In a couple of days we will all wish each other a happy New Year. And many people with autism will also receive that wish. But what if we turn that wish into concrete actions that can really make a difference in the happiness of people with autism? In the last weeks before New Year I post 10 concrete actions that can make 2022 a happy/happier year for autistic people. No super big, impressive, world changing actions, but small things that can make a difference. Small interventions, based on theory and research, that can easily be applied and that can make life in 2022 a (more) H.A.P.P.Y. life for someone (or more people) on the autism spectrum. Make your New Year’s Resolutions for an autism-friendly 2022 concrete and join me in 10 easy to realize autism friendly well-being actions. And remember: no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Tip #10: A personalized happiness plan
The past 9 tips were all tips based on the autism specific well-being programme I developed during the first lockdown in 2020. Right after the outbreak of the pandemic, I had written a blog post with 20 tips to cope with the Corona pandemic. This post was translated into many different languages and received a lot of attention. This made me realize there is a big need for autism specific strategies to nurture and promote the well-being of people with an autism diagnosis. And not only during the pandemic.
So, I looked for evidence based well-being strategies and made them autism friendly. This resulted in a workbook and psycho-education programme, named H.A.P.P.Y. (Happiness in Autism Personal Project for Young people). H.A.P.P.Y. results in an individualized and personal workbook with tips and tricks to increase the well-being of a child, youngster or adult with autism.
Now almost two years later, there are more than 40 H.A.P.P.Y.-coaches all over the world. They have been trained to develop individualized, tailor-made happiness plans for autistic people. They are very creative and in the feedback sessions, where these H.A.P.P.Y.-coaches present their work, I have seen many beautiful examples of autism-friendly well-being strategies and amazing plans and workbooks. There is still no formal study of the effects of H.A.P.P.Y., but the feedback from children, young adults and parents has been very positive.
My ambition for 2022 is that more than 100 autistic people will receive a personalized plan that promotes their well-being. Part of that ambition will be realized by the current H.A.P.P.Y.-coaches, but it would be nice if more people make their New Year’s wish for an autism friendly 2022 concrete by making a personalized happiness plan for (at least) one person on the autism spectrum. A plan full of concrete actions to give the autistic person more joy, pleasure, autonomy and fulfilment in 2022. As I mentioned a couple of times in this series of tips: these actions do not necessarily have to be big projects. Happiness comes from small things.
So, take a pen and a piece of paper or open your laptop and start writing a happiness plan for someone on the autism spectrum. Make well-being of autistic people your top priority in 2022.
No inspiration? You don’t know where to start? Well, on my webshop you will find the Autism Good Feeling Questionnaire for free (my New Year’s gift to you J). It is an informal assessment tool to explore the things and activities that give the autistic person a good feeling.
And if you want more ideas, you are welcome to attend the H.A.P.P.Y.-coach training, where I share many strategies and concrete examples for making a personalized happiness plan.
I wish you and all your beloved ones a H.A.P.P.Y. and healthy 2022.