High-Functioning Aspie working with Low-Functioning Aspies

Page 1 of 3 [ 36 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

AdmiralCrunch
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 227
Location: CT, USA

21 Feb 2012, 10:42 am

I've been creating local support groups and other services for people on the spectrum over the last year. It's been tough work, but has been a worthwhile effort. My theory has been synthesis: get both High Functioning Aspies (HFA) and Low Functioning Autistics (LFA) together. (Now, I know that using the word "functioning" and then adding a valence to it is not the best way to describe human beings, but there is no easy way to talk about this anyway so bear with me.)

I've noticed that during these social events, the HFAs and LFAs segregate into different groups and don't talk to each other. I find this disheartening, since I wanted to create a common community. Even worse, the LFAs don't really talk to each other, since they have such trouble communicating overall.

My solution to this has been for me to interact with the LFAs to make sure they have an enjoyable time. It works great and I can get them to have a good time, but I'm the only HFA who seems to want to talk to them.

I enjoy the intellectual discussions that I can have with other HFAs but I still feel a bit nervous talking to them, since I have to have my act together and work hard to pay attention to keep them interested. I have a lot in common with other HFAs, but they oftentimes don't seem interested in me as a human being.

I absolutely love talking to LFAs since I can just sit back and relax, listen to everything that they say and talk about the simple things in life. I don't feel nervous at all and know that we will all accept each other for everything we are and don't need to impress each other or brag. A well-timed smile and a firm word of praise means all the world to us. I just enjoy life more when we're together like that.

I've also noticed that recently when we have our group meetings, all of the LFAs immediately walk over to me and stay wherever I am. So I think I'm kind-of the leader of the LFAs.

Has anyone noticed something like this before? Do you think it would be a good idea to hold separate HFA and LFA groups?

Also, since I really do enjoy the time I spend with the LFAs, I think I want to create a weekly meeting with them, but it's so hard to get them to go anywhere. I have a job and more money that I know what to do with, so I think I could invite them out for a weekly lunch (Friendly's, maybe?), but I'm not sure if that would be appropriate. Any ideas?


_________________
Dum vita est, spes est.


Rascal77s
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Nov 2011
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,795

21 Feb 2012, 12:50 pm

AdmiralCrunch wrote:
I've been creating local support groups and other services for people on the spectrum over the last year. It's been tough work, but has been a worthwhile effort. My theory has been synthesis: get both High Functioning Aspies (HFA) and Low Functioning Autistics (LFA) together. (Now, I know that using the word "functioning" and then adding a valence to it is not the best way to describe human beings, but there is no easy way to talk about this anyway so bear with me.)

I've noticed that during these social events, the HFAs and LFAs segregate into different groups and don't talk to each other. I find this disheartening, since I wanted to create a common community. Even worse, the LFAs don't really talk to each other, since they have such trouble communicating overall.

My solution to this has been for me to interact with the LFAs to make sure they have an enjoyable time. It works great and I can get them to have a good time, but I'm the only HFA who seems to want to talk to them.

I enjoy the intellectual discussions that I can have with other HFAs but I still feel a bit nervous talking to them, since I have to have my act together and work hard to pay attention to keep them interested. I have a lot in common with other HFAs, but they oftentimes don't seem interested in me as a human being.

I absolutely love talking to LFAs since I can just sit back and relax, listen to everything that they say and talk about the simple things in life. I don't feel nervous at all and know that we will all accept each other for everything we are and don't need to impress each other or brag. A well-timed smile and a firm word of praise means all the world to us. I just enjoy life more when we're together like that.

I've also noticed that recently when we have our group meetings, all of the LFAs immediately walk over to me and stay wherever I am. So I think I'm kind-of the leader of the LFAs.

Has anyone noticed something like this before? Do you think it would be a good idea to hold separate HFA and LFA groups?

Also, since I really do enjoy the time I spend with the LFAs, I think I want to create a weekly meeting with them, but it's so hard to get them to go anywhere. I have a job and more money that I know what to do with, so I think I could invite them out for a weekly lunch (Friendly's, maybe?), but I'm not sure if that would be appropriate. Any ideas?


