Can aspies understand social cues

 

             Reasons why aspies can’t understand social cues
Aspies struggle with understanding social cues because we find it difficult to read expressions and tone of voice. We don’t know what reaction is expected in a certain situation, and we struggle to understand rules.

    How inability to understand social cues can impact daily life
I never know when people really want to talk to me and when they’re just being polite. I don’t want to hurt their feelings by ending the conversation, but I don’t want to keep them talking out of a feeling of duty, because they might consider it impolite to walk away. It makes me anxious every time I talk to someone. It makes me think twice before starting a conversation.

Sometimes it’s the aspie inability to understand social cues that’s the cause behind bullying and attacks. It can be dangerous. Did the old man who handed me a candy at the beach want to come on to me, or was he just being nice? (I was grown at the time. It’s OK… And he didn’t try anything, so I suppose he was just being nice, after all).

I often don’t know if I’d made a good impression in a job interview. I don’t know if the guy who asked me to call him really wanted to see me again or is just being polite.

It would help greatly if people wouldn’t judge and label an aspie as impolite or antisocial. An aspie might walk away from someone because he doesn’t think the other person wants to talk to him, and not because he isn’t interested in a conversation, for instance.

The Asperkid’s Secret Book on Social Rules is a guide for aspie teens, written by an aspie, with illustrations. Easy to understand and makes socializing simple. Click to view

Special interest versus obsession in autism

What’s the difference between an obsession and a special interest?
Many aspies have special interests. When asking an aspie to write about his special interest, make sure to suggest he limits his explanation to a maximum of seventy pages.

An obsession is something that gets in the way of everyday life, like stopping someone from working or going to school. There’s nothing wrong with having a special interest.

                       Why do aspies have special interests?
Aspies have a gift for super focus, plus we aren’t so distracted by social intervention. Aspie teens don’t spend so much time struggling to win a popularity contest or worrying about the latest gossip, footballs games, or fashion.

Different aspies have different special interest according to their personality and likes. A special interest can also result from need and events. For example, an aspie who’s been bullied too many times might develop a special interest with Marshal arts or ways to escape bullies.

                                         My special interests
As a child, I went on and on about cats, and the other little girls in school hated me because of that. They’d glare, but I didn’t see the anger in their eyes. I just knew they looked at me, and their eyes narrowed. They’d storm out of the classroom and slam the door, and I’d assumed they were in a hurry and had slammed the door unintentionally, or maybe they just didn’t have time to close it slowly.

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My special interest now is the passage of time. How many things can change in the course of one hour. How many things can happen, how many facts can one learn. Time in a movie or a book is much faster. I always like it when I read in a book or see in a movie how morning turns into noon and then evening. How it starts to rain, then the rain tapers and finally stops. It takes time for the rain to start, then stop. That’s why I like it.

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And I also like to read about someone doing things, like cooking, setting the table, then eating. This takes time too. It’s also nice reading about a bus ride, how the scenario changes gradually. I like seeing the seasons change in a movie.

Watching the clock constantly messes up my calculations, so at work I hide the hour by placing a piece of paper against the bottom of the computer. I always find a place with my back against the clock.

One girl at work asked me about it, and I told her I don’t like seeing the time, so she said, “I hate to tell you, but it’s four thirty five o’clock exactly.” I don’t find this funny at all. I also don’t like it when workers remove the piece of paper as a joke.

This ‘obsession’ helps me get through long hours of work. It helps me get over my fear in the dentists’ office. How long can filling a cavity take? I try to see how many things I can think about during that time, how many thoughts it will take to fill the gap in time that is my dentists appointment.

There’s nothing wrong with an autistic person having a special interest. In fact, it can enrich a person’s life. From my point of view, if it doesn’t take over everyday life, it’s no problem.

        How to talk about your special interest to a neurotypical
The best way is not to talk about one’s special interest with people who aren’t interested in it. After all, I wouldn’t like it if someone went on and on about latest gossip or group sports (ugh). Find someone who shares your interest.

Another thing is not to talk about one’s special interest for too long. Talk about it for a while and then change the subject. Then the other person will enjoy your conversation and learn from it.

