Meeting other people on the spectrum...but not knowing it

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JVaughn
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10 Aug 2010, 9:14 am

Hello,

Like the Subject Line suggests, have you met another person on the spectrum but you didn't know they were? What was your experience?

My wife and I were at the Philadelphia Museum of Art several months ago and I was sitting by myself with my notebook in the cafe when a young boy, approx 10 years old, pulled up the chair next to me with his sketchbook and pencils and started drawing. I noticed that he was fumbling with his chair and I helped him get set up. We didn't exchange any words but I thought it was awesome that he wanted to draw...so I felt like his presence wasn't an annoyance or a threat. Actually felt honored that he want to work next to me in the only quiet spot in the cafe.

So we both sat quietly working away until his guardian finally approached with their snacks and apologized that his son was being a bother. "In no way was he an annoyance", I told him and offered him too a chair at my table. Then I was informed that he had autism and then he helped his son move his things to another table. He seemed somewhat embarrassed. That was when my wife who saw the whole thing from a distance and who finally found me in the cafe, went over and talked to them.

That was about the extent of my interaction. My wife, was able to glean more from the father/guardian while I stayed seated. When I looked over, the boy was still working away....more intensively than I was.

If you wish, please share a story.

Oh..I'm new on Wrong Planet. Hello everyone.



Ravenclawgurl
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10 Aug 2010, 10:28 am

there was a mutual friend of a friend that i met and i remember her doing something and me thinking to my self wow im supposedly the inappropriate one. then a few months later i find out she has asperger's too



DonDud
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10 Aug 2010, 10:32 am

Ever since I've started wondering about AS for myself, I see traits in lots of people I've known in the past, and people I interact with today too. I feel like I'd started imagining I was normal, and now I wish I'd made an effort to get to know some of the "strange" people I've encountered.



leejosepho
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10 Aug 2010, 10:44 am

DonDud wrote:
Ever since I've started wondering about AS for myself, I see traits in lots of people I've known in the past, and people I interact with today too. I feel like I'd started imagining I was normal, and now I wish I'd made an effort to get to know some of the "strange" people I've encountered.


Same here ... and the most recent was/is an AT&T DSL technician who came to check my connection a few weeks ago. I could see some of the struggle he was having while trying to do what he knows/likes to do but without going "out of bounds" in relation to his employer's policies or expectations. At some point along the way I made a simple comment in relation to myself that I thought he might pick up and then be able to relax a bit, but either he missed that altogether or he does not know about AS/HFA or maybe he just keeps all of that to himself around strangers.

I think it would be great to have a face-to-face WP somewhere!


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PaleBlueDotty
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10 Aug 2010, 10:50 am

greetings from another newbie, :)

your endearing story brought memories to mind of my last workplace.

i worked in a setting where there was "fierce" customer contact bimonthly via the phone after we sent out the statements .
it was basically like a callcentre for 3 days every 2 weeks minus the cubicle and the headset.
talk of sensory and data overload....

at lunchbreak the mostly female fellow employees of my department got together to air their views about disgruntled customers and the inability to appease them due to yet another shut down of the IT system, each others families, clothes, celebrities etc.,etc.

our department was adjacent to the in-house IT developpers', i used to take my lunch and my book and sneak off to join them at their table.
let's guess, IT developpers, hmmm...
nerdy? tick
my kind of humour? tick
talking about things that matter, i.e. how to prevent a shutdown of the system instead of whining about it or, heaven forbid, unimportant matters such as current affairs? tick
and best of all: 1/2 of the lunchbreak was spent in silence!

well, that was 20 years ago and back then i did not have a clue about my or their asperger's, but it all makes oh so much sense now, :lol:



Philologos
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10 Aug 2010, 1:58 pm

Until quite recently I had no idea I [and wife and son] were anywhere near the spectrum. Such things have definitely happened - every so often I have met someone with who,m there was mutual comfort / recognition.

Looking back on it, most if not all of a list of such people are almost certain at least on the fringe, though a few were just easygoing and widely tolerant.



StuartN
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10 Aug 2010, 3:36 pm

DonDud wrote:
now I wish I'd made an effort to get to know some of the "strange" people I've encountered.


I always ended up chatting or doing things with autistic kids at parties or visiting other peoples' houses. Their parents also were very worried that the child was being annoying or precocious, but I always found the autistic kids more interesting to communicate with than the adults, and really enjoy seeing how interesting minds work.

And then I was diagnosed with Asperger's, so like the OP's experience reversed.