Spoon theory

From ActuallyAutistic Wiki

The term spoon theory was coined by Christine Miserandino in a blog post[1].

Spoons are a metaphorical indicator of mental energy, derived from spoonfuls of sugar as a measurement of energy.

The more spoons you have, the more tasks you can accomplish. However, accomplishing a difficult task will consume one of your spoons of energy.

The metaphor has since been extended, with forks (stressors that can dig into you — and you can cope with a few, until it's one too many) and knives (traumas).

Expand with more explained details about all of the forms of autistic cutlery.

The alternative, but related, analogy of Ticket theory was recently proposed by Hillary Knutson in her TikTok videos.[2]


  1. The Spoon Theory
  2. Ticket theory, Hillary Knutson, 2021