Spoons in brief

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Today’s post in my autism awareness week series is probably the easiest. It’s about the spoons metaphor.

First read the original piece by Christine Miserandino.

That covers most of it. The much shorter version is that spoons are a unit of energy. I start most good days with 10 spoons and doing things uses spoons. A shower, 2 spoons, commuting 4-6 spoons etc etc.

When I run out of spoons, I tend to get very spaced out. Beyond that, if the pressure continues, it tends to cause a panic attack or a shutdown.

I actively manage my spoons throughout the day. Knowing which activities drain spoons gives me a tool for ensuring I never push to far.

I like spoons as a metaphor because it talks about a pragmatic approach to managing stuff. It’s about getting the most out of life. It’s got a positive focus. The spoons approach does not punish me or make me feel bad on days when I run out of spoons. It just means I have another data point to use to do better the next day.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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