‘The Rosie Effect’ is a a perfect example of aspie super focus. Don Tillman is an Australian geneticist with Asperger who looks for a wife in a scientific manner, making the search a project. Hilarious and endearing. Click to view

Can aspies understand sarcasm

Aspies can’t understand sarcasm often. On my first day at work at a fast food restaurant, a customer walked up to the counter and asked for a hundred hamburgers. I laughed, sure he was kidding. My supervisor was standing right next to me, and he told me to ring it up because sometimes people order a huge amount for a party.

The guy next in line told me he wanted two hundred hamburgers. I went to ring it up, and my supervisor stopped me. He told the customer, “Don’t joke with this girl because she’s going to go right ahead and ring it. She doesn’t know when you’re joking.”

A girl in school told me she broke her arm a while ago. I laughed and said, “Yeah, sure.” She asked if I think she’d joke about something like that, and I wondered if it was part of the joke.

Once one of the workers in the restaurant I was working in told a customer he heard on the news it’s going to be dark at night. I thought he meant a moonless night. Took me a while to realize it was a joke. It’s always dark at night.

                           Why aspies can’t understand sarcasm
I was told that when people are sarcastic, there’s a change to their tone of voice, a slight tilt. There’s also a change in their expression. I didn’t know this. It was news to me. But it doesn’t change much because it’s very difficult for an aspie to notice changes in tones and expressions.

Another reason why aspies can’t understand sarcasm is because we don’t always understand social cues. We don’t know what’s appropriate to joke about and what isn’t.

Our ability to understand sarcasm gets better with experience. I’m able to understand sarcasm much better now, in my early fifties. But that’s only relative. I still have problem knowing when people are joking and when they aren’t.

In fact, I told some people to always tell me when they’re joking, otherwise I won’t know.

‘Look Me In The Eye’ is the story of author Robison growing up as an undiagnosed aspie, with dysfunctional parents who didn’t understand him, a very turbulent childhood. Robison was considered a sociopath, lazy, and strange. A genius in math an electronics. The book is funny at times and gives an inside view into the mind of a person with Asperger. Click to view

Do aspies suffer from insomnia

Aspies tend to suffer from insomnia more often than neurotypicals. I’ve had problems falling asleep since I can remember myself. My mother told all my babysitters to expect me to get up and start strolling the house at any given hour. She thought they needed mental preparation. I wish I could just slip into dreamland. Here’s where I’d like to be.

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  Why insomnia is common in people with Asperger syndrome
People on the spectrum often suffer from general anxiety. This can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Also, the aspie brain tends to be overactive, constantly occupied. It doesn’t shut up long enough for us to fall asleep.

Sensory issues can be a problem as well. The pillowcase against my skin must be straight. I can’t stand tiny wrinkles. I have to put something between my fingers because if they touch each other, it wakes me up.

Obsessive compulsive disorder can also lengthen the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

                     Short-term consequences of insomnia
Insomnia can take a toll on everyday life. It causes sleepiness, exhaustion, and dizziness. Eyes burn from lack of sleep. You move like you’re underwater, and coworkers mistake you for a zombie. It messes up memory and concentration. It causes anxiety because you dread nighttime.

                        Long-term consequences of insomnia
People tend to put on weight if they don’t sleep through the night, because they wake up hungry. It can be bad for your blood pressure.

                              How to overcome insomnia
Here are a few tips for aspies suffering from insomnia. Can work for insomniac neurotypicals too.
Keep the house quiet and dark
Do something relaxing before going to sleep, like reading
Reduce caffeine or eliminate it
Hypnosis
Listen to soothing noise like crickets or the fan. There are machines that generate calming sounds.
Take deep breaths and relax the muscles in your body while imagining lying on the beach, the smell, sounds, sights, and feeling of warm sand under your back getting stronger and more vivid with each breath.
Practice biofeedback
Walk in a frantic pace for a mile or more an hour before going to sleep

The Effortless sleep method is a step by step program to overcome insomnia, written by a person who’d suffered from severe insomnia for years. Discusses sleeping pills, causes and tips for insomnia. Good customers’ reviews you can read here. Click to view and learn more