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It’s possible you are misunderstanding the autistic person in your life. Neurodivergent to Neurotypical communication is almost never on the same page which causes so many misunderstandings. We are not always misread by NTs. Some of our parents are on the spectrum and they can misunderstand us. We can be misread by anyone really. Commonly, I was misunderstood by an NT. You have to remember most aspie kids, teen adults have NT parent(s). It all depends on the case for some people. I will explain some possible situations where you may misunderstand the autistic in your life.
We are not on the same page as NTs socially, which is the reason why we struggle when it comes to talking to them. With proper communication, things can work out. However, the instances I am talking about is w/o proper communication.
It can be questioned if the people who misunderstand us are NT. Here is an example. My mom says she is on the spectrum like me. She misunderstands me all the time. It works both ways. We are misunderstood by NTs and ND folks.
Or We are misunderstood by people who don’t know much about autism. Remember the golden rule, autism affects social skills. We don’t have the social skills NTs have. I could not socialize without offending someone unintentionally to save my life.
I think people need to stop telling us to work on communication instead, they should learn how to understand us better. This is not the same as kicking a smoking habit. Learn how autistic folks communicate instead of forcing them to communicate as you do.
I present to you, ways you are misunderstanding the autistic person in your life
When We Ask Follow-Up Questions
Look at a messy room. That’s how our brains are, therefore, we cannot filter what is being said. Thus we will ask some follow-up questions. I post content to Steemit.com, a guy who sees I struggled to earn on my posts showed me a service that votes for quality content. However, the info he gave me was not enough for me to understand.
He didn’t mention how the service worked. We merely want more information to make sure we know what we’re getting into. NTS (or the other party in general) however, are not on the same page. My follow-up questions made the guy see me as being picky when I actually wasn’t trying to be.
If he showed me a video explaining I probably would have gotten a better understanding. Or if he linked a review someone made regarding this service. Reviews explain how the service works.
So when we ask further questions it’s not being picky it’s just because the info was not enough for us and we’d like more. How is it any different wanting more info about a cable package you want to sign up for? If I am paying for a cable package I am entitled to know what I am getting. That doesn’t make me picky. I don’t think anyone wants to spend lots of money and get poor service.
Just like my situation, the other party may feel they’re being interrogated when really we just need more info to understand.
When We Ask Why
This can be seen as being defensive or ‘smart’ to an outsider. In reality, we need to know why something needs to be done. We legit need to know X. There is no hidden agenda, we are not trying to be ‘smart’ or disrespectful.
We Need More Details
NTs are good at reading between the lines when it comes to storytelling. We lack this ability. This shows that autism isn’t just about one thing but so many others.
One time when I was at school, I was in a social group. Someone was explaining how she heard about 2 students being caught doing something they shouldn’t in a classroom. I did ask follow-up questions to better understand her story. I wouldn’t have asked her the follow-up questions if I had the details I needed. My follow-up questions annoyed her but I missed the social cue.
I merely wanted to know when did it happen (before school, during a free period, lunch, etc) to understand her story better as well. Maybe a teacher forgot to lock the room when he/she went on break or whatever or something. If she had started the story with (around 2:00 I heard some students got caught doing X) I would have known when it happened.
Don’t assume they’re asking you questions for the hell of it. We need more information. In general, she got mad for nothing because let’s say she told the dean he will ask her the same questions I did or something similar. When you report things to the police, they ask questions!!!!! I hate this culture sometimes because it teaches us asking questions is wrong. People act like it’s a federal crime to ask questions.
If your friend got mad at you for not recognizing them, raise your hand. I didn’t recognize my cousin without his beard because I’d always seen him with one. The only reason he didn’t get offended is that I only go down south about 2/3 times a decade. Sometimes we can be so used to seeing you at school, work, church, etc.
Let’s say you run into them at the movies, you may draw a blank because you’re used to seeing your friend at school. You’re used to seeing them in their work attire or uniform Sometimes they can change their hair or clothes before you see them again. If this happens, it’s not that your friend doesn’t care, it’s just our short-term memory is bad. It’s nothing personal. Sometimes we have trouble remembering people out of context. Once we get used to seeing you in different places, it will start to click. However, this can cause the NT to get second thoughts about the autistic.
