One of the things I have found since my diagnosis is the amount of times I get asked to explain what ASD is, and if its the same for everyone.
My usual responce is:
"Everyones ASD is as similar as their faces. There are similarities, all are made from the same basic parts, but there are many differences and each is unique to its owner.
As for mine, I cannot deal with suspence, I have trouble with children as they do not fit my logical view of the world, and I cannot tell if your being serious or not."
As good as this is, I would love to find a better way to describe ASD, because as soon as I tell people they either start setting example situations and asking 'what would you do . . . ' or start seeing if I can tell if they are being serious when they say things. I don't mind explaining, but I feel like I may do an injustice to other ASD people in some way or another, and that what makes me think I am the best ambassador for ASD.
What are other peoples experiences with explaining ASD to others?
Has anyone come across any great explinations that can put more into words?
My favourite - mentioned many times on threads, so people are probably bored with it by now! - is to say I'm like a cat in a room full of dogs. I want to be accepted by the dogs, so I copy some dog behaviours so they won't think I'm odd or aloof. I run after sticks occasionally. I demand attention. But none of these things is natural to me. I'd just as soon do my own thing, or sleep. I want attention on my terms. Nothing else. But... I also want to try to fit in. Usually, though, it doesn't work out that well. And instead of seeing me as a cat trying my best to be a dog - the dogs just see me as a failed dog!
You're right. Everyone on the spectrum is an individual. Everyone has a different mix of behaviours, preferences, abilities. No two of us is exactly alike. We're as different from each other as we are from NTs. It's hard, sometimes, to get people to grasp it. The computer analogy is good: I don't have a processing error - I have a different operating system. Still, though, I find people trying to 'normalise' what I tell them. "I do that, too", etc. My brother's like that. He normalises everything. Even though our lives are so completely different - him with his huge social circle, for instance, against me with no friends at all - he still struggles to understand. I've given up trying, to be honest. People either want to try to get it - or they don't. And it's pointless bashing your head against a wall.
Here's a meme I made, based on something I read somewhere else on this site. I also find it useful.
All the best,
I like this a lot! Its quite simple and makes people think! I also really like toe computer analogy. I might use that one!
I also agree about wanting to fit in, and often what tires me out at work is that 'fitting in' can be exhausting. By the time Friday afternoon arrives I am ready for bed, though my children usualy have other ideas.
I know my colleagues know about my ASD and that they all tell me to be myself, but its so hard to do after a lifetime of acting. I think if I had a diagnosis as a child / young person instead of at 33 I would find being myself easier. As it is I think people diagnosed late have developed an arsenal of coping strategies over years of uncertainty that hide their true selves, and are hard to break down!
You've expressed it perfectly. I'm 58 now and was only diagnosed two years ago - so you can imagine how exhausted I am! A lifetime of role-learning and play-acting, of feeling anxious even around work colleagues who know about my condition, and kind of understand... and of coming home exhausted, and just wanting to shut the door for the evening or weekend and be ALONE!
I work in social care with special needs, so my colleagues - even if they don't have ASC themselves - at least have some grounding in ASC through training. They all think I'm friendly. They all find me engaging, and think I'm good at my job. But it's interesting... I can go in of a morning (usually arriving long before anyone else, because I hate walking into a crowded room). The others will start to arrive in dribs and drabs, and whilst it's up to about four of us, I'm still engaged with them. I'm still part of the conversational centre-of-gravity. By the time it gets up to six or seven, though, I'm beginning to be marginalised - even though I might still be taking part in the conversation, whatever it might be about. By the time it's around nine or ten of us, though - I'm out of it! Even if I'm still putting my bit into the conversation, no one is taking any notice of me.
That's how it's always happened, throughout life. I guess it always will be the case now. I've learned a lot - things that NTs take for granted and can just do. But clearly it's not enough.
It's okay. It doesn't bother me. I like being on the outside, looking in. It's why I write
I know what you mean about feeling marginalised in a large group.
I personally could not do social care, as it requires patience in a way I cannot manage. I tend to fill the role of the office innovation geek, who the rest of the team throw ideas at and I come back and tell them if they will work.
My manager understands if he gives me something to do I do it straight away, which can be good and bad. I have also been a manager for the last 2 years of 2 people (though down to 1 recently), which is interesting, though it has become much easier since my diagnosis as I do not have to explain myself to my team.
I also agree that writing is good, and I have learned since joining the forum that its something I enjoy, though I do know that this also becomes more of an obsession like hobby, as all interests do for me!
I've been writing since I was 10, and started to isolate for the first time. It's my way of making sense of what's in my head, and of communicating with the world.
In all my jobs, I've been praised as being meticulous, conscientious, dedicated... getting the job done properly, if slower than most of the others. I don't cut corners. I don't like to leave anything unfinished.
I've never been a manager, and don't think I'd want to be. I'm too much of a people-pleaser. And I prefer to be given a job to get on with, and to get on with it. I'd find it hard having to be responsible for others in that sense.