kitchen dishes and ingredients for cooking
December 1, 2023

Cooking with Autism: a neurodivergent guide

For the holidays and beyond, here at Tiimo we have put together a 101 whistle stop guide to cooking. 

Lydia Wilkins

Lydia Wilkins is a freelance journalist specialising in disability and social inequality issues. She is the author of The Autism Friendly Cookbook.

Summary

  • Know your sensory profile needs
  • Executive functioning and why it matters in the kitchen
  • Strategies to keep in mind
  • Be aware of energy costs
  • Self-advocacy matters

It’s the most wonderful time of year…. The weather has become dramatically cold, twinkly lights dot the edges of houses, mulled wine becomes a ‘must have’ drink along with the staple jumper. The Christmas season has come round once again, and with it, it presents a period of time when there is going to be a lot of cooking and social activity around food and the kitchen space. 

For those who fit the Neurodivergent umbrella, such as if they are on the Autistic spectrum, the Christmas holidays present a multitude of additional challenges. However, we rarely talk about cooking. How the kitchen is inaccessible, a hostile environment, with an extra layer of socializing, too. For the Christmas holiday and beyond, here at Tiimo we have put together a 101 whistle stop guide to cooking. 

The Autism Friendly Cook Book by Lydia Wilkins

Know your sensory profile needs

An Autistic person has a sensory profile and, just like every single person is different, so are our access needs. Contrary to popular misconceptions, we all have 8 separate senses - the extra 3 are interoception (interpretation of sensation), proprioception (spatial awareness and perception) and vestibular (balance). They have 2 different ‘settings’: hypersensitive (there is too much input incoming) and hyposensitive (there is not enough input incoming.) The sensory needs can clash - such as needing quiet or silence if there is too much sound, vs needing more physical input (such as by weighted blankets.) 

In the kitchen, being aware of these needs is an absolute ‘must’ - because it can open up the space more. An impaired sense of interoception may mean it can be extremely hard to recognise thirst or hunger - and this can lead to serious health issues if unaddressed. Being aware of these needs allows for extra comfort especially in anxiety-provoking situations, such as when it comes to the holiday

Executive functioning and why it matters in the kitchen

Every single one of us has what you could best describe as a ‘PA’ inside our brain - and it is the function that allows tasks to be done, sequenced, carried out. Think about making a cup of tea - all the different steps needed to make the tea have to be ordered and carried out. But this can be significantly impaired! We all know that one person who in education could never remember their exercise book or pen - this is a key example of impaired executive functioning. 

If we do not account for our needs and the ‘extra’ demand of having to cater to them, it can have a drastic impact on executive functioning. If an Autistic person is overwhelmed due to too much input for example, they may experience a significant impact on their skills or their ability to execute a task. 

Think about the transitions - how we are likely to go from activity to activity - and how the different environments and changes will have an impact on the executive functioning issues you may have. When it comes to the kitchen, it’s okay to line up equipment, ingredients - and to take time setting up before you start baking. 

Daily planning designed to change your life.

Visualize time. Build focus. Make life happen. Tiimo is designed for people with ADHD, Autism, and everyone who thinks, works, and plans differently.

Get started with our free trial. Cancel anytime.

Strategies to help you manage the Christmas holidays

Sometimes we need to implement our own ways of managing and Christmas could be a good time to practice some strategies. 

For example, think about how you organize your fridge; if you live by yourself, you could have a shelf dedicated to each meal of the day, meaning you’ve planned out enough to take care if you experience interoception issues. (Meaning you may sometimes forget to eat or drink, by not being able to detect hunger or thirst.) Keep leftovers or fresh ingredients at the front, so you can consume them before going off or stale. 

Meal planning is a great tactic

There are also aids that you can use to adapt or to accommodate your needs. A jar opener is a cheap thing to add to a kitchen - but if you have issues with motor skills, this is a lifesaver when Autistic and cooking! Weighted cutlery can help if you have overlaps with other conditions, such as Dyspraxia. If you struggle with sound, there are tools such as Loop Earplugs that can help, too. 

Tiimo also offers content on its app when it comes to cooking - such as when it comes to planning and time spent interacting in the kitchen. 

Be aware of energy costs

It’s often been documented that Autistic and Neurodivergent individuals often express they use far more energy that Neurotypical folks, to simply cope in a world not built for them. This is so important to consider - especially during a holiday when you may be required to use up more energy than usual. 

So think of the aids and adaptations you can make - and implement accordingly.

Cooking and the kitchen can be so very hard,  but by opening up the space, we can get Neurodivergent people into the space. Christmas can be a stressful time - let’s start by minimizing the stress on ourselves

Get a 25% discount on Lydia's cookbook The Autism Friendly Cookbook until the end of the year with the code COOK25

Five golden rules for Autistic people in the kitchen

Cooking beyond the spectrum (online course)

December 1, 2023

Cooking with Autism: a neurodivergent guide

For the holidays and beyond, here at Tiimo we have put together a 101 whistle stop guide to cooking. 

