Autistic-friendly social skills vs. blending in with NT's

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Mona Pereth
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03 Aug 2019, 9:21 pm

SocOfAutism wrote:
Mona-oh yes I did misunderstand, but I’m not sure my contribution would be much different.

Please keep in mind that I subscribe to what should be considered a dead field of sociology. I think it is my responsibility to make note that the field of sociology has changed and few of my “colleagues” find the work of people like Goffman, Leon Festinger, and I would include operant psychologist BF Skinner as well, to be useful in today’s world. I believe their breakthroughs are what our social world is built upon.

By saying, "their breakthroughs are what our social world is built upon," did you mean that their breakthroughs are what sociology's understanding of our social world is built upon, or did you mean to say that modern Western civilization's "social world" itself has been radically re-shaped by their breakthroughs? If you meant the latter, what are some specific examples of how the mainstream "social world" itself is now built upon their breakthroughs, whereas it wasn't before?

SocOfAutism wrote:
That being said, there are somewhat universally accepted ways to have a conversation.

To some extent, yes. But, even among NTs, different cultures have different conventions regarding many aspects of conversation including eye contact, body language, the amount and kind of sugar-coating necessary when discussing uncomfortable topics, and the whole question of when and whether it is appropriate to discuss and/or hint at uncomfortable topics at all.

In an autistic-friendly subculture, it would be understood and accepted that different people have different natural body language and that one should refrain from jumping to conclusions about what it means. Also it would be understood that some autistic people are likely to be better than NTs at understanding the body language of at least some other autistic people.

Many autistic people find it utterly exhausting, and generally bad for their mental health, to try to conform to the conventions of the NT world. So, in my opinion, we need to build an independent autistic-centered subculture in which the more crazy-making expectations are gotten rid of. But there will still need to be some social expectations in order for us to be able to get along with each other. The point of this thread is to discuss, specifically, what those social expectations should and shouldn't be.

SocOfAutism wrote:
We face each other,

Actually, my boyfriend and I usually don't face each other when talking to each other.

SocOfAutism wrote:
we speak out loud, use written symbols, or hand signals, we take turns, have phrases and rituals that are mutually understood, etc.

These are pretty much necessary by the very definition of a "conversation."

SocOfAutism wrote:
One can memorize how to properly engage in conversation and what it means to have a failure in communication. As a baseline. For that, I would go to Goffman. But it may be more realistic for people to watch YouTube videos or get a self help book written in plain language.

My point is that all parties involved in the communication process should understand what is expected and be able to provide and receive their ends of the conversation.

It seems to me that these expectations are likely to differ between cultures even among NT's, and would differ in various ways between an autistic-centered subculture and the NT world.

The interesting question here is: which specific social expectations should be different between the NT world and an independent autistic-centered subculture, vs. which specific social expectations should remain the same?

In a previous post, you wrote, regarding Goffman:

SocOfAutism wrote:
His books are a blue print for conversation. They give you every possible situation, the correct response, incorrect responses, and- this is key- what is going on inside the other person after receiving an error in communication.

"Every possible situation"? Really? Is that even mathematically possible? Or did you just mean many of the more common types of social situations?

It sounds like Goffman's books would be interesting and worthwhile reading, but your recommendation of them doesn't address the question that is the main point of this thread.


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Mona Pereth
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19 Sep 2019, 1:00 am

I just now came across the following very relevant old thread: Social commonality of etiquette for autistic people. The O.P. asks, "If we could create a kind of autistic etiquette, what would it look like?" Excellent question, with some excellent answers.


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Mona Pereth
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27 Sep 2019, 1:04 am

A while back, here, in the thread I can't take criticism of any kind, I posted the following list of tutorials on how to gracefully receive criticism:

- How Can I Learn to Take Criticism Without Taking It Personally?
- 7 Tips That'll Help You Stop Taking Criticism So Personally (and Make it Easier to Move On)
- Taking Constructive Criticism Like a Champ
- 5 Tips for Gracefully Accepting Constructive Criticism
- How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Professional


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06 Nov 2019, 7:13 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
There are also some social skills that I think are needed more by us in an autistic-friendly space than by NT's in the NT world. These include:

1) Assertiveness (without being aggressive).
2) Active listening.
3) Giving and receiving constructive criticism.
4) Conflict resolution.

I think these skills are probably easier for many of us to learn, and less exhausting to exercise once learned, than the art of pretending to be NT. Some of these skills may even come more naturally to (at least some of) us than to NT's. Many NT's do not have these skills, preferring instead to rely on subtle hints.


I really like 1) and am working on that, but 2) to 4) scare me still. I know they are a way to 1). So weird being a grown woman and scared like a child. Learned helplessness?

kraftiekortie wrote:
In general, we should seek to meet NTs halfway; and they should do the same.

I concur. Non-AS-friendly NTs call out my oddities (for me to "fix") rather than helping. I feel like I am constantly adjusting and compromising for them and would like some of it that directed my way. This goes back to assertiveness.

