Left Handed In A Right Handed World
Dear Non- Aspies : Adults with Aspergers invest a LOT of their time accommodating YOUR behavior and way of ‘being’ please meet them half way.
I’ve seen the odd guide re how to talk to adults with Aspergers so here’s my take on how NOT to talk to those on the spectrum (lower end more specifically).
Here we go … it is straight to the point – no flowers here.
How to talk and NOT talk to adults with Aspergers and how to understand them better.
Don’t ask Aspies what they mean. It drives them insane. Adults with aspergers generally mean exactly word for word what they said. There is no other meaning as they are very literal.
Miscommunication happens a LOT with the Aspie being accused of being insensitive, judgemental, hostile when in reality it may be the other persons own insecurities that created the confusion. The misunderstandings are VERY upsetting for adults with Aspergers. It will cause them to retreat into their cave.
Don’t accuse adults with aspergers of lying or ‘hint’ at it. They will be ‘overly’ upset and offended if you accuse them of lying or being deceitful as it will rarely ever be the case. Being truthful is a BIG deal for Aspies.
Please don’t accuse them of ‘faking’ their symptoms for a diagnosis. That’s not how you should treat people you love, like, care about. It’s highly offensive. Consider what you know about them … why would they? This will likely make them feel ashamed, unsupported and send them into retreat mode.
Adults with aspergers hate small talk. They’d rather gouge their eyeballs out with forks.
Don’t ask them how they ‘feel’ or ‘prod’ them when they are upset
If aspies appear upset and are silent and have retreated, you may want to insist they ‘talk’ about it. They will talk when ready to do so but what is most helpful is to let them be silent and retreat as they are working on ‘self’ processing information and self healing. They may also not know how to respond at that moment as their mind is too ‘busy’. They may become snappy if you insist they communicate.
It may seem selfish as you are trying to help but this is the best way to help an Aspie in that moment.
Don’t talk when lots of background noise with face away. Adults with aspergers often need to lip read in these situations . See APD (auditory processing disorder).
Aspies HATE forms – they are form-o-phobic. They cause anxiety as they ‘will’ try to process all the information whereas a non Aspergers adult may not. They will read forms word for word before signing .. Don’t ask them to sign to say they read it when they didn’t read it. ALSO show them where to sign with a BIG ‘X’ and point to the BIG ‘X’ because otherwise they won’t see it.
They will ask the same question again and again till you give an answer that makes sense to them. Repetition …
They rehearse conversations so if you ask them something unexpected you may get an odd answer especially if they are anxious.
Don’t ask them for an opinion if you really do not want an honest one.
Don’t ask them what they are thinking. Thoughts are private for a reason.
Don’t interrupt them when they are talking.
If they answer a question with silence it’s because they know you won’t like the answer and they have no alternative answer. This may happen when you ask an opinion or in an argument. The adult with aspergers may choose the ‘mute’ ourselves rather than cause offence.
Aspies are sensory beings. They like to touch nice things longer, smell longer , taste longer because they enjoy their senses so let them get on with it 🙂 unless it is inappropriate, unwelcome, distracting.
They hate noise .. But are noisy . Some things really irritate like noisy eating , breathing , tapping.
They may however tap and jiggle that relaxes them.
Some clothes are very uncomfortable .. Labels especially dig in. You can help by removing them.
Adults with aspergers may dislike convention, tradition and things if they make no rational sense
Conventions and age old traditions can seem utterly pointless, time-wasting and costly … but they can learn them and learn to appreciate them too. Who said we can’t eat desert before dinner and why do we have to ‘obey?‘.. ‘Who said I can’t sit cross-legged on my chair, who am I hurting?’ is a typical mindset. YOUR rules of behavior can be baffling as they’re mainly pointless.
Mildly aspergers adults are mainly logical reasonable rational hence following senseless ‘social’ rules is frustrating.
Aspies dislike surprises. Answering door and even phone will cause anxiety as will unopened post. Aspies like to be prepared for the unexpected and dislike surprises. All these things carry the element of surprise.
Don’t get in their body space or touch them unexpectedly.
Aspies don’t find people being hurt or being conned funny. Aspies don’t enjoy cruel pranks which leave people distressed. So TV programs, YouTube videos and Memes with people falling and hurting themselves won’t amuse them, they will likely upset them.
Chances are they won’t like or get banter. Being rude and hostile is being rude and hostile .. it’s not funny … not to them.
Adults with aspergers might not find things you find funny but other things very funny.
They may lack direction sense and fail to recall verbal instructions. They likely prefer maps as they prefer visual instructions.
They adore lists
“WE like big LISTS and we can not lie” 😉
What’s not to love about lists – do I need to elaborate … Really?
They may lose things and forget where they put things as short-term memory is poor. Probably because they have more things to think about and process.
They replay every minute of every day especially human contact events to check for errors . They edit themselves daily making adjustments to how they act to reduce errors the next day. An error may be closing the front door before properly or politely ending a conversation with the person at the door.
They might forget in a conversation to show interest in you.
They may repeat themself a lot because they are not sure you heard or because you didn’t respond the way they expected or you didn’t respond at all.
They may be clumsy and bump into things. Their mind is not on what they are doing. Help them to be mindful and present.
MYTH BUSTER: They can (some of them) read you! As mature adults many have spent a lifetime learning body language , how to detect lies , people reading and so they can be (as adults) better at knowing what you are really thinking than you realize. If you’re being dishonest they will likely know.
As adults they may be the exact opposite of how they were as children. What will confuse them is when your body language and words do not match (dishonest communication). They notice …
You may however often misunderstand and not be able to read them as despite learning all the above about you they do not respond themselves in accordance with those rules. If they do attempt to fake it they may exaggerate behaviors as they ‘overdo’ it.
They are childlike. One thing I think may be particular to adults with Aspergers is that internally they feel just as they did when they were children. So being a child in an adult world with all the responsibility is over whelming and scary. Consider though as children they never were ‘childish’.
As adults they’ve likely spent their whole lives feeling crap, different, being told they’re ‘mad, odd, strange, weird, eccentric, offensive, aggressive, blunt’ and trying to be ‘normal’. They’re exhausted, it is tiring … they may as a result now be impatient and fed-up of having to try ‘with you’ so hard.
They are socially anxious possibly as a result of knowing how hard they will have to try out there. They will retreat further and further into their rabbit hole embracing a hermit lifestyle. They do this to avoid having to try so hard accommodating YOUR ‘weird’ ways 😉 Yes …. to ‘Aspies’ you are very weird! 🙂