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Joined: 9 Jan 2005
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,174
Location: Wisconsin

03 May 2009, 8:15 pm

How come there seems to be less understanding and acceptance of a lack of social skills than other skills?

If someone can't fix their computer, they'll often just throw up their hands and ask me. It's not expected of them to know how to fix it... in fact it seems like a source of identity to some people. It seems like it's almost demanded of me to help some people, because it's what I do.

But if I have difficulty talking on the phone and going through the myriad of social situations every day, I can't ask for help. I can't just throw up my hands and say "I'm not good at working with people and communicating." No, it's expected of me to do all of this. Even though it's completely outside my realm of understanding... just like computers are of others.

There seems to be a double standard of abilities here. Certain skills, despite not being possessed by everyone, are expected of everyone. And other skills can be shrugged off as acceptable, and those who have those skills are expected to help those who don't.

Wonder what it feels like to be in love?
How would you describe it, like a push or shove?
Guess I could pretend that this is all I need
Wanting more than what I have might appear as greed.

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

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Joined: 24 Apr 2009
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 147
Location: Vancouver, Canada

03 May 2009, 11:44 pm

I suppose it's a lack of knowledge that produced a different type of treatment towards someone with asperger's. Most NTs do not have the experience or reference regarding the difficulties faced by aspies during social situations.

Everyone has encountered a computer iliterate, and that experience is a reference for subsequent encounters. Everyone thus understands and generally accepts a computer iliterate.

Aspies have not been in the spotlight for long. People just don't understand and thus are not able to tolerate.


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Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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Posts: 532
Location: Woodbridge, VA

04 May 2009, 1:13 am

Oh, no, I don't know why my predecessor at one job threw a hard drive through the freaking wall in the server room (no joke; I have pictures). I imagine he snapped about like I nearly did. They drove me near meltdown on a few occasions. On one occasion it got so bad I was pacing obsessively in the main office, and on a few occasions I just locked myself in the server room, had my private rant, and sat down to just relax and calm down. But ultimately I was the only one capable of sorting out their piece of crap network and making it stable. At least the people who bought the place out and replaced my company for IT support told me "Good job" when they saw the network layout. It wasn't may fault the job ended, but at least I got the satisfaction of knowing the people who replaced me thought highly of what I'd accomplished.

Phones are something I can handle sparingly, but they irritate and frustrate me. I'll use them only as a last resort. I always told people to email me unless the email was down or they couldn't get into their account.

Heart of the guardian, way of the warden, path of the exile.


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Joined: 30 Sep 2008
Age: 47
Gender: Female
Posts: 304

04 May 2009, 10:13 am

yes, it really is a double standard- thats why the most common thing you hear about a.s is social skills, eye contact, etc, (when for most a.s people, those are the LEAST troubling facets).

its a really basic, but dominant part of human interaction. fixing computers is a 'higher' skill.

good communication is a basic expectation- its not only good manners and respectful to look someone in the eye, and have some capability for small talk- its also (mis)taken as a very basic guage of a person's inteligence.

anyway, i totally agree with you, as i also have times when i cant communicate, and words come out wrong, sentences are mangeled etc.
but i know i'd probably make the same assumptions that someone was rude/ dim/ drunk if they avoided eye contact or couldnt speak properly- its just the law of averages. my instant reaction - because i am impatient,a nd find socializing hard anyway, would be that the person was dim/drunk/rude.
id be patient as anything if they explained they had a problem, but then- there is the irony- poor communication.... and also, its private; and impractical to be telling every checkout girl/bus conductor etc your life.


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Joined: 27 Mar 2009
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04 May 2009, 10:28 am

STORY OF MY LIFE!! !! !! !!
That is because I am so smart, especially at things that "normal" people would have difficulties in, especially when it is something that other find very helpful and/or useful. From experience, the way "normal" people in my life think, which is that I am so smart, I can learn and/or do anything. At the same time they find it very puzzling because even though I am very smart at things that they would find very difficult, at the same time I have a difficult time understanding the "simplest" thing in life, which to them is socialization, understanding other people's needs and all of the things a person with Asperger's has difficulties in. Unfortunately for me, because I have this "label' and I also aim to please, they think that by being strict and/or forceful by using my "fear" of getting in trouble(from the perfectionism) against me, that I would "get over it" and I could do these things.
But in reality, it is not possible. Also people are not very educated about Asperger's, including the Autism program I am in, and they assume that because I do not have any of the cognitive, behavior and/or language problems than the autistic, I am able to learn these things. But unfortunately being in an agency and having a "label", even though they are very wrong about the whole Aspergers thing, they have this "we are right you are wrong" mentality, which clashes, so I am always at a stand still with them. This in return become a massive failure and I end up "shut down" and withdrawn.
So I know what it is like to have that exact same problem, and it is not any of our faults, but it is the faults of the other people around us who do not understand. I try to explain, but because I have a "label", they think they know more, even though ironically the tell me I am smarter than them and expect these issues to be fixed. I say "if it was broke in the first place, especially when there is no know cause, then do not expect it to be fixed". As with Asperger's, since there is not known cause, and without a cause, how can one "cure" and/or treat it when we do not even know where to start. This is how I see it and other as well.


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Joined: 15 Sep 2006
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04 May 2009, 11:14 am

No, I don't think it's quite like that.

People certainly do not show more understanding intellectual impairments better.

Many people - even those who are really sweet and fair with intellectual impaired people - consider LDs, MRs and such as 'deficient', 'dumb' and the people who have those as 'that kind of disabled'.

That's not 'more understanding' but just a different kind of ignorance and bias.

True understanding's a completely different thing.

It's not having a ridiculous, untrue idea, thinking it's correctly presents reality and thus feeling comfortable with it and being able to accept it because it fits into a neat box that was shoved in your mind during your upbringing.

Baby talk, talking of 'morons' and 'imbeciles', thinking those with intellectual impairments are 'dumb', all the same and not knowing what causes someone to fail at an intellectual test and everyday life is not understanding.

It is however true that people are usually more ready to accept the presence of intellectual impairments in others.

That social skills are skills that aren't just 'there' is a concept that's much newer to common people than the concept that 'intelligence' can exist on various levels.

They're not used to it, this has not been part of their cultural upbringing and thus they do not even have a 'false idea' about this as they have about MR and others.

Autism + ADHD
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. Terry Pratchett