Social skills: noticing when repetition is communication

lilkidsyd1995:

painfulwonder:

littlelionheartedavatar:

darziel:

realsocialskills:

So there’s this dynamic:

Autistic person: The door is open!

Other person: I *know* that. It’s hot in here.

Autistic person: The door is open!

Other person: I already explained to you that it’s hot in here!

Autistic person: The door is open!

Other person: Why do you have to repeat things all the time?!

Often when this happens, what’s really going on is that the autistic person is trying to communicate something, and they’re not being understood. The other person things that they are understanding and responding, and that the autistic person is just repeating the same thing over and over either for no reason or because they are being stubborn and inflexible and obnoxious and pushy.

When what’s really happening is that the autistic person is not being understood, and they are communicating using the words they have. There’s a NT social expectation that if people aren’t being understood, they should change their words and explain things differently. Sometimes autistic people aren’t capable of doing this without help.

So, if this is happening, assume it’s communication and try to figure out what’s being communicated. If you’re the one with more words, and you want the communication to happen in words, then you have to provide words that make communication possible. For example:

Other person: Do you want the door to be closed, or are you saying something else?

Autistic person: Something else

Other person: Do you want to show me something outside, or something else?

Autistic person: Something else

Other person: Are you worried about something that might happen, or something else?

Autistic person: Worried

Other person: Are you worried that something will come in, or that something will go out?

Autistic person: Baby

Other person: She’s in her crib, and the baby gate is up. Is that ok, or is there still a problem?

Autistic person: ok

darziel said:

Holy fuck.

This changes everything.

littlelionheartedavatar said:

*leaves for reference*

painfulwonder said:

I babysat an autistic kid for a few years, it’s hard to understand how their brain works sometimes but when you click, everything pays off. patience and love, my friends.

lilkidsyd1995 said:

actually it’s not autistic.. it’s kid with autism. people first language means we put the person before the disorder. so instead of just a person who is solely autistic it is a person who also happens to have autism. in case you didn’t know!

realsocialskills said:

Actually, that’s controversial, and really depends on who you ask, and what community they identify with. I’m autistic, and I said autistic on purpose. 

There’s a large community of adult autistic people who strongly prefer being called autistic. A lot of us find person first language stigmatizing and offensive.

I wrote a post about autism language politics and history a while ago that says a lot more about all of this.

The most important thing to realize is that there are a lot of different preferences about this, and people have very deeply held reasons for their positions.