Lydia Wilkins

Lydia Wilkins is a freelance journalist specialising in disability and social inequality issues. She is the author of The Autism Friendly Cookbook.

Summary

  • Know your sensory profile needs
  • Executive functioning and why it matters in the kitchen
  • Strategies to keep in mind
  • Be aware of energy costs
  • Self-advocacy matters

It’s the most wonderful time of year…. The weather has become dramatically cold, twinkly lights dot the edges of houses, mulled wine becomes a ‘must have’ drink along with the staple jumper. The Christmas season has come round once again, and with it, it presents a period of time when there is going to be a lot of cooking and social activity around food and the kitchen space. 

For those who fit the Neurodivergent umbrella, such as if they are on the Autistic spectrum, the Christmas holidays present a multitude of additional challenges. However, we rarely talk about cooking. How the kitchen is inaccessible, a hostile environment, with an extra layer of socializing, too. For the Christmas holiday and beyond, here at Tiimo we have put together a 101 whistle stop guide to cooking. 

The Autism Friendly Cook Book by Lydia Wilkins

Know your sensory profile needs

An Autistic person has a sensory profile and, just like every single person is different, so are our access needs. Contrary to popular misconceptions, we all have 8 separate senses - the extra 3 are interoception (interpretation of sensation), proprioception (spatial awareness and perception) and vestibular (balance). They have 2 different ‘settings’: hypersensitive (there is too much input incoming) and hyposensitive (there is not enough input incoming.) The sensory needs can clash - such as needing quiet or silence if there is too much sound, vs needing more physical input (such as by weighted blankets.) 

In the kitchen, being aware of these needs is an absolute ‘must’ - because it can open up the space more. An impaired sense of interoception may mean it can be extremely hard to recognise thirst or hunger - and this can lead to serious health issues if unaddressed. Being aware of these needs allows for extra comfort especially in anxiety-provoking situations, such as when it comes to the holiday

Executive functioning and why it matters in the kitchen

Every single one of us has what you could best describe as a ‘PA’ inside our brain - and it is the function that allows tasks to be done, sequenced, carried out. Think about making a cup of tea - all the different steps needed to make the tea have to be ordered and carried out. But this can be significantly impaired! We all know that one person who in education could never remember their exercise book or pen - this is a key example of impaired executive functioning. 

If we do not account for our needs and the ‘extra’ demand of having to cater to them, it can have a drastic impact on executive functioning. If an Autistic person is overwhelmed due to too much input for example, they may experience a significant impact on their skills or their ability to execute a task. 

Think about the transitions - how we are likely to go from activity to activity - and how the different environments and changes will have an impact on the executive functioning issues you may have. When it comes to the kitchen, it’s okay to line up equipment, ingredients - and to take time setting up before you start baking. 

Daily planning designed to change your life.

Visualize time. Build focus. Make life happen. Tiimo is designed for people with ADHD, Autism, and everyone who thinks, works, and plans differently.

Get started with our free trial. Cancel anytime.

Strategies to help you manage the Christmas holidays

Sometimes we need to implement our own ways of managing and Christmas could be a good time to practice some strategies. 

For example, think about how you organize your fridge; if you live by yourself, you could have a shelf dedicated to each meal of the day, meaning you’ve planned out enough to take care if you experience interoception issues. (Meaning you may sometimes forget to eat or drink, by not being able to detect hunger or thirst.) Keep leftovers or fresh ingredients at the front, so you can consume them before going off or stale. 

Meal planning is a great tactic

There are also aids that you can use to adapt or to accommodate your needs. A jar opener is a cheap thing to add to a kitchen - but if you have issues with motor skills, this is a lifesaver when Autistic and cooking! Weighted cutlery can help if you have overlaps with other conditions, such as Dyspraxia. If you struggle with sound, there are tools such as Loop Earplugs that can help, too. 

Tiimo also offers content on its app when it comes to cooking - such as when it comes to planning and time spent interacting in the kitchen. 

Be aware of energy costs

It’s often been documented that Autistic and Neurodivergent individuals often express they use far more energy that Neurotypical folks, to simply cope in a world not built for them. This is so important to consider - especially during a holiday when you may be required to use up more energy than usual. 

So think of the aids and adaptations you can make - and implement accordingly.

