Would You Take a Course to Learn Social Skills?

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Scipio
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29 Oct 2018, 6:12 pm

This is NOT an advertisement and I am NOT plugging anything here.

This is only a question. I just want to get the opinions of some other autistic people on this site.



Background:

I have been studying and practicing social skills intensively for 10 years now and traveling/living around the world to test what works best in what type of environment. you could say that social skills are one of my special interests so they have captivated me ever since I learned at age 16 from an internet forum, which probably no longer exists, that they could be learned and even hacked. I have since that time been obsessed with not only passing for normal but being better than normal by learning social skills to an even higher level than an NT naturally would because most NT people tend to reach a plateau once they have become functional and not think about social skills consciously beyond that.

I absolutely refuse to believe that being autistic means inevitably being a loser or a passive wallflower.

To share what I have learned, I am in the process of creating an online course website to teach social skills to autistic teenagers and adults because I know what it is like to not know where to find helpful information about how to improve my social skills and what it is like to go through the pain and risk of trial and error for years at a time without having a clear goal or role model to compare my successes and failure with. I want to take some of that stress off of others and reduce the learning curve as much as possible so that, instead of years, they could learn something in weeks or months.

I have a few courses under construction but I want to get some input from other autistic people before I throw too much of my time and energy into any one of them. Basically, I want to make sure that I am creating something that other people actually want so I can provide the maximum amount of help to the people who choose to learn from me.



Question:

If you could have a course teaching how to handle one aspect of social life such as

- Eye contact
- Voice tone modulation
- Facial expressions
- Mitigating anxiety
- How to initiate and keep a conversation going indefinitely
- Asking good questions and actually listening
- Small talk
- Disguising ticks and stimming so as not to draw unwanted attention
- Leveraging your autistic traits to become interesting and popular instead of weird and unattractive
- Speaking clearly
- Handling sensory issues
- Identifying toxic individuals, energy vampires, and psychopaths and avoiding them
- Clothing style (this actually matters socially)
- Physical fitness, posture, and basic nutrition (this actually matters socially)
- Initiating contact with the opposite gender
- Making and keeping friends
- Traveling abroad as an autistic person
- etc.

what kind of course would you want?

This is something I am very passionate about but, if I create a course that nobody wants, I'm not really helping anyone so I would like some input.

Thanks everyone and I hope that you are all doing great!



Sincerely,
Scipio



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29 Oct 2018, 6:27 pm

it would be extremely difficult for me to take that course and not feel like a complete piece of garbage for having to take a course to learn skills other people are basically born with, take for granted and don't really think about all that much.



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30 Oct 2018, 4:52 pm

I agree. Though I wouldn't feel like garbage, I would feel like a baby. Most of those classes are extremely babyish and talk down to people.



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30 Oct 2018, 7:30 pm

Scipio wrote:
Would You Take A Course To Learn Social Skills?
Only from an appropriately-trained and licensed practitioner with at least a Master of Science degree in Behavioral Psychology, and not some self-appointed “expert” on the subject.

By the way, the link in your profile goes nowhere, while the link in your sig line goes to an unfinished webpage.

Speaking of which, your sig line is an implied advertisement for your non-existent school.



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30 Oct 2018, 8:03 pm

I think if I was going to take any course related to social skills, it would be a confidence-building course. I know most social skills like how to lie on cue, how to be tactful, how to recognise body language and all of that stuff.


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30 Oct 2018, 8:11 pm

I would not, but out of your options this sounds most interesting;

Leveraging your autistic traits to become interesting and popular instead of weird and unattractive

Because I feel I have figured out some people even find autistic traits desirable, but only with confidence.
If you are uncomfortable with your actions and worrying about it, other people will absorb that and do the same. If you are okay with it and comfortable with it, most people will take note.



Mona Pereth
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31 Oct 2018, 11:59 am

Scipio wrote:
To share what I have learned, I am in the process of creating an online course website to teach social skills to autistic teenagers and adults because I know what it is like to not know where to find helpful information about how to improve my social skills and what it is like to go through the pain and risk of trial and error for years at a time without having a clear goal or role model to compare my successes and failure with. I want to take some of that stress off of others and reduce the learning curve as much as possible so that, instead of years, they could learn something in weeks or months.


By "course website," do you simply mean a website that presents information in an organized way, or do you intend to charge money for webinars, etc? If you intend to charge money, I would suggest that you start by self-publishing a book and have a website that presents (for free) much though not all of the contents of the book. I'd wait with webinars and such until the book gets popular, if it ever does.

If you believe that you have better ideas than the psychotherapeutic and educational establishments on how to teach social skills to autistic people, you might also consider giving presentations at autism conferences. Your website could then include videos of your conference presentations. But, of course, it's unlikely that the organizers of autism conferences would be interested until your book and website are already at least somewhat well-known and reputable.

Before you begin, I think you should also determine whether there is anything you plan to teach that isn't already covered in other similar resources such as the book A Field Guide to Earthlings: An autistic/Asperger view of neurotypical behavior and the website Succeed Socially: A free guide to getting past social awkwardness.

Also I suspect you may need to do a bit more digging into the varying reasons why different people may lack particular social abilities. The label "Autism Spectrum Disorder" is a very heterogeneous category encompassing a wide variety of different, sometimes even opposite traits. You should not assume that everyone is capable of acquiring the same set of skills you did.

Anyhow, of the topics you mentioned, the ones I personally would find most interesting are:

- Leveraging your autistic traits to become interesting and popular instead of weird and unattractive
- Identifying toxic individuals, energy vampires, and psychopaths and avoiding them

EDIT: Perhaps, instead of a "course," it might be better just to create a website and/or a book that shares your personal journey, explaining how YOU learned various social skills. Your experiences may or may not be useful to others, depending on the individuals.