1st of all I want to say what you're doing is really great. I'm thinking if you talk to some of the HFA people and explain what you are trying to do you will get more support. It is generally easier for ASD people to perform a goal oriented task than a socially oriented one. You need to shift their frame of reference to goal oriented.



unduki
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Age: 60
Gender: Female
Posts: 660

21 Feb 2012, 1:02 pm

What is the goal of your meetings? If it's just to socialize and network, you might begin a meeting with a mixer-type game. The most successful events I've ever taken part in, from Sunday School to business meetings, all started with some kind of interaction activity. It breaks the ice and gets people talking about things they wouldn't have talked about otherwise.

You can probably find a ton of mixer ideas on the internet. Otherwise, you might look at the library or a book store. (sounds so archaic when you have the internet)

Where do you find all the energy?


_________________
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.


MindWithoutWalls
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Oct 2011
Age: 51
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,426
Location: In the Workshop, with the Toolbox

21 Feb 2012, 2:06 pm

I'm curious what would happen if everybody went with a laptop and sat in the same room, typing with each other. If everybody had a tag on their laptop to identify themselves, people would know who was talking when each comment was made. Communication would be eased the way it is online, but people would be in the same room and able to keep company with each other as they communicated. They could speak to each other when they wished, they could type when they wished and have their words appear on the screens of others, and people would see who might be an interesting person to type with that might not be what they expected in person.

I know an idea like this might have some sort of down side I haven't thought of, but I thought it might be worth discussing.


_________________
The world is a classroom for a mind without walls.

Loitering is encouraged at The Wayshelter: http://wayshelter.com
Visit the Asperger's / Autism Toolbox: http://wayshelter.com/autasptoolbox.htm


sacrip
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 889

21 Feb 2012, 2:29 pm

I'll be honest here: I don't really like talking to low functioning autistics. Obviously, I sympathize with their situation and can see myself in them at times, but I just don't find it enjoyable to spend time with them. Frankly, AdmiralCrunch, I think you're going to find this a common situation, and I suspect it's even harder to make an HFA and an LFA get along than an NT and an LFA. When your common ground is the aspects of yourself you hate the most, you won't always end up friends.


_________________
Everything would be better if you were in charge.


CockneyRebel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Posts: 103,280
Location: Hanging out with my fellow Sweet Peas at Stalag 13

21 Feb 2012, 2:38 pm

I think that what you're doing is great and the LFAs probably appreciate it a lot. I like to talk to anybody whether they're HFA, LFA or NT. There should be more people like you in the world.
Image


_________________
Schultz

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=26&start=645


AdmiralCrunch
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 227
Location: CT, USA

21 Feb 2012, 3:40 pm

Rascal77s wrote:
1st of all I want to say what you're doing is really great. I'm thinking if you talk to some of the HFA people and explain what you are trying to do you will get more support. It is generally easier for ASD people to perform a goal oriented task than a socially oriented one. You need to shift their frame of reference to goal oriented.

I've been attempting a direct approach, but I think that many of the other HFAs just don't have the desire to spend a lot of time with the LFAs. If you find a conversation or friendship tiring, when push comes to shove, you're going to find a way to avoid it.

Now, the goal-oriented idea sounds like a way around this. I assumed that the HFAs would want to spend time as an end in itself. But, I'll make it so the HFAs will take turns talking to the LFAs and make a game out of it. I could convince the HFAs that, say, every 3 months they have to have a 10 minute conversation with at least 1 LFA and let me know how it went and I'll give them, I dunno, 100 points for the effort. I'll try this at the next meeting. (Thanks for the idea.)


_________________
Dum vita est, spes est.


AdmiralCrunch
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 227
Location: CT, USA

21 Feb 2012, 3:44 pm

unduki wrote:
What is the goal of your meetings? If it's just to socialize and network, you might begin a meeting with a mixer-type game. The most successful events I've ever taken part in, from Sunday School to business meetings, all started with some kind of interaction activity. It breaks the ice and gets people talking about things they wouldn't have talked about otherwise.

I've been running them as support groups. That way, it's easy to get recommendations to join up and to ensure that everyone gets something to say. (I have lots of trouble with a few people dominating the conversations unless I have a setup like this.)

I've been trying to get social meeting groups going, but it's very difficult to get aspies organized for these. I wish I knew why. :(

So, I'm in a fix since theme-nights, etc. don't work well in support groups.