As a starter, when I asked for increased workplace communication (yes, that was vague, but I was undiagnosed and at the infant-stage of assertiveness) my boss told me "People don't change". I suggested that given space to do so, people do change. I later came back to the topic and informed him that I adjust for my workplace culture every day. I can look back now and see I was "screaming" AS and workplace accommodations. Ah, well. We had a HR workshop later in the year and ironically it indicated that Communication was one of the only two Strengths lacking in our group. Empathy was the other one.



JustFoundHere
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06 Nov 2019, 6:34 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
In general, we should seek to meet NTs halfway; and they should do the same.


Excellent point - yet it's easier said (and written) than done!- humans (even NTs in the eyes of NT perspectives) are well........complicated!



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01 Dec 2019, 6:35 pm

Bump, for the links. Just reading the titles scare me. (Feeling very sensitive on the eve of a likely diagnosis, and the previous four decades.)



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07 Dec 2019, 10:40 pm

Personally, *most* of the time that I try to pass or compromise in a way that feels impossible to maintain, or like "this is going to end badly", it does. It's a way of delaying pain, not of preventing it.


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08 Dec 2019, 12:39 am

I learnt from an early age that I do not fit in socially and nothing I do or say will make anyone like or accept me.
I have accepted I do not need other people in my life and there is no need to make friends.
I keep most conversations short and blunt.
Sorry in advance that I am rude, I have Aspergers.



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08 Dec 2019, 10:00 am

Rainbow_Belle wrote:
Sorry in advance that I am rude, I have Aspergers.

The book I am reading "very late diagnosis..." amuses me b/c it has my mind set (that it's varied styles of communication) so one might just as well say, "Sorry in advance that I am rude, I am Neurotypical" (and prone to hidden meanings, etc.)



Archmage Arcane
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03 Sep 2020, 2:27 am

I'm going to resurrect this thread, because the subject came up in a discussion group Tuesday evening where Mona and I were (virtually) present. We're going to have some in-depth discussions on the topic of autistic-friendly social skills beginning next month.

I was going to start a new thread, but found that this thread is pretty much what we wanted to discuss and there is already some good input.

I'm going to restate the skills Mona listed last year, with one addition.

-Assertiveness (without being aggressive).
-Active listening.
-Giving and receiving constructive criticism.
-Conflict resolution.
-Being alert to possible differences in perception and needs.

These skills assume an autistic-friendly space.

Pardon me for being laconic, as my local time is 0322 and I need to get some sleep.

I promise I'm more useful in a discussion once the ball gets rolling. I'll be back in the next day or so. Mona will also be here, hopefully in the next couple of days.



cyberdad
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03 Sep 2020, 2:59 am

I tend to find these discussion threads die after a while as posters get intellectually drained.

What does the last point "Being alert to possible differences in perception and needs" mean?



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03 Sep 2020, 3:56 am

Archmage Arcane wrote:
I'm going to resurrect this thread, because the subject came up in a discussion group Tuesday evening where Mona and I were (virtually) present. We're going to have some in-depth discussions on the topic of autistic-friendly social skills beginning next month.

I was going to start a new thread, but found that this thread is pretty much what we wanted to discuss and there is already some good input.

I'm going to restate the skills Mona listed last year, with one addition.

-Assertiveness (without being aggressive).
-Active listening.
-Giving and receiving constructive criticism.
-Conflict resolution.
-Being alert to possible differences in perception and needs.

These skills assume an autistic-friendly space.

Pardon me for being laconic, as my local time is 0322 and I need to get some sleep.

I promise I'm more useful in a discussion once the ball gets rolling. I'll be back in the next day or so. Mona will also be here, hopefully in the next couple of days.


I wonder if it’s possible to have a group discussion using zoom? You would establish basic ground rules and we could explore needs and guidelines for the creation of a real time autistic space by active experimentation.

I wanted to comment on the mention of NT’s preferring to communicate in a certain way versus a platform that may or may not have been historically created by introduced standards: I believe the average NT absorbs their own culture subconsciously as they grow and has no concept of there being an alternative. I don’t think this is a preference for a certain way of communicating but a natural state of being. I think input by sociologists et al was probably very minimal and functions more as a layer of guidance than a true infrastructure change. As an NT matures I think they may become aware of alternative platforms such as cultural variations or physical limitations that require altering their behavior but no matter what guidelines are taught or laws are created, the NT is then being asked or forced to make an effort beyond their baseline and is exhausted by the effort as we are exhausted by our efforts and we all seek to retreat to our own worlds.

I like the idea of an ND space with a stated framework but I think it’s unrealistic to think an NT would willingly remain in that space beyond curiosity, compassion, or requirement.



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03 Sep 2020, 4:07 am

beady wrote:
Archmage Arcane wrote:
I'm going to resurrect this thread, because the subject came up in a discussion group Tuesday evening where Mona and I were (virtually) present. We're going to have some in-depth discussions on the topic of autistic-friendly social skills beginning next month.

I was going to start a new thread, but found that this thread is pretty much what we wanted to discuss and there is already some good input.