Last edited by Mona Pereth on 31 Oct 2018, 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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31 Oct 2018, 12:05 pm

Before this thread goes any further, I think the OP should seek permission from Alex to solicit customers from this website for his "school".



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31 Oct 2018, 12:07 pm

Scipio wrote:
This is NOT an advertisement and I am NOT plugging anything here...
Hmm ... suspiciously similar to every sales pitch used by door-to-door salespeople who always end up trying to sell me something.



Scipio
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31 Oct 2018, 12:14 pm

Fnord wrote:
Scipio wrote:
Would You Take A Course To Learn Social Skills?
Only from an appropriately-trained and licensed practitioner with at least a Master of Science degree in Behavioral Psychology, and not some self-appointed “expert” on the subject.

By the way, the link in your profile goes nowhere, while the link in your sig line goes to an unfinished webpage.

Speaking of which, your sig line is an implied advertisement for your non-existent school.



Why are you such a bully? I've been on this forum for 2 days and you've already tried to trash me half a dozen times. What's your issue?

I know the link and sig line don't go anywhere. I said I'm building it which means it isn't done. Impressed you picked up on that. And I'm not pitching anything because nothing is done. I don't have anything to sell. Was only looking for ideas.



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31 Oct 2018, 12:40 pm

Not interested. I don't think you intend to portray autistic traits as something an autistic person should be ashamed of, etc but to me it's coming across as follows: 'Hey friends, don't you all want to learn NT behavior in order to fit in with the "NT world" and not be considered by NTs to be a weirdo, loser and unattractive ? You're probably considered by most NTs to be all three if you continue to "be yourself".

Let's work on creating a class that NT's could take that would educate them and boost their awareness of neurodiversity.

An example would be eye contact: They could be taught that there is a wide array in the way people communicate with each other. For example, NTs could be taught that if someone can't or won't exhibit the "correct" (totally subjective) amount of eye contact during conversations.......get over it, don't judge them and move on.


- Disguising ticks and stimming so as not to draw unwanted attention. I personally would rather live in a world where people in general thought nothing of someone else stimming in public. I saw a boy around five years of age in the grocery store with his mother last month and he was squealing with delight and arm flapping wildly. It literally brought tears of joy to my eyes.

- Leveraging your autistic traits to become interesting and popular instead of weird and unattractive. Really?
- Speaking clearly Are you a speech therapist? You do know that many people, for a variety of reasons, require long term and high level professional assistance to attempt to correct their speech problems.
- Handling sensory issues. In the case of hearing, are you an audiologist or physician? Are you able to diagnose people that have conditions such as hyperacusis and offer them professional remedies?
- Clothing style (this actually matters socially) I assume you'd be tying this into sensory issues since very often autisic people wear certain kinds of clothing that may not be "fashionable" for very real sensory reasons?

Those are just some things that jump out at me.

Again, I'm assuming it's not your intent, but to me you're coming across like:

'You're acting, behaving incorrectly. Your appearance is wrong. You need to change in many different ways and I want you to help you do that.'

If someone would be offended by my clothing choices, uncomfortable or irritated by any stimming I might do, offended by what they would consider to be an incorrect amount of eye contact when we converse with each other, be insensitive to my sensory issues and consider me to be weird, unattractive or a loser. What makes you think that I'd want to be friends with them??


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31 Oct 2018, 2:50 pm

I think this idea of teaching remedial social skills is just wrong headed. It is also unrealistic. It is just a further way of reinforcing this idea that some people have an innate defect.

In one such video they roll play asking a girl out on a date, from the doctor's waiting room. This is unrealistic because it is being applied to high school, adolescent peer culture. Well adolescent peer culture is the primitive society, it is brutal. If you are not actually part of the tribe, then you have zero chance.

So rather than remedial skills, what people need to find and learn are ways around the tribe, learn that not everyone in the adult world supports the tribe.


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02 Nov 2018, 2:46 am

Richard_the_ Dogged wrote:
I think this idea of teaching remedial social skills is just wrong headed. It is also unrealistic. It is just a further way of reinforcing this idea that some people have an innate defect.

In one such video they roll play asking a girl out on a date, from the doctor's waiting room. This is unrealistic because it is being applied to high school, adolescent peer culture. Well adolescent peer culture is the primitive society, it is brutal. If you are not actually part of the tribe, then you have zero chance.

So rather than remedial skills, what people need to find and learn are ways around the tribe, learn that not everyone in the adult world supports the tribe.


What do you suggest? I think survivability is a big part of trying to adapt to the NT world.

Another problem with these CBT courses, I feel, is that the instructors don't really know what Asperger's/Autism is, don't understand how non-NTs see the world, and assume a one-size-fits all approach will work, assuming the students simply didn't get "fitted" correctly the first time around when everyone else naturally learned these skills. It may not be that simple and may not have the intended results, and even the professionally-licensed instructors may not comprehend this.



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02 Nov 2018, 3:00 am

Yes absolutely. It's one of the main reasons I went for the diagnosis, so I can get help to learn to get by better. I'm quite lonely, having better social skills would help me be less lonely


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quite an extreme
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02 Nov 2018, 3:14 am

I think I would at least regarding the parts of my own weaknesses.
But I wouldn't accept all people for teaching it - because all this stuff is a quite private thing and I would have to trust the people who teach it at a really high level. Many selfcalled gurus of such stuff are rather shitheads with a behavior that makes me reject them instantly. Who accepts to learn social skills from peoples that he doesn't like at all? :|


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