Quote:
Where do you find all the energy?

The power of obsession compels me! :)

(If you're going to be autistic, you might as well have some fun with it...)


_________________
Dum vita est, spes est.


AdmiralCrunch
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 227
Location: CT, USA

21 Feb 2012, 3:48 pm

MindWithoutWalls wrote:
I'm curious what would happen if everybody went with a laptop and sat in the same room, typing with each other. If everybody had a tag on their laptop to identify themselves, people would know who was talking when each comment was made.

Many of the aspies that I'm working with don't have computers or find them too frustrating to use. We're not all techno-nerds, after all.

Your idea would be, for lack of a better description, an autistic Starbucks where everybody is on their computers and nobody looks at each other. I guess I was kinda hoping for a place where everybody had fun, like a game night or something, but again, not everyone of the attendees is comfortable on computers. (I'll think about this, though.)


_________________
Dum vita est, spes est.


AdmiralCrunch
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 227
Location: CT, USA

21 Feb 2012, 3:55 pm

sacrip wrote:
I'll be honest here: I don't really like talking to low functioning autistics. Obviously, I sympathize with their situation and can see myself in them at times, but I just don't find it enjoyable to spend time with them. Frankly, AdmiralCrunch, I think you're going to find this a common situation, and I suspect it's even harder to make an HFA and an LFA get along than an NT and an LFA.

Yes. Thank you for being honest. I'm approaching this conclusion as well. It's just an unfortunate situation where no one is at fault but not much more can be achieved. (A non-Nash equilibrium.)

Do you think a situation like this could be fixed some way by the leaders, or could this only be resolved by separating the groups into high-only and low-only?

Quote:
When your common ground is the aspects of yourself you hate the most, you won't always end up friends.

Yeah.. that's probably the most depressing way to phrase it. :cry:

Que sirrah.


_________________
Dum vita est, spes est.


AdmiralCrunch
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 227
Location: CT, USA

21 Feb 2012, 4:05 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I think that what you're doing is great and the LFAs probably appreciate it a lot. I like to talk to anybody whether they're HFA, LFA or NT. There should be more people like you in the world.

I'm pretty sure the LFAs like talking with me since I notice that they follow me around wherever I go. Honestly, I never anticipated this and was hoping that they would be able to intermingle with the other HFAs more.

I don't know why, but I find myself so at ease when I'm with the LFAs, and I think they pick up on that. Add to the fact that they get treated so horribly by everyone that I'm likely the only person in the world that treats them like adults and cares about what they have to say. I want to hang out with them more often, but I feel that I need some way of justifying the fact that we're hanging out together.

I feel odd saying that I want to be friends with the LFAs. Am I wrong in thinking this?


_________________
Dum vita est, spes est.


Callista
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 Feb 2006
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 11,395
Location: Ohio, USA

21 Feb 2012, 5:15 pm

I've not noticed such segregation... at least, not with the social awareness I'm capable of, which admittedly isn't much. I know that the people who aren't good at conversations can get excluded because they can't start one on their own.


_________________
Reports from a Resident Alien:
http://chaoticidealism.livejournal.com

Autism Memorial:
http://autism-memorial.livejournal.com


Apple_in_my_Eye
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 May 2008
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,526
Location: in my brain

22 Feb 2012, 2:05 am

There's a user here -- Dox47, I think is his handle -- who has talked about setting up meetings/gatherings in his town. He said something about starting out as a support group but then changing to a different format that was more enjoyable for people. Anyway, maybe you could message him; it sounds like he's been at it for a while.



unduki
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Age: 60
Gender: Female
Posts: 660

22 Feb 2012, 11:27 am

How do you differentiate between high and low functioning? There is no test. The label is subjective.


_________________
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.


AdmiralCrunch
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 227
Location: CT, USA

22 Feb 2012, 12:23 pm

unduki wrote:
How do you differentiate between high and low functioning? There is no test. The label is subjective.

It is entirely subjective. The definition I use is flexibility of topical discussion. If someone can talk about an interest that another person has, they are likely HFA. Of course, that's entirely arbitrary but it works for the situation that I'm trying to create, which are social discussion groups.


_________________
Dum vita est, spes est.