Does it help to tell people you have ASD?

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bee33
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19 Jul 2023, 6:21 am

Do you think it helps or makes things harder to tell people that you are autistic? For instance, if you are in a conversation and you realize that you are not understanding the vibe or what the other person is expecting you to say, or how to react, does it help to mention something like, "I'm sorry, I'm not good at detecting vibes or nuances, because I'm on the spectrum?" Or something like that.

Or does it not help because people don't know enough about autism to understand what you mean? Does it just add to the miscommunication? Or does it make it worse because they think you're making excuses, or even lying?



theboogieman
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19 Jul 2023, 12:29 pm

I suppose it depends who you're talking to and how informed of autism they are.

In the last few months, I've been saying something along the lines of "I often have a harder time understanding non-verbal cues because I am likely on the autism spectrum [just got the confirmation today!], so if you need something from me and I'm not picking it up, feel free to tell me to my face. It won't hurt my feelings and will make both of our lives easier."

In dating, this has especially been helpful. I recently got a girlfriend and I've found this allows our communication to work in a manner that allows us both to understand what the other wants and needs. I suppose time will tell if this strategy really works, but so far, this is the most connected I have ever felt in a relationship.


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autisticelders
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19 Jul 2023, 4:21 pm

sometimes I ask people to explain again using different words and I will say something like "I have sensory processing difficulties sometimes" They might cut me a bit of slack in intense conversations and try again.

I have told people I am autistic sometimes and I get condescended to and pats on the head (metaphorical) from some individuals but after 68 years of constantly being bullied in workplaces and groups, this is almost refreshing, since it comes from attempts to be kind instead of a place of hostility. I find I mind being talked down to or treated condescendingly far less than those who would taunt me, set me up deliberately, mock me, etc.


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theboogieman
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20 Jul 2023, 10:54 am

autisticelders wrote:
sometimes I ask people to explain again using different words and I will say something like "I have sensory processing difficulties sometimes" They might cut me a bit of slack in intense conversations and try again.

I have told people I am autistic sometimes and I get condescended to and pats on the head (metaphorical) from some individuals but after 68 years of constantly being bullied in workplaces and groups, this is almost refreshing, since it comes from attempts to be kind instead of a place of hostility. I find I mind being talked down to or treated condescendingly far less than those who would taunt me, set me up deliberately, mock me, etc.

Ironically, I feel the opposite! I was taught from a young age that if someone is making fun of me, I can make fun of myself even harder and they'll be powerless. Not in the depressing, self-deprecating kind of way, but if someone called me weird, I'd be like "yeah I guess so" and "weird it up" harder around them. If you're better at picking apart your differences than people who want to mock them, then you will always have the upper hand.

But when I'm being patronized, there is no way to overcome that. I cannot infantalize myself because then that just proves their point.

I was recently thinking about how in middle school, I was never thrown the ball in gym class because I was a horrible athlete. Then all of a sudden one day, the ball kept being thrown to me whether or not I would actually catch it and my teammates would cheer for me regardless. It only took a few minutes of feeling good about being included before it hit me: "The gym teacher pulled them aside and told them to do this."

That felt way worse than being mocked for being the klutz. At least when I was the klutz, I could make a bit out of it.


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jvbradley
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20 Jul 2023, 6:19 pm

Quote:
But when I'm being patronized, there is no way to overcome that. I cannot infantalize myself because then that just proves their point.


Yeah, I can relate to this. I got tired of being made to feel like crap by a peer who thought that I was an easy target for bullying. I think that one of the few benefits of being raised by an emotionally abusive alcoholic (but still very intelligent) lawyer was that I learned how to use sarcasm, dismissal, and condescension much better than many NTs - and then the ability to just walk away from it like nothing had happened. (Mike Tyson learned to fight as a child because people used to make fun of his lisp.)

While it's certainly not a healthy thing to do (there is an energy cost), a nuclear response will teach people not to screw with you - especially if you do it in front of other people. I'm really glad that I've not needed to go this route for a very long time.

(edit: typo)



Fairfield
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20 Jul 2023, 7:54 pm

It usually helps a bit, but it's noticeable that something is "off" about me. Naming it confuses people less and makes them seem to act less uncomfortable around me.

Today at work I even wore a pin I got that says I have autism and ADHD, and I noticed certain people treated me better/avoided me less. I think people that didn't know what was "wrong" with me felt more comfortable knowing that my odd behaviour wasn't on purpose, or due to something worse (like drugs or something). No one mentioned it either.



