This is week #8 in iHomeschool Network's 10 in 10 series where this week the writing prompt is "10 Things You Should Know About Me". My angle on this is....
10 Things You Should Know About Aspies
Aspie is a nickname of sorts for someone who has Aspergers Syndrome. Asperger's is a high functioning form of autism.
Like all forms, it's on a spectrum.
Some aspies are higher functioning than others. The higher-functioning, the fewer symptoms exist in that person.
People with Asperger's...
...can be intelligent and highly focused - They are highly focused (too focused at times). When they are interested in something or have a task to do, almost nothing will distract them. They can micro-focus for long periods of time to the exclusion of all else. This makes them good workers.
It also can present time-management issues in their personal lives. Schedules and routines are needed in order to function well, and yet they can lose track of time so easily!
... can be socially awkward - Although they may have great verbal skills and be highly intelligent, they are socially awkward. They don't read social cues well.
You may find they don't know when to stop talking about themselves (or stop talking for that matter). To you, it seems these individuals are self-centered. They aren't. They simply lack social skills.
If you turn the conversation around to yourself or something you want to discuss, you'll find they become great listeners and conversationalists. Sometimes you must lead the way to get the desired interaction.
Try it! The person will deeply appreciate it. You have no clue what it's like to walk away from nearly every conversation feeling terribly embarrassed because you realized that you dominated the conversation. Again.
...may not look you in the eye when they speak - Although they will look at you when you speak, it's sometimes a challenge to look at you when they speak, particularly if sharing a past experience.
Many people with Asperger's think in pictures and movies.
When these individuals tell you about a situation or past experience, they are visualizing everything as it was at that time.
They're looking at the picture or movie as it was at the time.
Imagine trying to tell someone every detail of a photograph without looking at the photograph. It would be very difficult.
That is the challenge.
In other words, if I'm looking at your face, I cannot be looking at the photograph, can I?
The person is not re-living the situation, but mentally pictures it as it occurred the first time. You may even see the person gesture towards an object he/she is mentioning.
Example: "So she laid the book on the table right there" (points to table you don't see). That's because the person is "there" but you aren't.
That brings me to another thing.
... may have an incredible memory - Many people with Asperger's can recall everything they see or experience because a picture has been created in their mind.
... may speak in great detail -
- Aspies don't simply tell you something. Rather, they tell you the entire background.
- They don't just tell you about what they saw, they relate all the details.
- They don't tell you the generalities of a conversation, they tell you every line of the conversation.
It's the way their brains are wired. It may be annoying. Be patient.
The positive is that they usually have a problem resolved before they even sit down to think about it. Every detail has been recorded, so they start further ahead in the game!
... may have intense feelings - People with Asperger's may or may not have sensory processing disorder (SPD). (Some do; some don't.) Whether or not they have SPD, they are quite sensitive emotionally.
Although they may lack emotional expressions on their face (some do and some don't), people may conclude they are emotionless.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
People with Asperger's may be highly sensitive and quite emotional. It takes very little to hurt their feelings. A tone or a look can set them to tears or fighting back tears.
On the other hand, person with Asperger's may be feeling great happiness, but you may not be able to tell. You're left wondering why they're not having a good time. Are they shy? Snobby? Disinterested?
The truth is, for those who have little to no expression, they're not aware that their face doesn't match their emotion. They may even feel like they are smiling and would be puzzled about why you don't see their happiness. (Been there; done that!)
... may speak differently - Due to their own emotional hypersensitivity, they're quite careful with the feelings of others. And yet, somehow, they say things in such a way as to anger or offend.
It's not intentional.
Sometimes it's simply because they are blunt. Small talk is not something they're skilled at and they just say what they think. (Remember those social skills?)
"..That sounded different in my head"
Sometimes it's not bluntness that is the problem. They know what they mean, what they're intent was, and what they were trying to convey. When it exits their mouth, however, it may sound incomplete or confusing to you.
Because they know their own intent, a person with Asperger's may have no idea why you're upset with them.
They know what they meant, and they assume you know what they meant. They have no idea that they have an odd prose. Therefore, they don't know what they said could be taken in any way other than the way they intended.
... may have Social Anxiety Disorder - The statistic is something like 70% of people with Asperger's have social anxiety disorder. There's too much to write about that here. You can find an excellent description here.
... are Honest - This sounds great, right? An honest person. How refreshing!
Unfortunately, there are several little problems with their incredible honesty.
Remember the bluntness? Yeah. Honesty and bluntness aren't always the best mix.
People know what they know, therefore an aspie assumes honesty upon others. They believe people. This isn't always good.
... are loyal friends - They are innately forgiving, trusting, accepting, non-prejudice, non-violent people. They are accepting of differences, idiosyncrasies and imperfections.
They forgive easily (too easily sometimes).
They trust easily (too easily sometimes).
They are sensitive people. They understand what it's like to feel intense hurt, embarrassment and humiliation. So they go out of their way not to not to hurt, embarrass or humiliate others.
Unfortunately, that loving attitude isn't always reciprocated and they get hurt. In time, they learn.
They usually have a handful or less of friends although they may have many acquaintances. For those few chosen friends, they have a deep, sincere affection.
They don't take friendship lightly, as something that's here today and gone tomorrow. If their friends hurt, betray, or somehow damage that friendship, it's emotionally devastating to them (see #6) because they truly do love their friends.
Those are the 10 things I think you should know about aspies.
Do you have a child on the spectrum? Let's talk about your weird kid.
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