This post comes as a result of a conversation with my counselor today.
I’ll start by saying that when I was diagnosed, I actually refuted my diagnosis, on the grounds that things just didn’t add up. I ran these 10 things by my counselor today and she was able to map each one appropriately to AS. The numbering sequence is not an indication of importance, I just felt like using a numbered list.
1) When it comes to meeting new people, I rarely have the inclination or the desire to strike up a friendly dialogue for the sake of ‘getting to know them’. Having the job I do requires me to function as such, but to quote a website that I ran across “I have updated my social algorithm to adapt”.
2) Neurotypicals (especially women) enjoy hugging or shaking hands upon greeting/exiting a social scene. For me, I find the gesture to be unnecessary and at times, uncomfortable. For me, being introduced to someone in a professional setting feels uncomfortable.
3) I’ve tried over time to get better at it, but I feel very uncomfortable not only making eye contact with people, but even watching someone’s face when they’re speaking in a TV show or movie.
4) I find that I can get easily locked into certain topics (whether or not I am excited about them). I think that getting ‘locked’ in that way consumes much of my mental energy and makes it difficult for me to want to accomplish anything else.
5) In my past, I went through a lot of hardship in terms of making friends, trying to be social, and being very literal when it came down to structure. At first I thought that my upbringing might have been a factor, but ‘my programming’ has changed much since my teenage years.
6) I could give you directions from Portland, ME to Miami, FL in such great detail that you’d swear I’ve driven it countless times, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the names of half the professors I work with. My counselor attributes it the ability to memorize ‘binary information’ versus name-to-face assocation.
7) I have a brilliant skill when it comes to writing blogs, letters, and correspondence; however, don’t come to me if you can’t handle truth in things. While I can and do speak, I lose words easily and I have a hard time staying on task.
8) I have always had a weakness for crowds – call it a discomfort. When I’m around large groups of people, I tend to feel rather overloaded, rather easily. Over time and as I’ve gotten older, I have learned coping mechanisms and I have increased my tolerance progressively, but they still bother me.
9) While I do have the ability to read basic and standardized social cues, many social nuances still baffle and/or confuse me. I can, for the most part, adapt to different social venues, but only when the rules and structure of the venue are obvious and cues are blantant.
10) I have a very difficult time taking sides on issues in my personal life. One of the more frequently asked questions I get is “Whose side are you on, anyway??” It’s not that I don’t pick sides, but when confrontations get emotional and nobody is thinking with the slightest bit of logic, I tend to not want to take anyone’s side.
While I realize that the 10 items I have described are not literally and may not be immediately obvious, I laid them out in scenario/situation-form, that way it may help you relate to it.