A Note on Downloads

The content in this entire Coping With Autism page can be downloaded as part of a single document below.

Also, downloadable from this page is 'Matt's Daily Health Guide', my attempt to summarize general health related behaviors that I think everyone should consider. There are many recommendations therein that can be used to guide your care of your child, and yourself.

Live in a Walkable Community

One way of building a life that reinforces many of these pieces of advice involves living in a walkable community, such as a small town, or the urban core of a big city, or a close in suburban community that was built out after the fashion of a small town around a rail hub or streetcar line. These communities were successful homes for Americans for most of our country’s history. Only since world war two has an automobile dominated suburban existence been possible. The growth in suburbia ties correlatively to the increasing incidence of autism

Real towns help force people into adaptive coping behaviors. You tend to walk around instead of driving, getting the benefit of exercise and being outside and avoiding the toxicity of the car (a recent study just demonstrated that people who live in real communities weigh a lot less than those in auto suburbs). You tend to know and interact with your neighbors, helping to reinforce interpersonal relationships and reduce fear reactions. You tend to eat better, because you are not driving around so much that you don’t have time for a meal and therefore eat fast food instead. You tend to have more space, again since you spend less time going from one place to another. You tend to spend more time outdoors, because you can get to real and interesting places quickly and without supervision. You have the opportunity to avoid TV and video games as there are more interesting things to do and see in a real town versus in the middle of a suburban sprawl neighborhood that lacks sidewalks. You are insulated from some of tentacles of mass media culture, in the form of billboards, radio commercials, and TV advertising.

Living in the middle of suburban sprawl is probably the worst thing you can do for your child. Suburban sprawl is a core feature of the modern society that we have built that is proving so toxic to its creators. It forces its inhabitants into maladaptation.


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