Tools for Autistic Adults

I try not to stray into consumerism here on this blog, but it’s just a fact that we need certain items to survive, and that might look different for different people. For autistic people, we may have specific sensory needs and challenges that others do not, and so we need different items.

Here are the best tools I use, as an autistic adult, in my every day life:


Chewelry (chew + jewelry) is a type of jewelry made specifically for oral stimming. That means that it’s a wearable item that is safe to chew on or hold in your mouth, and it can be cleaned easily. Mostly, it comes in the form of a silicone pendant on a necklace, but there are also fabric-type necklaces as well as bracelets.

My favorite is this feather one, for reasons I will discuss below.

If you want to upgrade your chewelry, I recommend replacing the default necklace with a thin leather cord. The leather won’t soak up saliva, meaning your entire chewelry experience will be much neater!

Weighted blanket.

Weighted blankets have become almost synonymous with neurodivergence.

I know people that put on the weighted blanket and instantly, visibly relax. I am not one of those people, but I still love my weighted blanket.

For a price-conscious approach, you can buy mass-produced weighted blankets for less than $100. Most of them are have covers that are plain gray, which suits me just fine as it’s my favorite color! If you’re looking for customization, however, there are also many creators on the internet that make weighted blankets out of different fabrics, so you can choose a print and a texture that suits you!

The downside of weighted blankets is that they are (obviously) not very portable. To solve this problem, weighted vests or lap pads are available too.

Ear defenders.

Ear defenders are the piece de resistance of my autism toolkit. I put them on and I instantly calm down.

The type I have do not play music or cancel sound using active technology— instead, they muffle everything using soft padding and a tight fit over your head. If you prefer music while you drown out atmospheric sound, that is of course an option, but I prefer silence.

Obviously, some louder noises still make it through, but the relief I experience when I put on my ear defenders is still amazing.

I have tried Loop earplugs, but found the sensation to be much worse. Having them directly in your ear makes its own sort of sound (like hearing the ocean in a seashell) which I found to be very unpleasant.

Telephone cord bracelet.

Telephone cord bracelets are the obvious choice for subtle public stimming. Like chewelry, it’s wearable, so it’s much harder to lose or to forget to bring. However, since you play with it with your hands and fingers, it’s much less noticeable than chewelry.

I use my telephone cord bracelet the most during doctor appointments, when I’m trying to appear confident while also focusing on the conversation.

Phone with notes app.

If I lose speech (something that happens often in conjunction with my trauma symptoms) I use my phone with its notes app to communicate.

I have tried just about every free specialized AAC app option on the market, but I found that writing text notes is more specific and just less awkward. For others, AAC apps may be a great option (especially if they struggle with the written word too when they lose speech) but they just did not work for me.

Food I want to eat.

If I have a specific samefood as part of my routine, I do my best to continue to acquire that food, rather than forcing myself to eat something I don’t want to eat. Sometimes that means ordering out (within reason!) or extra trips to the grocery store. Not forcing myself to eat food I don’t want is an important gesture of bodily autonomy and a way to buck neurotypical expectations that I’ve internalized.

On the other hand, there are many tools popular with autistic people that I have tried and not found to be helpful. This doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you or your loved ones, just that it didn’t work for me!

Here are some things that I tried that didn’t work:

Elastic bed cover.

An elastic bed cover was described to me as like a weighted blanket with less hassle, so I decided to try it out. I found it to be nothing like a weighted blanket, and soon took it off my bed.

Certain kinds of chewelry.

Unfortunately, if silicone chewelry is too thick, it makes me gag. I’m not sure why.

Most stim toys.

I find most stim toys to be unsatisfying, and I have tried a huge variety because they all look like fun! However, none of them compare to my telephone cord bracelet for portability and style.

Tiimo App Review

The scheduling app Tiimo has become popular in neurodivergent circles, so I decided to try it out. Basically, what it does is automate your schedule, which is something that can be particularly helpful for people that need routine. I rate it 10/10, even though I had some trouble figuring out how to use it in the beginning.

