Are NTs programmed to instantly reject autists?

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Jayo
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26 Jan 2022, 9:25 pm

The "programmed" part may seem like a bit of a pejorative, but I know NTs aren't machines...far from it by the reliance on emotional cues... but from various sources on the Internet, my impression has been that there's something in their reptilian brain that just auto-rejects us, like they've got radar, and it even works at an across-the-room distance.

One quote I obtained from a random online source:

"It isn’t what we say but how we say it that leads people to avoid and reject autistics. Unfortunately, it gets worse. Even photographs of autistics received negative emotional responses, while photos of neurotypical controls did not. Somehow, we look atypical."

What I find dubious about this statement is that it's at odds with the common rhetorical question "And what does somebody with autism look like?" - in response to a neurotypical telling us that "you don't look autistic."
Well, logically, if people are avoiding someone instantly or recoiling at them on a visceral level, then that would suggest that there IS an "autistic look". Maybe it's not a lazy eye or contorted mouth or the "Downs" look, but I suppose it's something that would be "deer like". It wasn't until later in my 20s post-diagnosis that I looked back and realized I presented this way and made others uncomfortable, or that I often unconsciously appeared angry in a "neutral" situation, b/c of all the injustices (bullying, exclusion, being given B.S. hours at part-time jobs) I'd experienced, and others must have noticed it and thought I was strange. Which is not an uncommon experience for those of us on the spectrum, so I've heard. 8O

But all that being said, I couldn't discern whether the speaker of the above quote was successful at "masking" ASD traits, like being consciously aware of the stuff above which I wasn't in my early 20s and then consciously suppressing it based on rehearsal and reflection etc. Because from my own anecdotal experience post-diagnosis, I almost never got reactions of fear or being freaked out.

Some of you may know about author Malcolm Gladwell's famous book "Blink", in which he talks about the ability of neurotypical humans to "thin-slice", or instantly size up a person's main thoughts, motives, character, etc., which isn't always accurate but can be surprisingly so in some cases. It's no secret that we ASD'ers get a raw deal out of thin-slicing, but for some time during my iterative masking experiment, I turned this to my advantage by ensuring that NTs had a positive first impression of me, knowing that would be more cemented, and that would quell their reptilian brains for the first "golden moments" while I continued to suppress symptoms and knew that occasional "breaks in the matrix" would be forgiven or overlooked later - it turns out I was right :D



CarlM
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26 Jan 2022, 10:06 pm

All true and as you seem to have found that there are work arounds to this problem. An extreme example is if someone's first impression of you is of you saving the baby from get hit by the car, your ASD probably is going to be overlooked. More realistically, if you meet someone while engaging in a mutual interest, your common interest may be more important than your social presentation.

So what did you find that overcomes this problem?


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Nemesis2k7
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27 Jan 2022, 3:26 am

yes



autisticelders
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27 Jan 2022, 6:56 am

some recent studies seem to bear this out. Instinct to reject perception of "otherness".
Evidently many autistic individuals have involuntary minute head and body motions that are seen and processed by others on a subconscious level. In one study, autistic people were introduced to NT individuals. In almost all cases after a 5 minute interaction, each participant was asked if they liked the other person and if they would be interested in meeting and interacting with them again. In almost every case the autistic individual said yes and the NT said no.


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Joe90
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27 Jan 2022, 7:18 am

The less ''Us and Them'' I view autism as, the more easier it is to feel happier.


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auntblabby
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27 Jan 2022, 8:10 am

there was an army social worker i met when i was in the service, he told me that he could tell i was autie at a glance. at my aspie meetup group [RIP] i learned eventually, how people spot us, it's in the eyes. all the members of my group had that in their eyes, a sort of "wild animal look" for want of a better term. certain of them have it more than others, this person had it in spades-
Image
Image
btw i already know these two people did heinous things and i'm NOT making any kind of behavioral linkage with them and anybody else!
i see this "look" in my siblings, as well. we are all on the spectrum, as well, 'cept for my late sister who didn't have it because she was NT.



carlos55
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27 Jan 2022, 8:49 am

Depends what you mean by “reject”

Most people including NTs are quite reasonable and don’t have anything against autistic people, on the contrary most are actually sympathetic.

