Crochet is an incredible skill that helps so many people in a number of ways. It can help those struggling with mental health issues and can also be an incredible tool for folks on the autism spectrum.
Every autistic person’s experience is different and each individual has varying needs, abilities, and skill sets. Nevertheless, crochet might just be a tool that can help autistic folks regulate, stim, and even be a source of income.
As an autistic person myself, I want to share my own use of crochet in my life, as well as answer some questions about why crochet can be so beneficial to autistic folks.
Benefits of Crocheting as an Autistic Person
I’ve been crocheting since the ages of 5 or 6 and knitting since my teen years. Throughout high school and college, I was more invested in my knitting, but still always held a deep love for crochet and have returned to it as my main craft over the last few years.
Although I wasn’t diagnosed with Autism till my late 20s, I have been using both crochet and knitting as a tool for myself almost my entire life.
Both crochet and knitting are incredibly repetitive, allowing your hands to move non-stop, which is a wonderful form of stimming for many autistic folks.
Stimmingis a repetitive movement or vocalization used to help calm and regulate an individual. Stimming most often occurs when under stress, experiencing intense emotions (both positive and negative), and/or when in an overstimulating environment.
Crochet is a wonderful form of stimming as it not only gives you repetitive movement but also engages your senses in the touching of yarn and hook, which can help soothe and calm your mind.
I was that student who brought my crochet and knitting to class and would work on my projects throughout lectures. Having my hands busy allowed my mind to focus on what was being taught while also giving me a conversation starter if classmates approached me.
Crochet also gave me predictability when in new environments, while also allowing me to avoid making eye contact as I focused on my work.
Even to this day, when in meetings, therapy, or simply catching up with a friend, you will almost always see me with a project in hand.
Although it may distract some people to multi-task in this way, for me and many other autistic folks, having our hands busy allows our brains to focus and our bodies to be regulated and calm enough to appreciate what is happening around us.
Other Perks of Crocheting for Autistic Persons
Only around 10% of people with autism are able to join the workforce and work a typical 8-hour day. For many autistic people, this simply isn’t possible due to our range of needs and abilities.
However, crochet can become a source of income for many autistic folks. Being able to crochet regardless of what is going on around us gives us the ability to focus and finish projects at a more consistent rate. In turn, we can sell online or at fairs, festivals, farmer’s markets, and more.
Crochet can also become a special interest, allowing us to develop a deep knowledge of the craft and enjoyment in spreading that knowledge to others.
This makes autistic folks with a special interest in crochet perfect candidates for writing crochet blogs (like myself), informational pieces, and even teaching classes.