Google how to help Asperger people and an avalanche of advice to “normal” people about dealing with autistics shows up, mostly well-meaning explanations for “strange or weird behavior” and what to do about it. The overall impression is that having an autistic person in your life, by accident or choice, is like having your life invaded and encumbered by a special type of misfortune in the form of a “lovable weirdo” whose presence will be “worth it” if you can get a PhD. in Sainthood / UFO Studies.
Like this Fuzzy Monster suddenly appearing in your Martha Stewart living room: “Monsters may not make great pets, but they certainly make for great chairs, and designer Jason Goh proves that with his furry rocking monster chair.”
From Autism Initiatives http://autisminitiatives.org
How to help a person with Asperger’s syndrome
Understanding how a person with Asperger syndrome views and interacts with the world around them is key to helping and communicating with them effectively.
An Asperger “visitation-invasion” of your life is more like this:
Need for routine
· It can be very difficult for people with Asperger syndrome to predict or plan what will happen at any given event or time. (Damn Quantum Physics!) Routine is often, the only way someone with Asperger syndrome can have a sense of predictability or control over events. (Routine is efficient for getting life’s mandatory trivial BS out of the way so that we can focus on important things)
· It may also mean that a change to that routine can be very disruptive and upsetting. Young children may impose* their routines, such as insisting on always walking the same route to school. (Wow! Asperger children ARE mega-powerful, just like T. Rex! *As opposed to adults-parents and domineering narcissists imposing their rigid schedules and rules on everyone else.)
· For most people, the majority of information received by the brain is automatically disregarded as unimportant. Many people with Asperger syndrome have difficulty with sifting through the important and unimportant information, therefore taking in a lot of details that others might miss. (Wrong: We’re very good at weeding out shallow social jibber-jabber, which is very low on actionable information. That blank stare into space means we’re ignoring you, unless and until you have something interesting to say.)
· Although a positive trait at times, decision making and prioritising what is important can be very difficult with so much information to sort through. (Ditto above: “important” does not include incoherent social anguish over transitory emotional distress, or claims that your cat is a genius.) For some, making a decision over what to have for lunch, for example, can be a very time consuming and tiring process. Because of this they may need help restricting their options or structuring a timetable to reduce the incidents of decision making. (We can’t “win” – Making “quick” decisions about almost everything except what to wear, or which unappetizing crap to order for lunch, earns us the accusation of black and white thinking, which is what “normal people” call our preference for “facts”.)
· People with Asperger syndrome tend to learn more effectively when things are presented visually, rather than orally. (So do many “normal” people, but deviating from standard archaic ideas about pedagogy would be “too hard” and require “empathy”.)
· When tackling a task, many people with Asperger syndrome will do it in the way they did it before, even if that method did not work. They may recognise that it doesn’t work and may have been told a better way of performing the task, but still find themselves doing it the same way as before. (“Here stupid, do this” – usually a glib verbal direction, which doesn’t actually work. The assumptions here are VERY simplistic and ignore the evidence that in the social environment , “how to do things” is often so irrational, illogical, subjective, circuitous, and PURPOSEFULLY obscure, that trying to “figure out” the intended procedure is impossible. Any sane person tricked into installing Windows 10 on their computer-laptop will verify this. Hours of searching for workarounds and fixes on forums and tech sites leads to hanging on to any “method” that will work, even if it is ridiculously stupid, just because it’s the best we can find or come up with.)
· It is often only in the action of doing something in the correct manner that someone will learn to do it that way again. Working alongside someone with Asperger syndrome and guiding them through a task can be an effective teaching method. (That is, if you know what your are doing! Pretending to know, when you don’t, because this is face-saving social protocol, will result in an Asperger getting mighty frustrated with you’re misrepresentation. Hint: you’re inability to say, “I don’t know how to do this” reveals low self-assurance and is not at all helpful.)
· For some people with Asperger syndrome, poor motor / organisational skills and clumsiness may be an additional difficulty. They may find difficulty with games that involve gross motor and *social skills, such as football. Awareness of this can be beneficial, and alternatives suggested. (Weird pairing of clumsiness and organizational skills! What percentage of “normal” people lack physical coordination, graceful movement and athletic ability? Try observing any middle-high school phys ed. class.)