Thursday, September 25, 2008

To My Adult Readers: One Neurotypical’s Viewpoint

Thrive on the Autism Spectrum is the result of combining my original two blogs, Social Skills for Kids, and Coach for Asperger's. I'm finding it harder to keep the two blogs separate, especially because so many issues apply to both kids and adults, as well as work and school. This is a blog aimed at adults and teens with Asperger's and autism, as well as parents of kids on the autism spectrum. It discusses the standard rules of social interactions, things like small talk, starting a conversation, eye contact, personal space, showing boredom. The list goes on and on because there really is an endless list of rules and expectations. I spend a great deal of my time as a coach and a therapist thinking about, dissecting and teaching these rules to my clients.

I’m struggling a bit with these postings, because I’m trying to be very respectful of the rights of my readers. The neurodiversity world, very appropriately, can resent the efforts of neurotypicals who may seem to be trying to get them to change. At the same time, I speak to many people with Asperger’s or autism who pay a high price because they don’t play by or even understand the complex, unwritten, and rather rigid rules neurotypicals have for social interactions.

With that said, I’m hoping my readers will consider this blog with a forgiving spirit. As I frequently tell my clients, if things are going well, then there is no reason to change anything, and these postings are not written for you.

But, if you’re struggling because you’re not getting everything you want and deserve, things like friendships, romantic partners, promotions or professional recognition, then maybe you want to make some sort of change. That’s who I’m writing this blog for.

It would be ideal if everyone was valued and understood in a straightforward way, but that’s not the case. I don’t think neurotypicals deliberately shun those who don’t send the expected social signals. I think they’re mostly not even aware of what they’re doing. It’s instinctive and unconscious, and it’s probably not going to change anytime soon. In this blog, I’m talking about the standard rules as I understand them, and you can make your own choices on playing by them.

Thanks for taking the time to read my opinions. I'd love to hear yours!

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