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21 Jul 2023, 12:28 pm

Anyone who engages me can tell that I have something going on. Knowing that something is autism seems to be helpful to not only me, but whoever I'm interacting with. For the other person, they seem to be more at ease and can stop mentally trying to work out if I'm simply weird, creepy, crazy, or whatever. For me, I seem to be extended more patience, have a safety net in place (for places like the store where I might melt down or shutdown...I told the local greeters, who in turn let management know), and I can do things like wear headphones when standing in line and be waved to when it's my turn. If I went to new places more often, I'd probably get one of those lanyards announcing it and save myself the effort of telling people.



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21 Jul 2023, 1:29 pm

Fairfield wrote:
or due to something worse (like drugs or something).

It's interesting how frequently I get accused of being intoxicated when I am not, and nobody commenting on my intoxication when I am. It's like the intoxicated version of me is more NT than the sober version of me.


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KitLily
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21 Jul 2023, 2:00 pm

This is an interesting conversation, I'll follow it to see what I should do. I'm moving house soon and I was wondering whether to tell people that I have autism or hypoglycaemia or both or neither. I think I'd tell them about the hypoglycaemia because that affects my life enormously and the autism when I get to know them better.


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21 Jul 2023, 2:15 pm

Apparently not. Things have progressively gotten worse for me since I ever mentioned I may be autistic, and never improved on my getting assessed and confirmed.


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Caz72
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21 Jul 2023, 2:43 pm

i dont have much tactful skills so i tend to let people know im autistic if i feel i should

usually the response is..you cant be autistic you drive a bus!"


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KitLily
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22 Jul 2023, 7:14 am

Caz72 wrote:
usually the response is..you cant be autistic you drive a bus!"


Oh god what a crazy response from them! That made me laugh.


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bee33
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22 Jul 2023, 6:39 pm

Part of my reason for wondering about this is that I have ME/CFS (chronic fatigue) and I learned that it makes some people very angry when I mention that I can't do something or have to curtail it in some way because I'm too tired or not feeling well enough. They think it's an excuse and they scoff at it. This particular type of people are actually nicer if they think I am lazy or unreliable!

I may be wrong but I think I can pass as NT, so it could be that people would think it's just another excuse if I tell them that I didn't mean to be rude but I failed to understand what they were saying because I'm on the spectrum. (And to add to it, I'm not completely sure that I am autistic, since I don't have a diagnosis and two assessments came back inconclusive, although I don't see another possibility. So I would say, "I might be autistic?" That complicates it even more.)



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23 Jul 2023, 6:06 am

Since people around me are ignorant and presumptious, the best I'd tell them "what is my disability" if someone knew that I'm not an NT -- is that "I have a developmental disorder"

And hopefully not needing to elaborate further than saying; "That's why I look or even act younger than my age, seemingly naive, sensitive, easily distracted, forgetful and still learning social norms and how communication works. Please forgive my slip ups and mistakes". :roll:

I won't say I am diagnosed or at I have autism unless on a very strict to know basis with professionals who works directly with my case.

I won't say I'm autistic because people haven't earned that level of trust, and knowing that people not having that level of understanding.



It was inspired by seeing commentaries in different sites.
Like instead of saying one has a diagnosis/or has ADHD, with all the associations and stigmas and whatever assumptions due to social media and whatever implications...

Instead one just says:

Quote:
"I have an executive dysfunction disorder that doctors treat it with stimulants."

Not the exact words but the point is that...
People likely won't ask further than that.

Like how one doesn't say 'I have myopia and in need of prescription glasses', nope, one would say 'I can't see far without glasses'.


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ToughDiamond
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23 Jul 2023, 8:23 am

Depends who it is and why you're telling them. If you're using it as a reason to ask for their forbearance, it's difficult because ASD is an "invisible" disability so the Aspie can't usually prove that there's really any problem, and people naturally tend to be skeptical of anybody who asks for special treatment without evidence. And some people won't care what the truth is as long as they don't have to go to any trouble, so they'll seize on the invisible nature of the disorder and pretend you're just malingering.



KitLily
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23 Jul 2023, 9:49 am

bee33 wrote:
Part of my reason for wondering about this is that I have ME/CFS (chronic fatigue) and I learned that it makes some people very angry when I mention that I can't do something or have to curtail it in some way because I'm too tired or not feeling well enough. They think it's an excuse and they scoff at it. This particular type of people are actually nicer if they think I am lazy or unreliable!


Oh I get that too! People can't see that I have chronic fatigue so they think I'm just being lazy. Lots of my work colleagues thought that when I was at work. Then when I got pregnant I just couldn't function so I think they realised then how weak my body was.

CFS *and* autism is serious isn't it. Not only do our bodies not work 'normally', our minds don't work 'normally' either. A double whammy.


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