I'm going to restate the skills Mona listed last year, with one addition.

-Assertiveness (without being aggressive).
-Active listening.
-Giving and receiving constructive criticism.
-Conflict resolution.
-Being alert to possible differences in perception and needs.

These skills assume an autistic-friendly space.

Pardon me for being laconic, as my local time is 0322 and I need to get some sleep.

I promise I'm more useful in a discussion once the ball gets rolling. I'll be back in the next day or so. Mona will also be here, hopefully in the next couple of days.


I wonder if it’s possible to have a group discussion using zoom? You would establish basic ground rules and we could explore needs and guidelines for the creation of a real time autistic space by active experimentation.

I wanted to comment on the mention of NT’s preferring to communicate in a certain way versus a platform that may or may not have been historically created by introduced standards: I believe the average NT absorbs their own culture subconsciously as they grow and has no concept of there being an alternative. I don’t think this is a preference for a certain way of communicating but a natural state of being. I think input by sociologists et al was probably very minimal and functions more as a layer of guidance than a true infrastructure change. As an NT matures I think they may become aware of alternative platforms such as cultural variations or physical limitations that require altering their behavior but no matter what guidelines are taught or laws are created, the NT is then being asked or forced to make an effort beyond their baseline and is exhausted by the effort as we are exhausted by our efforts and we all seek to retreat to our own worlds.

I like the idea of an ND space with a stated framework but I think it’s unrealistic to think an NT would willingly remain in that space beyond curiosity, compassion, or requirement.


I've been living in this 2D aquarium called Wrong Planet for nearly 10 years. Not bad for a neurotypical heh :wink:



beady
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03 Sep 2020, 10:57 pm

I appreciate your presence. Truly wish more NT's would come.
I'm more referring to "in general". I know NT's and ND's do fall in love with or befriend each other and some have long, happy relationships. Not sure about the percentage of success vs. failure nor how that compares to the already significant failure rate of all relationships.



Archmage Arcane
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05 Sep 2020, 9:21 am

cyberdad wrote:
beady wrote:
Archmage Arcane wrote:
I'm going to resurrect this thread, because the subject came up in a discussion group Tuesday evening where Mona and I were (virtually) present. We're going to have some in-depth discussions on the topic of autistic-friendly social skills beginning next month.

I was going to start a new thread, but found that this thread is pretty much what we wanted to discuss and there is already some good input.

I'm going to restate the skills Mona listed last year, with one addition.

-Assertiveness (without being aggressive).
-Active listening.
-Giving and receiving constructive criticism.
-Conflict resolution.
-Being alert to possible differences in perception and needs.

These skills assume an autistic-friendly space.

Pardon me for being laconic, as my local time is 0322 and I need to get some sleep.

I promise I'm more useful in a discussion once the ball gets rolling. I'll be back in the next day or so. Mona will also be here, hopefully in the next couple of days.


I wonder if it’s possible to have a group discussion using zoom? You would establish basic ground rules and we could explore needs and guidelines for the creation of a real time autistic space by active experimentation.

I wanted to comment on the mention of NT’s preferring to communicate in a certain way versus a platform that may or may not have been historically created by introduced standards: I believe the average NT absorbs their own culture subconsciously as they grow and has no concept of there being an alternative. I don’t think this is a preference for a certain way of communicating but a natural state of being. I think input by sociologists et al was probably very minimal and functions more as a layer of guidance than a true infrastructure change. As an NT matures I think they may become aware of alternative platforms such as cultural variations or physical limitations that require altering their behavior but no matter what guidelines are taught or laws are created, the NT is then being asked or forced to make an effort beyond their baseline and is exhausted by the effort as we are exhausted by our efforts and we all seek to retreat to our own worlds.

I like the idea of an ND space with a stated framework but I think it’s unrealistic to think an NT would willingly remain in that space beyond curiosity, compassion, or requirement.


I've been living in this 2D aquarium called Wrong Planet for nearly 10 years. Not bad for a neurotypical heh :wink:


Actually, you are pretty decent. Especially for an NT.



Archmage Arcane
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05 Sep 2020, 9:32 am

Not sure if we're going to do anything with Zoom. Mona appears to be a minimalist as I am. Minimum tech necessary to get the job done. Analogy is amateur radio (please stop me if I go too far with radio analogies) and minimum power needed to communicate.

I'll be back here in the next couple of days to keep things going. Cat-sitting out of state for a friend who had surgery Thursday. Will be back home this evening.

***EDIT: Now I see why there weren't a lot of responses with links. There is a dearth of information on social interaction where both or all parties are on the spectrum. I only found one link relevant to social interaction between adults on the spectrum. What we're trying to do is formulate an alternate set of rules which could facilitate co-operation and communication in an autistic-friendly environment. I may be able to find more once I'm home and can access sone research databases. Sadly, I don't work at an academic library.***
/EDIT

Here's a page from OAR about variation within autistic experience, since we added this to the list.
https://researchautism.org/ten-things-autism-isnt/