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Melancholia. Offline
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Communication with those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome? - January 26th 2014, 12:17 AM

DISCLAIMER: I am not intending to be offensive by posting this. I am just trying to learn more about these disorders and how to effectively communicate with those who have them because my knowledge base on Autism and Asperger Syndrome are very limited, and I can only go by what I've heard. If anyone has any questions or concerns about how I word anything or what I want to know, don't hesitate to send me a Private Message.

So, there are a LOT of people in the freshmen class with some form of Autism or Asperger Syndrome. In fact, 6 or 7 out of 19 of the freshmen in my computer class have one of these. I was told by one of the computer teachers that it is likely they took our shop because they are good at technology and technology is something they can control, whereas they would have a hard time communicating with people and socializing. I heard that one guy in that class has an IQ of 160, I was like damn.

Because of them being in my computer class, I will see a lot of them very often. I don't know how often, if at all, I will actually be interacting with them since I am a senior and they are freshmen, but they're in the class at the same time I am, just with a different teacher. Because I'll be nearby a lot, I want to just learn a bit more about Autism and Asperger Syndrome in case opportunities do arise to communicate with them. Please feel free to tell me anything you think I should know. My teacher told me that my school psychologist is probably going to come in and give us a lesson on this, but I'd also want to hear things from other people as well.

Since, from what I've heard, they do have a hard time communicating and socializing, is there anything I'd be able to do to make it easier on them if we ever do have to interact? For example, I heard from my teacher they have a difficult time reading body language and a lot of the time they don't understand sarcasm and take it literally, so I'd have to be more specific with my wording, right? Is there anything else I'd be able to say or do to make things easier or more comfortable for them?

This part, again, I do NOT want to be offensive when I say this. I'm asking due to what I've experienced with one girl in particular already, and do want to know what to do if situations like this come up in the future. Basically, there was a girl who did insult one of my classmates by saying something pretty rude, and I noticed that she's very up front about things sometimes. For example, she came early to her therapy session once so I was still meeting with the therapist, so she saw me there. Later on we sat at the same lunch table since she sat with one of my friends and she was asking me a lot of questions and basically was asking me what type of issues I had and how severe, etc. I was kind of uncomfortable answering all of the questions. I don't want to get upset with her or anything for doing this since I know that she may have a difficult time actually socializing, but is there any way to handle it if someone (whether it be her or someone else) says something that would normally make a person uncomfortable or upset? I mean, I know to definitely stay patient, but I don't want to risk saying something that seems rude back.

I'm sure that for the most part, I should treat them as I would anyone else right? But if there's anything that would make it easier on them, I'd be okay with knowing.

Again, I'm really sorry if this sounds stupid or offensive, I promise that wasn't my intention. :/ Please feel free to talk to me about it if you think anything shouldn't have been said or should have been worded differently.


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Re: Communication with those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome? - January 26th 2014, 12:34 AM

Hey, Dez!

You don't sound offensive at all, I think it's great that you're asking this.

My twin brother has Autism, and I have Asperger's. He isn't very verbal, but I am.

People with autism tend to be very good at one particular thing. This is because processes and concepts are off in some areas, making things stronger in others. My brother is very good with foreign languages. So, chances are, that they are also very interested in technology.

There have been recent studies (I'll come back and post the link) where people with autism hear differently. Voices can sound like a fuzzy radio station. People can also have hearing delays, meaning that they see you talking but your lips aren't in sync with what they can hear you saying. Therefore, a lot of people with Autism or Asperger's do well with written information or instructions. Because of this, if you notice one of the students struggling or lost with the material and you are able to help, try to do so. A lot suffer with OCD, or, as you said, social anxiety.

I've volunteered with a lot of children with autism, and I noticed that engaging in conversations about themselves and what they like seems to make them happy! If you ask them what they like, they'll go into depth with all sorts of interesting information.

That one student who asked you questions that made you feel uncomfortable most likely doesn't understand about what and what not to ask. As you said, staying patient is a good idea. You could make your answers vague and to the point if you'd like, or possibly ease into the change of subject.

I hope I helped somewhat! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.


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Re: Communication with those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome? - January 26th 2014, 12:42 AM

So basically if I ever were to help out, do you think one thing that would be useful to them is if they were to be working on say, a Word document, is to maybe take screenshots of what steps they should be taking and maybe a step by step instruction of it? Such as maybe 1. Go to file (with a screenshot of where I mean) 2. Click Word Options (screenshot), etc., since that may be easier on them than verbally listening? Fortunately, a lot of the books I used when I was a freshman (I can't speak for what is being taught to them now, since when I was a freshman, the teacher they have wasn't there), guided well, and when I started learning a new concept, most of the time it was shown up on the board first and we would either follow along or do it after it was shown.

Oh, thanks SO much! This was really informative, so thank you for answering.


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Re: Communication with those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome? - January 26th 2014, 12:50 AM

This is the article I mentioned earlier.

That sounds good! Anything visual is useful and helps them just a little bit more. It might be more beneficial for the students to see it, but it does also depend on the individual. I think you could do both, if you wanted to!

I'm glad I could help! And I think it's wonderful that you want to help others, as well.


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Re: Communication with those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome? - January 26th 2014, 05:44 AM

As I see it, being disabled myself, I am blind....
Don't treat them as *special people* like don't dumb things down too far just to try and communicate with them. not trying to single them out but for lack of better word I will use *them*...anyways, just try talking to them...if you meet with that girl or anyone else who asks you questions that your not comfortable answering, don't be scared that your being rude...just simply state: I'm sorry, but I am not really comfortable talking about (insert whatever here) with anyone else. Can we maybe talk about something else?

In the short run it might sound rude to you, but it is true, I know my situation is different but people tend to avoid the words see and look around me....I just simply tell them don't change your wording just for me, I understand what you mean and it makes me feel different when you try hard to avoid certian wording or actions. Just be yourself. I hope that helps....it's late so I might be going in circles....


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Re: Communication with those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome? - January 26th 2014, 06:19 AM

Cassie and Franz1 both gave great advice. Personally, I've only met/spoken to/been friends with people who have Asperger's but not from any of the other spectrums. Honestly, I speak to them like I would to anyone else but also being mindful and sensitive and observant. If they somehow seem uncomfortable, to recognize it and stuff, you know? But kinda like how you would do with anyone. What Cassie suggested seems useful too, but I don't know much about it. Maybe it will help me out with my friend/s

I know someone with both ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome, so it's hard to distinguish which behavior is coming from which one. I've spent nearly everyday of last summer with her (we both worked at the same daycare) I do know that my friend was talking about how she in her math class the teacher does everything for her, and that she wants to try understanding things herself and without the teacher giving away all the answers. So I guess to learn from that, to know when to help and when to step away for a bit and let them figure things out on their own.
   
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