We are Left Handed In A Right Handed World – No Better or Worse Than You!
Dear Non- Aspies : Adults with Aspergers invest a LOT of their time accommodating YOUR behavior and way of ‘being’ please meet us half way and invest some time in understanding and accommodating ‘US’.
I’ve seen the odd guide re how to talk to adults with Aspergers so here’s my take on how NOT to 🙂 Can fellow Aspies please deny, confirm if this is YOU in comments and add to the list for the benefit of our community.
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 ‘us’ better.
Don’t ask us what we mean. It drives us insane. We mean exactly word for word what we said. There is no other meaning we are very literal.
DO NOT ‘read’ into what we said as we often mean nothing more than stated. If we ask a question about your choices it is because we want to learn about you NOT because we’re making a judgement or statement about the choice you made.
If something has no value to us that doesn’t mean we expect it to have no value to you, we just want to understand what that value is because we are curious NOT judgemental. Aspies are rarely judgemental.
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 us of lying or ‘hint’ at it. We will also be ‘overly’ upset and offended if you accuse us of lying, being deceitful as it will rarely ever be the case.
We hate small talk. We learn the art but we hate it. We’d rather gouge our eyeballs out with forks.
Don’t talk when lots of background noise with face away. We often need to lip read in these situations . See APD (auditory processing disorder).
We HATE forms – we are form-o-phobic. They cause us anxiety as we ‘will’ try to process all the information whereas a non Aspergers adult may not. We will read forms word for word before signing .. Don’t ask us to sign to say we read it when we didn’t read it. ALSO show us where to sign with a BIG ‘X’ and point to the BIG ‘X’ because otherwise we won’t see it.
We will ask the same question again and again till you give an answer that makes sense to us. Repetition …
We rehearse conversations so if you ask us something unexpected you may get an odd answer especially if we are anxious.
Don’t ask us for an opinion if you really do not want an honest one.
Don’t ask us what we are thinking. Thoughts are private for a reason.
Don’t interrupt us when we are ‘thinking’ it’s worse than interrupting us when we are talking.
If we answer a question with silence it’s because we know you won’t like our answer and we have no alternative answer.
We are sensory beings. We like to touch nice things longer, smell longer , taste longer because we enjoy our senses let us get on with it 🙂 unless it is inappropriate, unwelcome, distracting.
We hate noise .. But are noisy . Some things really irritate like noisy eating , breathing , tapping.
We may however tap and jiggle that relaxes us.
Some clothes are very uncomfortable .. Labels especially dig in. I cut all mine out. This will help your child a lot if you do this.
We 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 we 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 (in our opinion).
We are mainly logical reasonable rational hence following senseless ‘social’ rules is frustrating.
We dislike surprises. Answering door and even phone will cause anxiety as will unopened post. We like to be prepared for the unexpected and dislike surprises. All these things carry the element of surprise.
Don’t get in our body space or touch us unexpectedly.
We don’t find people being hurt or being conned funny. We 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 us, they will likely upset us.
Chances are we won’t like or get banter. Being rude and hostile is being rude and hostile .. it’s not funny … not to us.
We might not find things you find funny but other things very funny.
We may lack direction sense and fail to recall verbal instructions. We likely prefer maps as we prefer visual instructions.
We adore lists
“WE like big LISTS and we can not lie” 😉
What’s not to love about lists – do I need to elaborate … Really?
We lose things and forget where we put things as short-term memory is poor. Probably because we have more things to think about and process.
We replay every minute of every day especially human contact events to check for errors . We edit ourselves daily making adjustments to how we 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.
We might forget in a conversation to show interest in you.
We may repeat ourselves a lot because we are not sure you heard or because you didn’t respond the way we expected or you didn’t respond at all.
We may be clumsy and bump into things. Our mind is not on what we are doing. Help us to be mindful and present.
MYTH BUSTER: WE can (some of us) read you! As mature adults we have spent a lifetime learning body language , how to detect lies , people reading and so we can be as adults better at knowing what you are really thinking than you realize. If you’re being dishonest we will know.
We as adults may be the exact opposite of how we were as children. We can read you and we read you well. Don’t offend us by continuing to state we are disabled in this regard and cannot. It’s a fallacy. What will confuse us is when your body language and words do not match (dishonest communication). We notice …
You may however often misunderstand and not be able to read us as despite learning all the above about you we do not respond ourselves in accordance with those rules. If we do attempt to fake it we may exaggerate our feelings or behaviors as we are akin to bad actors.
We are childlike. One thing I think may be particular to adults with Aspergers is that internally we feel just as we did when we were children. So being a child in an adult world with all the responsibility is over whelming and scary. Consider though as children we never were ‘childish’.
As adults we’ve likely spent our whole lives feeling crap, different, being told we’re ‘mad, odd, strange, weird, eccentric, offensive, aggressive, blunt’ and trying to be ‘normal’. We’re exhausted, it is tiring … we may as a result now be impatient and fed-up of having to try ‘with you’ so hard.
We are socially anxious possibly as a result of knowing how hard we will have to try out there. We will retreat further and further into our rabbit hole embracing a hermit lifestyle. We do this to avoid having to try so hard accommodating YOUR ‘weird’ ways 😉 Yes …. to ‘us Aspies’ you are very weird! 🙂