Where there are problems it’s largely in misunderstanding behavior that’s seen as potential creepy or criminal.

The rest is simply failure to connect with people. Life is short and I find NTs just move on to others they can connect with.

Nothing personal just the way most humans are


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kraftiekortie
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27 Jan 2022, 8:51 am

We autists are sometimes programmed to instantly reject PEOPLE.



auntblabby
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27 Jan 2022, 9:15 am

the only people this autie instantly rejected were people who assaulted me one way or the other.



kraftiekortie
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27 Jan 2022, 9:17 am

Yeah....that's the way it was with me, too.



theprisoner
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27 Jan 2022, 9:24 am

auntblabby wrote:
i learned eventually, how people spot us, it's in the eyes. all the members of my group had that in their eyes, a sort of "wild animal look" for want of a better term.


I've only ever heard people say I have a twinkle in my eye, or have beautiful eyes. I've heard the term thousand mile stare, but nobody has ever said that describing me... "wild animal look", as in; bat-shit crazy? sounds like it could be compliment in different context... "Oh honey, you have this wild animal look in your eyes, take me now, do me like a wild animal!" e.g.

auntblabby wrote:

Image
btw i already know these two people did heinous things and i'm NOT making any kind of behavioral linkage with them and anybody else!
i see this "look" in my siblings, as well. we are all on the spectrum, as well, 'cept for my late sister who didn't have it because she was NT.


Who is that? a young Ted Kyczinksi? :scratch: I don't know who those are... I don't see anything wrong with the person, maybe a flatish affect, but anybody can say a person looks deranged or criminal, AFTER the fact...If it was so easy to spot psychological phenotypes, police detectives would be out of a job.


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kraftiekortie
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27 Jan 2022, 9:36 am

A still photograph does not reveal ANYTHING about a person, usually.

There are no "signs" that I was a non-verbal autistic little boy in any of my pictures from before I was 5 years of age. I looked like a perfectly "normal" little boy.



Jayo
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27 Jan 2022, 2:59 pm

autisticelders wrote:
some recent studies seem to bear this out. Instinct to reject perception of "otherness".
Evidently many autistic individuals have involuntary minute head and body motions that are seen and processed by others on a subconscious level. In one study, autistic people were introduced to NT individuals. In almost all cases after a 5 minute interaction, each participant was asked if they liked the other person and if they would be interested in meeting and interacting with them again. In almost every case the autistic individual said yes and the NT said no.


I dunno, that part about involuntary minute head & body motions seems kinda dubious to me... as a turn-off... unless you're talking about stims or co-morbid Tourettes, where it's more pronounced. I find that everyone, regardless of being NT or ASD/HFA, tends to have involuntary minute head and body motions - it's usually part of pondering something that's been said, or when one is somewhat enthused about something they might slightly reposition their body, etc... I mean, surely you don't expect the other person to be statue-like, which would definitely conjure up "creepy vibes".

When going on dates with females, years ago, I always consciously looked as though I enjoyed her company and what she had to say - I didn't feel that nervous for the most part, unless she was really attractive (and I dated a couple of those girls), so when I didn't hear back from her I had a pretty good feeling that my nerves had caused some of those involuntary "weird" motions you were referring to. I didn't need to over-analyze those dates. 8)
But other than that, yeah, it's not like you're gonna get more explicit/honest feedback - if I were to say, notice some curling of her lip with a downward look (mild disgust or contempt of some sort), and asked "what's the matter, it seems you don't feel right about something" - you'd NEVER hear "well, it's just that you moved your head in an 'odd' way and it made me feel uncomfortable..." :roll:



MushroomTacos
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27 Jan 2022, 11:32 pm

Here's what I've noticed. This gets into a lot of stuff about ableism and queerphobia, so content warning for that.

