Gray Area for People on the Spectrumhttp://loudenonautism.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Southwest-Boarding.jpg 400 300 Paul Louden Paul Louden http://0.gravatar.com/avatar/3a7243d14e56bdd8965eb16622a3cdee?s=96&d=mm&r=g
One common issue for people with autism, is the lack of feel for non-literal conversation. Our view of self and the world tends to be very concrete, and we rarely see the abstract. You might say, “Just don’t think like that, life isn’t all or nothing.” And we would if we could.
In my mind, the lack of gray area when you’re on the spectrum means we can have difficulty dealing with or understanding that not everything is necessarily absolute.
For example, the way my mind works, an agreement between two people is an agreement, and it does not matter what your position is relative to each other. Once the agreement is made, you have to stick to it — no matter how small the agreement.
In college, it drove me nuts that an instructor could be five or ten minutes late, but if I arrived late I was penalized. I didn’t know how to deal with it, and I just needed the concreteness.
It’s always important to understand that some people might not view the world in the same way that you do. Specifically, when communicating with someone with autism, you might want to be careful about sarcasm or about doing things outside of the “rules” of the situation. Another experience that comes to mind happened to me when I was in the airport. I was in line for a Southwest Airlines flight. I had a boarding number, like B-10. So, I casually took my place in line at the B-10 section. Someone in front of me had the boarding number B-13. But since B-10 through B-15 were all lined up in the “same” section, he just stepped in front of me and said, “you don’t mind do you?”
Honestly, I did mind. Rules are rules. And to me, I follow the rules and expect everyone else to do the same. Otherwise, why do we have them in the first place? Overall, try to remember that people on the spectrum don’t purposely try to take things as literally as they do, it just happens sometimes.
I hope this post is useful! And thanks for following along.