Note: Tiimo was designed for families with neurodivergent children, and I am not a parent. I cannot speak to how well it works for children, only how much it helped me as a neurodivergent adult.

Here’s a quick run-down on the pros and cons.


  • Keeps you on track and provides you with updates on your progress using notifications.
  • Extremely customizable and flexible.
  • Very visual, including icons, color-coding, and a progress bar for each activity.
  • Not particularly expensive for a subscription app at about $30 for an entire year.
  • Can be synced with a smart watch.


  • Requires lots of set up before use.

What is Tiimo?

Tiimo is a scheduling app built specifically for neurodivergent people, especially autistic or ADHD adults or children. Often, neurodivergent people thrive in routine and experience anxiety without it, but have trouble sticking to a schedule. Tiimo automates the process and reduces friction to help you adhere to the schedule you’ve set up and transition between activities more easily.

To use it, you input your activities (like “Go to the grocery store” or “Biology class”) and then assign them to specific times. You can color-code and select icons for each activity. You can also create “routines,” which are activities in a sequence, to speed up setting up your schedule. Add an activity or a routine to a specific day and then decide if and when you want it to repeat.

Once your schedule is set up, Tiimo will notify you before an activity starts to give you some warning and help you transition. During the activity, it shows a progress bar so you know how much time you have left and when to start cleaning up the Legos, for example.


I absolutely love having a routine. Until Tiimo, my attempts to prioritize and decide on what to do next with my day would often get hijacked by depression and hopelessness, leading me to end up doing nothing. With a routine of my own creation, on the other hand, I don’t have to decide what to do next because it’s the same every day. Even if I don’t follow it exactly (which I never do) Tiimo is still there in my notifications reminding me of my priorities.


When I first downloaded Tiimo, it took me about two hours to figure out how to use the app and then set up my week. (It took some intense Googling to figure out how to delete an activity. In case you’re wondering too, you slide the activity’s box to the left to reveal a trash can icon.) This may seem like quite an investment, but I have found it to be very worth it!

How I Use Tiimo

What does my day look like? As soon as I started using the app, I input my work schedule, which is the same every week but not the same every day. (Luckily, it’s very easy to choose when events repeat!)

Then I put in my morning schedule, which is absolutely crucial because if I forget my morning meds I will be nonfunctional the rest of the day. It also includes leisurely drinking coffee, which starts my morning off on the right note, as well as eating something because I often forget to eat. This repeats every day, but at different times depending on the rest of my schedule.

After work, I spend two hours (yes, two entire hours!) decompressing and/or taking a nap. Work takes a lot out of me as a disabled person, even though my shifts are only four hours. I find that if I don’t do this, I am super out of spoons by the end of the day. After my nap, I do chores, eat dinner, consume media (like watching TV or reading books), and then journal. (That leaves me another two hours before bedtime to scroll TikTok!)

Finally, non-negotiable stuff (like work) is color-coded in blue. Things that I know that are coming up but are deviations from the usual schedule (like doctors’ appointments) are color-coded red.

Tips & Tricks

As I said above, I almost never stick exactly to my routine. However, I still find it helpful, because it reminds me of my priorities. For example, I may eat dinner before I do chores if I’m particularly hungry, but the app still serves its function by reminding me to devote some time to cleaning the house. Instead of scrolling Facebook for hours like I did pre-Tiimo, I am watching the new Voltron.

Something else that I have found very helpful is building extra time into my schedule. Rather than pack my day with activities, I give each activity at least an hour, and I also give myself about four hours a day of doing nothing in particular. (This could be used “productively” or not! It’s my choice!) Don’t set your expectations unrealistically high or you will disappoint yourself. Instead, make sure to “pad” your schedule, especially for those times when the unexpected crops up.

For more information on how Tiimo’s creators recommend you use it, check out this link.