I have problems with reacting on time and I learned to cope with this by agreeing to everything. Someone asks if they can open a window, I automatically say “yes” because analyzing the situation in my mind takes a long time (they can but - I’m cold - I’d prefer if they didn’t - figuring out how to say it). People get impatient and repeat the question before I have the answer or assume I’m rude. Any ideas how to deal with being slow?
realsocialskills said:
That’s a tough problem. I don’t think there’s a simple or universal solution.
One thing I’ve found helpful is telling people I’m close to that I have this kind of problem, and asking them to ask questions differently. For instance “I’d like to open the window. Would that be ok, or do you want it to stay closed?” is easier for me to give a real answer to than “Can I open the window?”
Another thing is that sometimes I can buy time by repeating part of the question. This can also prompt them to clarify. For instance:
  • Them: Can I open a window?
  • Me: You want to open a window?
  • Them: Yes, I’m hot.
  • Me: I’m cold. Could you take off your jacket instead?

That way it breaks down into smaller steps, like this:

  1. I hear their question
  2. I process what the question is and verify that I’m right
  3. I figure out what I think and maybe say so

It can also sometime work even if I can’t say very many words right then. For instance:

  • Them: Can I open a window?
  • Me: A window?
  • Them: I’m hot.
  • Me: Too cold.
  • Them: You’ll be too cold?
  • Me: Other room?
  • Them: Ok, I can try working in the other room with one of those windows open.

This doesn’t always work, but it does sometimes.

What works for y’all in this situation?

celibatesprites said:

we find it really hard too to answer questions with thoughts or feelings instead of conditioned auto-response (which is always “yes”) and we’re really glad to see others talking about it

the only way we are able to deal in those situations is by, if we’re comfortable / safe enough with the person / able to speak, correcting and explaining what happened after we auto-yes

like “oh oops i said ‘yes’ but i’m actually kind of cold” and maybe explaining what’s happening when we can, but not necessarily giving more of an explanation than “i said yes but i meant _______.”

also saying “give me a minute” before answering can help, if you do it without apologizing and act like its just as reasonable as a non-autistic asking for the same thing.

of course this all requires finding someone who won’t yell at you just for being autistic and also being able to explain things, which are both hard.