For Those Who Are More Impacted On The Spectrum Nonverbal Or Need Extra Assistance
With people who are more impacted, they will have higher needs in areas such as communication and sensory issues and will need more extensive support in daily living. However, being nonverbal does not necessarily mean higher impacted. Dont presume a persons intellectual capacity based on their being low-verbal or nonverbal.
- Pause after giving directions to allow the person to process the verbal information.
- Offer to provide simply worded written directions or a checklist for routine or novel tasks.
- Give the person choices in the conversation .
- Questions should be worded to only provide acceptable options when possible. For example, if a boss says, “Would you like to join us in this meeting?” the individual with ASD saying “no” and returning to their desk is a potential response. This is because a command is being worded as a question. In this case, instead, say, Please come with us for a meeting in the conference room at 10:00 am.
- Have the person repeat important information to confirm understanding .
- Use pictures or drawings to help the person communicate .
- Visual schedules in which you provide a photo or graphic to designate different activities planned can also be helpful.
- Although some people can carry on conversations that last for hours, some individuals may only be able to answer a single question, or engage in in a conversation for 5 minutes. In these situations, building in breaks for the individual can be productive and help them stay calmer and more focused.
What If My Friend Has Autism Spectrum Disorder
Some people with ASD do not feel that they have a disorder and don’t want to change. They’re proud of who they are and they want to be accepted, even though they may have different strengths and weaknesses than most other people.
All people deserve respect. But kids with ASD may be teased, bullied, or left out because they’re different. Bullying and teasing are never the right way to treat other people, but it may be hard to be a friend with someone who has ASD.
Kids with ASD often don’t understand playful jokes. You may need to be very clear when you communicate with someone who has ASD.
Try to be patient and kind. Remember how hard it might be for the person with ASD to understand how to be a friend. Stand up for classmates who are bullied. Tell adults, so they can help protect kids who are bullied.
Were Too Honest For Our Own Good
You would think that being truthful was something you would want to promote but, in the interest of sparing someones feelings, apparently, were expected to lie from time to time and, whats more, if you dont then youre the jerk!
Known as a white lie, this is something many autistic people have struggled with, due to our literal way of thinking. However, recent studies into autistic people and lying have suggested that its not quite as simple as we wont lie because we cant. Instead, reports fromQueens University have found that, when autistic people do speak out of turn, its because we see the make-believe as mean and often believe that it will be less upsetting, to tell the truth .
Given the reasoning behind this, I think it would do more harm than good to try and change this behaviour in autistic people. So, if you ask us a question you dont like the answer to, just remember that this is an opinion an opinion which, though indisputable in our eyes, is not necessarily fact.
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Dating On The Autism Spectrum: Notes For Neurotypical Partners
August 30, 2020 by Dr. Tasha Oswald
Hello! Welcome back to my blog series: Dating on the Autism Spectrum. In my clinical experience, this is a topic that interests many of my high-functioning autistic clients. So far, Ive shared dating tips for autistic individuals and how to handle conflict. Today I want to touch on what its like to be neurotypical and dating someone on the spectrum. I understand that every individual relationship is unique, but there are some common challenges that occur in this situation.
Repetitive And Restrictive Behaviour
With its unwritten rules, the world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to autistic people. This is why they often prefer to have routines so that they know what is going to happen. They may want to travel the same way to and from school or work, wear the same clothes or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.
Autistic people may also repeat movements such as hand flapping, rocking or the repetitive use of an object such as twirling a pen or opening and closing a door. Autistic people often engage in these behaviours to help calm themselves when they are stressed or anxious, but many autistic people do it because they find it enjoyable.
Change to routine can also be very distressing for autistic people and make them very anxious. It could be having to adjust to big events like Christmas or changing schools, facing uncertainty at work, or something simpler like a bus detour that can trigger their anxiety.
Read more about repetitive behaviours and dealing with change here
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We Laugh At Inappropriate Moments
When I was at school, we use to have an annual sponsored silence in which students would raise funds on the anniversary of WWII. For the event, a guest speaker would be invited to discuss their experiences of living through one of the worlds bleakest times and, every year, I would start laughing uncontrollably. Inevitably I would be punished by teachers, but the look of disapproval from fellow students was far worse.
Since then, laughter in autistic people has come to be understood a bit better with the prevailing theory suggesting that, as laughter is one of our most innate methods of communication , it could be that when autistic people are experiencing high emotions, our body immediately falls back on to this inherent response and gets the giggles.