Think about your phone when it’s out of battery. We’re like phones constantly having to recharge ourselves. When you have so many apps open on your phone, it sucks more juice. If we have to socialize, work, etc that drains our ‘juice.’ Outsiders won’t understand and may see it as ‘she doesn’t want to talk to me ‘oh he’s anti-social’ ‘they’re too good for us’
We can’t talk to you with a low/dead battery. All we need is time to recharge and we can hang with you. Those of us who work jobs are drained from that. We’re just drained from the world it’s not a personal attack against you. Remember NTs, we are outsiders in your world. We are misunderstood in your world. Not everything we do is intended to annoy you.
Folks with autism are unaware of how their voice tone can be read by someone else. To an outsider, they may think you sound hostile (when you really aren’t). I went to a place to get an air cast put on my ankle when I sprained it. A lady checked us into a room and was about to leave and I asked her when was the doctor coming.
She went off on me and I had no idea what I did wrong. My mom had an ‘in your face mentality rather than telling me what about my question upset her.
Chances are she misread my tone/me and thought I was trying to be mean when I wasn’t trying to be. Maybe she thought I was demanding they drop everything for me but I actually just wanted to know when the doctor was coming with no intention to hurt anyone. When I saw my regular doctor when the nurse finished doing what she/he needed she’d say ‘The doctor will be here shortly.’ Or ‘ In 10 minutes. I think her response was unprofessional for simply wanting to know when the doctor was coming. If I was like ‘When is the doctor coming? I don’t have all day,” I can see it.
Lack Of Details
This can cause problems when you make plans with us. If we don’t show up or we show up late (or not at all), this can be seen as not caring. The truth is we didn’t have enough details to know where to meet you. For instance, meet me at Subway. What if there is more than one Subway in the area? If you just say Subway, they’ll think the Subway that is near them.
If there are 10 different Subways near them, of course, they will be late trying to find you. Tell the person the street the Subway is on and where you will be waiting for them. ‘Meet me at Subway on Joe Street at 4 PM, I will be waiting for you on the inside.’ It is better than ‘meet me at Subway around 5.’ Another example I was looking for a place that can do the dental surgery I needed. They just said Wentworth Street. Not specifying the town so I assumed it was the Wentworth down the street from me but this place was like an hour away. It’s important you provide more details when you want us to meet you somewhere.
This was an interesting topic that someone brought up on their Facebook Page. It was the Asbergain, the guy who wrote the article aka the original concept of this one. Well, they said someone else came up with it and they explained it further. This is about our inability to do something without being told to. (eg) taking out the trash. This can be seen as being lazy to someone else. This isn’t the case. We need to be told to take out the garbage or do the dishes.
This can be due to the fact that chores are not a part of our routine, therefore it may not get done. Especially if someone did your chores for you in the past. Let’s say walking the dog is a part of your routine, you will take the dog out because it’s a part of your flow.
Chores, on the other hand, may not be a part of your flow. Having things outside of our flow can be challenging. Once it becomes a part of the routine, then you will start to see it. We have trouble filtering our thoughts. Remember this is not speaking for everyone. This is just to answer the question of why your autistic friend doesn’t do the dishes or why the laundry is piling up.
Also, stop thinking we can read minds. Want us to do the dishes, say something. What is so hard about ‘Joe, please do the dishes in 10 minutes?’
Literally nothing. I think a part of this is folks assuming we know what is expected rather than actually confirming with the person to make sure.
Remember even Neurodivergent people can misunderstand us. I and probably others are commonly misunderstood by NTs. Some of us have NT parents, siblings, etc.
Remember it is rough adulting in a confusing world.
Feel free to tell me some things I may have missed when it comes to autistic to NT communication. Nts have misread me so many times all the scenarios would make up a book. Or if I got a dollar every time I would be rich. I will link a useful blog article I found to give you an idea of what I went for.
Eye contact is a major one. This can be seen as being rude but eye contact and other physical contact make us uncomfortable.
Sometimes not making direct eye contact actually helps us listen to you better. I can’t look you in the eye for any longer than a minute before I look at your shirt, shoes, something behind you, etc.
The article above will give you an idea of what I was going for.
This video will be in several ways you may be misunderstanding the autistic person in your life. Due to the lack of understanding and miscommunication. This video talks about a few situations where misunderstandings can occur and what to keep in mind.
I did a video version of this.
I didn’t talk about this. We are sensitive to criticism. We understand things differently. That is how it is. How our brain reads the feedback can cause a misunderstanding on both sides. On the other hand, the NT will make note of the sensitivity.