There are certain social "rules" that I naturally apply to myself and others, only I had never thought of them as rules until recently. Among those is the expectation of appropriate body language and speech patterns, which have lead me to be quite impatient with the way some autistic people have communicated with me. I had to sit back and really think about [i]why[i] it was frustrating to me, because there was no reason to be frustrated. I just was instinctually, and it lead me to dislike certain people for no reason whatsoever. Perhaps it was frustrating when I had to reframe things I said in a more straightforward way, or that they'd misinterpret what I was saying, or simply that I, along with many people, have been taught to took at people who behave in unconventional ways as some sort of threat. This became clear to me when I was 19 and I had my dad pick me up from the mall after I went there with some friends to hang out. One of them is a really good friend and he's autistic. When I got in my dad's car, he told me I need to be careful around "people like that". I asked what he meant, knowing what he was going to say, and he told me that person, my friend, looked like a weirdo. I explained to him that there's literally nothing wrong with him and that he's a good friend, and I think I may have changed his perspective a bit.

In short, a lot, if not most of this boils down to instinct. In modern society, we're in a constant struggle between tribalistic insticts to be hostile to those we view as "others". As a queer, trans and neurodivergent person (maybe autistic, not sure), I've experienced this from multiple angles. Early in my transition, when I first started presenting more feminine, the way people started looking at me was scary at times. Why? I was seen as a man by these people, and I was breaking a social rule deeply intrenched in our cis-heteronormative society. Of course, the people hurling slurs and death threats at me never took the time to familiarize themselves with queer feminist theory, they simply see a man in a dress and it angers them. I think this can be applied to how autistic people are treated. It's bigotry, and it's yet to be addressed on a broad scale. There's nothing wrong with being trans, just as there's nothing wrong with being autistic. It's just that people instictually view such things as a threat without putting much thought into it.

At least, that's what I've observed.



auntblabby
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29 Jan 2022, 5:10 am

what it boils down to is that there aren't sufficient numbers of understanding NTs for ND folks to ever feel 100% safe in the dominant cultural milieu.



starrytigress
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29 Jan 2022, 7:21 pm

This is why I say that anthropology needs to be a required course at the very least in college. There are a lot of aspects of our culture that are usually considered 'natural' as in having a biological origin, when really we are inculcated into them from a very young age. So there is this idea that there is away that people are supposed to behave, and that it is 'hardwired' into our biology the way hair or eye color is. So NTs, when they see someone behaving in a non-conforming manner, assume the actions are intentional rather than accidental.
That's based on my own observations and experiences. That and a lot of things humans typically do, like eye contact, are difficult for those of us on the spectrum, and a lot of books on body language out there tell you that not making eye contact is a sign someone is suspicious or hiding something.
I think its just that we behave in ways that are not expected, and it kinda freaks NTs out and when a person is freaked out about something, then the knee jerk response is to reject it. Of course this is super broad and also has to deal with NT's that lack theory of mind, the idea that someone else could interpret something differently than them.
I also think that a big part is that autism doesn't have 'a look'. It's an invisible disability, and there's a ton of stuff out there about how people with invisible disabilities have a harder time than those with visible disabilities. If a person in a wheelchair askes someone the hold the door for them, then it's obvious that they would have trouble holding the door open and going through the door at the same time. Now imagine if someone replied to that person in a wheelchair with 'well your arms aren't broken' instead of helping. No one would think to do that, because the other person's need is visually obvious. It's not the case with something like autism so a lot of people think autistic behavior is somehow in our control and that we are just choosing to be difficult, because we can't physically show what the problem is.
Or as my therapist and I like to say, disability is someone in a wheelchair, that's how it's thought of in America. And I find is really sad that most Americans would rather hassle a disabled person and make them 'prove' they deserve help, instead of letting maybe one or two people get away with accommodations they don't need.