change the environment?
The first few options we thought of where typical autism stuff. We could make a "cafe" routine cards and maybe an app? Perhaps one of the support people could ask the cafe nicely on my behalf.
Those help a bit more, they are modifying the environment to meet my needs. However the more i though about it the more I realised it was a perception issue. I didnt perceive the risk.
My final solution was much simpler. I added a geo-fenced alert to my phone. Every time i visit the cafe my watch and my phone will remind me to check a hot drink.
In this way the technology is making up for a badly designed environment and ensuring my impaired sense of danger does not disable me.
It’s way more likely to work and unlike "forgetting" if it does go wrong, i am less likely to go on the self attack.
I really love the social model. It helps me to think about my life differently and find effective solutions to the day to day challenges.