Subsequently, to interfere with an autistic person during this time is to tell them to not feel at all and so, while its okay to move us to a more secluded environment, its not okay to scold us for reacting in a way which has been incorrectly perceived as rude. .
How To Begin A Diagnosis Process
Adults who suspect they or a loved one might be autistic can do a self-assessment test for adults. A person can find these tests online. While they cannot give a diagnosis, the tests are a good starting point.
A person seeking a diagnosis can take the results of such a test to a primary care doctor who will try to determine whether ASD may be present by:
- enquiring about the symptoms, both current and during childhood
- observing and interacting with the person
- speaking to a loved one
- checking for other physical or mental health conditions that may be causing symptoms
If no underlying physical condition can explain the symptoms, the doctor may refer the person to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to make an ASD diagnosis.
If symptoms are not present in childhood but begin in adolescence or adulthood, this may indicate a cognitive or mental health condition other than ASD.
It may be difficult to find a specialist who can diagnose ASD in adults. Individuals who would like a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one may need to do research to find a provider with experience diagnosing autistic adults.
Another option is to speak to a developmental pediatrician or child psychiatrist who is willing to see adult clients.
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And Why Are Parents Involved
As an Autistic person myself, I had to question why the parents of the cast members are involved in the process, aside from creating that fly-on-the-wall feel, or to be on hand should an individual need help in terms of care.
Isn’t that’s something we’d be more likely to do with a friend? . The parents were getting involved when the topic was not to do with them, making this aspect less illuminating than was presumably intended.
Who Are You Again
Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, is common among those on the spectrum. Some of us have a really difficult time recognizing people out of context. For example, if we are used to seeing you at church or school, but we see you out in the grocery store or local park, we may feel we recognize you, but we cant quite make the connection in our minds.
When an autistic person asks who you are or seems to struggle to remember you, this is exactly whats happening. There are no hidden agendas. It doesnt mean you arent important to them or they have not paid attention to you.
However, neurotypical people may take this behavior to mean that they are not worth remembering or not worth the bother. They may mistake the autistic person as being snobby, uppity, or acting too good for them.
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Elements Of Empathy And Sympathy
A lack of expressed sympathy or empathy may not be the result of a lack of emotion in someone who has autism, but rather due to underdeveloped skills. There are several elements involved in showing empathy to others.
To connect with another person in these ways, one must:
- Recognize the other person’s feelings
- Understand the other person’s hopes, dreams, and/or expectations
- Have the emotional experience to relate personally to another’s feelings
- Have the tools to physically and verbally express empathic feelings
People with autism who struggle to show empathy and sympathy may have difficulty with one or more of these.
Social Communication And Social Interaction Challenges
Autistic people have difficulties with interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice. Some autistic people are unable to speak or have limited speech while other autistic people have very good language skills but struggle to understand sarcasm or tone of voice. Other challenges include:
- taking things literally and not understanding abstract concepts
- needing extra time to process information or answer questions
- repeating what others say to them
Autistic people often have difficulty ‘reading’ other people – recognising or understanding others’ feelings and intentions – and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard to navigate the social world. Autistic people may:
- appear to be insensitive
- seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
- not seek comfort from other people
- appear to behave ‘strangely’ or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate
- find it hard to form friendships.
Read more about social communication and social interaction challenges here
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Is It Really Harmful Though
Ann Memmott PGC
An ABA signature intervention promises to turn any problem behavior into an adaptive one. Problem for whom? Adaptive to what? ABA does not offer independent arguments for the immanent social values it manipulates on behalf of the authorities governing the world of the child. A clinician may compel an autistic boy to make eye contact, for example, but cannot say why making eye contact is a value worth pursuing from the childs perspective. The idea that the boys personal growth would take place through a dialectic of conflict between him and his school, or between him and the parents, is ruled inadmissible. The clinician smuggles the interests of institutions into allegedly neutral techniques, disguising social obligations as moral imperativesand moral imperatives as scientific truths.
How To Be A Friend To Someone With Asd
The best way to be supportive and develop a good relationship with anyone is by asking how you can be a good friend, colleague, etc. So don’t be afraid to ask your friend with ASD, How can I be a better friend?”
In addition to the tips above, here are some suggestions for being a good friend. You may also find the tips we offer for extended family members of individuals with ASD helpful.
