What the autism spectrum is and isn't.

blaiyrwitch:

Social skills: noticing when repetition is communication

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…

blaiyrwitch said:

It’s important to also stress that Autism is a spectrum, ranging from extreme cases with non-verbal beings, and those who have very mild Aspergers. The key no matter what is patience.

realsocialskills said:

Sort of, but the way you put it is misleading. Patience is important, but it’s not enough. You also need knowledge. 

One piece of knowledge that is vital: All autistic people are disabled in significant ways, and it’s not always obvious how. There are a lot of stereotypes, and they’re misleading.

For instance, some nonspeaking autistic people have significantly better language comprehension than some autistic people who speak. (And you can’t tell from affect either: A student who spends all day rocking in a corner might be understanding significantly more than a student who spends all day sitting still at a desk.)

There are a number of things that go into autism. It’s a combination of impairments in cognition, communication, sensory perception, and movement. They combine in different ways.

They can also change over time, or in times of stress.

Someone you think has “very mild Aspergers” may well have no ability to understand language when they’re upset. They may be physically incapable of walking across a crowded room. They may have very little voluntary motion and be dependent on prompts in their environment.

Not all autistic people do the thing I’ve described in this post. (And not all autistic repetition is for this reason). But it has nothing to do with severity. When an autistic person repeats the same thing over and over in a conversation with you, it’s very important to consider the possibility that they’re trying to communicate something but don’t currently have the words to get you to understand. This is true even if they live alone and five minutes ago they gave a complicated lecture on physics.