Cooking and the kitchen can be so very hard,  but by opening up the space, we can get Neurodivergent people into the space. Christmas can be a stressful time - let’s start by minimizing the stress on ourselves

Get a 25% discount on Lydia's cookbook The Autism Friendly Cookbook until the end of the year with the code COOK25

Five golden rules for Autistic people in the kitchen

Cooking beyond the spectrum (online course)

Cooking with Autism: a neurodivergent guide
December 1, 2023

Cooking with Autism: a neurodivergent guide

For the holidays and beyond, here at Tiimo we have put together a 101 whistle stop guide to cooking. 

Georgina Shute

Georgina is an ADHD coach and digital leader. She set up KindTwo to empower as many people as possible to work with Neurodiversity - not against it.

Summary

  • Know your sensory profile needs
  • Executive functioning and why it matters in the kitchen
  • Strategies to keep in mind
  • Be aware of energy costs
  • Self-advocacy matters

It’s the most wonderful time of year…. The weather has become dramatically cold, twinkly lights dot the edges of houses, mulled wine becomes a ‘must have’ drink along with the staple jumper. The Christmas season has come round once again, and with it, it presents a period of time when there is going to be a lot of cooking and social activity around food and the kitchen space. 

For those who fit the Neurodivergent umbrella, such as if they are on the Autistic spectrum, the Christmas holidays present a multitude of additional challenges. However, we rarely talk about cooking. How the kitchen is inaccessible, a hostile environment, with an extra layer of socializing, too. For the Christmas holiday and beyond, here at Tiimo we have put together a 101 whistle stop guide to cooking. 

The Autism Friendly Cook Book by Lydia Wilkins

Know your sensory profile needs

An Autistic person has a sensory profile and, just like every single person is different, so are our access needs. Contrary to popular misconceptions, we all have 8 separate senses - the extra 3 are interoception (interpretation of sensation), proprioception (spatial awareness and perception) and vestibular (balance). They have 2 different ‘settings’: hypersensitive (there is too much input incoming) and hyposensitive (there is not enough input incoming.) The sensory needs can clash - such as needing quiet or silence if there is too much sound, vs needing more physical input (such as by weighted blankets.) 

In the kitchen, being aware of these needs is an absolute ‘must’ - because it can open up the space more. An impaired sense of interoception may mean it can be extremely hard to recognise thirst or hunger - and this can lead to serious health issues if unaddressed. Being aware of these needs allows for extra comfort especially in anxiety-provoking situations, such as when it comes to the holiday

Executive functioning and why it matters in the kitchen

Every single one of us has what you could best describe as a ‘PA’ inside our brain - and it is the function that allows tasks to be done, sequenced, carried out. Think about making a cup of tea - all the different steps needed to make the tea have to be ordered and carried out. But this can be significantly impaired! We all know that one person who in education could never remember their exercise book or pen - this is a key example of impaired executive functioning. 

If we do not account for our needs and the ‘extra’ demand of having to cater to them, it can have a drastic impact on executive functioning. If an Autistic person is overwhelmed due to too much input for example, they may experience a significant impact on their skills or their ability to execute a task. 

Think about the transitions - how we are likely to go from activity to activity - and how the different environments and changes will have an impact on the executive functioning issues you may have. When it comes to the kitchen, it’s okay to line up equipment, ingredients - and to take time setting up before you start baking. 

Strategies to help you manage the Christmas holidays

Sometimes we need to implement our own ways of managing and Christmas could be a good time to practice some strategies. 

For example, think about how you organize your fridge; if you live by yourself, you could have a shelf dedicated to each meal of the day, meaning you’ve planned out enough to take care if you experience interoception issues. (Meaning you may sometimes forget to eat or drink, by not being able to detect hunger or thirst.) Keep leftovers or fresh ingredients at the front, so you can consume them before going off or stale. 

Meal planning is a great tactic

There are also aids that you can use to adapt or to accommodate your needs. A jar opener is a cheap thing to add to a kitchen - but if you have issues with motor skills, this is a lifesaver when Autistic and cooking! Weighted cutlery can help if you have overlaps with other conditions, such as Dyspraxia. If you struggle with sound, there are tools such as Loop Earplugs that can help, too. 

Tiimo also offers content on its app when it comes to cooking - such as when it comes to planning and time spent interacting in the kitchen. 

Be aware of energy costs

It’s often been documented that Autistic and Neurodivergent individuals often express they use far more energy that Neurotypical folks, to simply cope in a world not built for them. This is so important to consider - especially during a holiday when you may be required to use up more energy than usual. 

So think of the aids and adaptations you can make - and implement accordingly.

Cooking and the kitchen can be so very hard,  but by opening up the space, we can get Neurodivergent people into the space. Christmas can be a stressful time - let’s start by minimizing the stress on ourselves

Get a 25% discount on Lydia's cookbook The Autism Friendly Cookbook until the end of the year with the code COOK25

Five golden rules for Autistic people in the kitchen

Cooking beyond the spectrum (online course)

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