Meeting social expectations versus social skills.

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Mona Pereth

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 61
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,717
Location: New York City (Queens)

19 Oct 2018, 8:23 am

Stoek wrote:
Real simple I'm sick of all this NT crap about developing social skills.

So much of it is mimmicking nt's to the point that we don't appear different.

Making eye contact, isn't a social skill, it's a social expectation.

Being socially considerate is a social skill, like being able to predict what makes others happy.

There's such different things.

I fully agree. Social SKILLS should be a separate category from conformity to social expectations.

Another person in this thread wrote:

InThisTogether wrote:
Are you saying that aspies and auties should not be expected to comply with any social rules, expectations, or conventions? I have a hard time envisioning how life would work if that was true. The "rules" provide general parameters for everyone. Granted, some of the rules may be too complex to be readily learned by people on the spectrum, but I don't think recognizing that means that people on the spectrum should just summarily dispense with trying to meet any social expectations. Is that what you are suggesting? Are you saying learning social skills is useful, but simply adhering to social expectations is not? Or are you just frustrated?

At least SOME social expectations are necessary. However:

In the long run it should be possible for the autistic community to raise public awareness about specific social expectations that tend to be especially difficult for many autistic and autistic-like people, such as eye contact rhythms.

Social conventions regarding eye contact differ radically from one culture to another. Even within the modern West, the importance of eye contact varies somewhat by locale. (According to my boyfriend who has lived in different parts of the USA, eye contact is much more important in California than in NYC.)

On such culture-dependent matters, social change ***IS*** possible if enough of us work on it together long enough.

When I say that social change is possible, I speak from experience. I've been intermittently involved in the LGBT rights movement (I'm bisexual) since the late 1970's (when it was known as just the gay rights movement). That movement has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I always expected SOME progress, or I wouldn't have bothered, but, back in the 1970's and 1980's, I never dared to imagine that gay marriage would one day be legal within my life time.

This year my main "special interest" has been studying the autism community. I notice that the autistic rights movement HAS succeeded in persuading at least some parts of the psych and educational establishments that it's NOT a good idea to try to totally stop autistic kids from stimming.

On the other hand, as far as I can tell, teaching eye contact is still a top priority for ABA therapists, and no one in the autism research establishment seems to be even remotely considering the idea that teaching modern Western eye contact rhythms might conceivably have any bad side effects whatsoever on at least some autistic kids, such as diminished capacity to concentrate on the content of a conversation.

Social conventions regarding eye contact are an issue of great importance to me personally. Whether or not I am officially diagnosed as "autistic," I certainly do have the autistic-like trait of having extreme difficulty with eye contact. In my case, I can make brief eye contact at the beginning of a conversation, but, once I get into the conversation, my mind almost completely disengages from any and all visual stimuli, so I have no idea what my eyes may or may not be looking at. Any attempt to regulate what my eyes are looking at makes it extremely difficult to focus on the content of the conversation itself.

- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.