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As A Neurotypical Dating Someone With Autism You May Need To Play The Role Of An Interpreter
Does this mean people with autism cant become better partners? No, thats not the case, they can grow a lot. But, as a neurotypical partner, its important to acknowledge you can grow, too. Your autistic partner is spending most of their waking hours in a world biased for neurotypical people and trying to interpret your neurotypical messages. However, their brain was not wired to process neurotypical messages easily. So as a neurotypical partner, you can help by playing the role of interpreter and explain what youre trying to tell them by saying what you mean.
If Someone Is Nonverbal
- Ask the individual or their caregiver how they prefer to communicate.
- Learn what assistive devices or techniques they may use. For example, visual schedule, iPad apps, text-to-speech or other voice assistant apps in which person touches something on their device to speak for them.
- Always look at the individual who you are trying to communicate with, not their caregiver. If you were using a translator for a person speaking a different language you would look at the person you want to communicate with, not the translator.
- Pair your verbal communication with gestures .
- If using an assistive device, give them enough time to type in their responses.
- Dont talk about them in front of them like they arent there.
- Always face them when talking to them even if they dont appear to be paying attention.
- Always communicate what you are doing even if you dont think they understand.
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Romantic Relationships Can Be Difficult To Maneuver When Youre Dating On The Autism Spectrum
Romantic relationships are complex and confusing for neurotypical people. But, for autistic people, romantic relationships are even more complex and confusing. Many people with autism crave intimacy and love. But, they dont know how to achieve it in a romantic relationship. They can feel blind to everyday subtle social cues from their partner. This can cause conflict and hurt feelings.
Theres an old saying: Marriage is one of the hardest things youll ever do. And this really applies when you think about being in a relationship with an autistic partner. Most autistic adults that I work with tell me they are trying incredibly hard to be a good partner. I believe this! They are exhausted by the perplexing signs that their partners are giving them. It can feel like reading a book but you only get to see every 5th word. Your goal is now to understand the whole book, but you cant when you miss most of the story. Sometimes you might get the gist, but you still feel confused.
How Autism May Affect Sympathy And Empathy
Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
People with autism spectrum disorder are sometimes described as lacking empathy and/or sympathy . While this is a persistent stereotype of all people with autism, these challenges are not experienced by everyone on the spectrum.
Research into the link between autism, empathy, and sympathy has evolved over the past 40 years. Initially, it was believed that a lack of empathy and sympathy was a universal trait of autism, but more recent research indicates that this varies among individuals with the condition.
The questions of whether people with autism truly empathize or sympathize with others, what stands in the way of a traditional response, whether this can be taught, and whether an apparent lack of empathy or sympathy really reflects a lack of emotional connectedness are more nuanced than early research suggests.
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My Autistic Opinion: Atypical Is A Stereotypical Representation Of Autism
There has been a lot of buzz lately about Netflixs new show Atypical, which revolves around how one fictional family experiences autism. Being atypical myself, I was waiting very patiently to watch and review Atypical. Before the show even aired, there was controversy in the autism community about how Keir Gilchrist, the actor who plays an autistic high school senior named Sam, is not autistic himself. Autistic actors such as Mickey Rowe, who plays an autistic character on Broadway, commented on the controversy when he reviewed the first episode. Further, no autistic people were consulted for the show. How could I not want to watch it?
Naturally, I binge watched Atypical. I couldnt wait to see how the mainstream television was going to talk about autism. Im sure Ill be thinking similarly when ABC premiers its new show, The Good Doctor. The last time I saw autism talked about on television was with NBCs Parenthood, where we saw Max Braverman grow up from his initial diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome at age 7 up until his high school years. Since Parenthood ended after a critically appraised run, it was about time for a refreshing take from an autistic perspective, and theres where Atypical swoops in.
Here are the the things I absolutely loved about Atypical:
Here are the things I absolutely disliked about Atypical:
Anime Often Shows School Bullying
If you’re an adult-adult like me, it can be a little irritating that there are so many anime centered around middle school or high school aged kids. But for people in middle and high school, anime can help viewers understand many everyday social challenges associated with school. I said before that anime fans primarily watch anime to escape reality. And if you’re talking about something like Flip Flappers, that’s completely true. But people also watch more realistic anime sometimes, and this is probably why: they get to see how other people handle distressing real-life situations. Stuff they wouldn’t know how to deal with if it happened to them.
Many anime protagonists face bullying and social ostracism, which unfortunately many autistic people can relate to.
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