Tag Archives: Classmates

Question?: Treatment For Autism Medication

Michael asks…

What is the future of a person with high functioning autism and schizophrenia? What treatments could help?

An adult who has always had autism but is developing schizophrenia.

admin answers:

My brother is autistic and it depends on what problems the autism causes. My brother is different than some of his classmates.
Autism and schizophrenia are related. The doctor who diagnosed the schizophrenia should be very schooled in autism and should be able to advise you of the treatment and therapies.
My guess is that they will alter the medication he is on etc.

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Question?: Asperger Syndrome Quiz

Nancy asks…

What is it like having an autistic / asperger’s syndrome student in your class?

admin answers:

My mother works with autistic kids at an elementary school, and she says the three biggest issues are disruptions, accomodations, and acceptance. An autistic student may inadvertantly do or say things that are socially inappropriate, like taking another person’s toy without asking. The teacher may need to devote more attention to this student, which means less attention to other students. If the student receives accomodations, like having an education assistant in the classroom, this would draw attention to his differences. The other students may be jealous that the autistic student gets extra time on quizzes, or leaves the classroom sometimes to go to his social skills group, or whatever the case may be. And of course, some of the other students will not accept their autistic classmate as part of the class unit. They might exclude, tease, or bully him. Having an autistic kid in the class can be a very good thing, though. It exposes the students to different types of people, and teaches them about diversity, patience, and tolerance.

Each autistic person is different, though. The student’s personality and level of functioning affect what he or she is like in the classroom. I have Asperger’s, and I was always very well-behaved in class and polite to my classmates. My Asperger’s had little to no effect on my classmates; most of them probably never guessed I had a disorder. I’ve had classes with other people on the spectrum, though. Some kept to themselves and rarely said anything, some were disruptive and constantly in trouble, and some seemed a bit odd but mostly got along fine.

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Question?: Treatment For Autism Spectrum Disorder In Children

Charles asks…

what kind of therapy is used to treat ocd?

what do they do in cognitive therapy to treat ocd?
i am asking because my son has autism spectrum disorder and sometimes he gets obsessed with his routines and I was told to break up things for him and I wanted to learn more about it.

admin answers:

There are several therapies to treat OCD. A person’s level of OCD can be anywhere from mild to severe, but if severe and left untreated, it can destroy a person’s capacity to function at work, at school or even to lead a comfortable existence in the home. There are Medical Treatments, Behavior Therapy and Self-help.

Medical Treatment (which I don’t recommend) that may reduce compulsions, such Prozac, Anafril, Luvox and Zoloft. Again, these are serious drugs and I strongly recommend a natural approach such diet, exercise and supplements/vitamins instead.

Behavioral Therapy: Traditional Psycho therapy or psycho analysis therapy emphasizes understanding unconscious conflicts, motives and defense mechanisms. (e.i. Child abuse, trauma, genetics)
Also, Cognitive Therapy, the goal of this therapy is to change your thinking by following a Systematic desensitization approach to reduce anxieties, fear through counter conditioning. (relaxing techniques, yoga, meditation)

Also see: http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/ocd.html

EDIT: It is normal for a child to have these anxieties. Usually, children with autistic spectrum disorders DO NOT suffer from OCD but it is their anxieties that makes him out of control, I suggest you speak with his pediatrician if you are concern about his OCD. I have an Asperger child and using a Congnitive method helps him. There are times when he does certain rituals but is usually triggered by outside environment or could be that something he ate at school perhaps shared by one of his classmates. My AS child is on a very somewhat strict diet (glutten free, pesticides free, artificial product free etc)
Have you thought about looking into his diet? Your library should have books and other references about Autism and Spectrum disorders.
Another thing that has helped my child calm or soothe his anxieties is swimming, water somehow helps him become less anxious.
Http://theemergencesite.com/Tech/TechIssues-Autism-OCD-Aspergers-ADD.htm
I highly recommend this book: http://books.google.com/books?id=hEWuAI1xZ-kC&dq=sensory+integration+dysfunction&pg=PP1&ots=Up-EeoiHTR&source=citation&sig=-eycf73BjsJNoL6xWspdEvcG9r4&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=DAUS,DAUS:2006-11,DAUS:en&q=sensory+integration+dysfunction&sa=X&oi=print&ct=result&cd=2&cad=bottom-3results#PPP1,M1

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Question?: Autistic Symptoms

Paul asks…

What are the dos and dont’s to do with autistic children?

Where could I find the dos and dont’s to do with autistic children? Where in the internet? Which books?

admin answers:

Well, being an autistic person, I should know. It honestly depends on the type of autism they have. Are they severely Autistic, high-functioning, asperger’s? You need to first do a little bit of research on a child’s particular condition, as well as their history at home. Every autistic is different.

There are a few symptoms that are almost across the board though. One of them is social dysfunction. Interacting with other children is not as easy as is it for “normal’ kids. You must be mindful of this, and not scold them or force them into doing social interaction. Another thing is sensory overload. For example, high-pitched sounds like certain people’s voices send me batty. Strong smells like perfume are also not appreciated by autistics. These are things that the parents should tell you about so you don’t use them in class. One more; autistics will wig out eventually, no matter what. Let them. Don’t be upset or scream at them because it will make things worse. Most also don’t like to be touched (again, sensory). For times like these, prepare a plan. Explain to other classmates that this is normal for him/her and you should be patient and respect them. Also, set up a “haven” for them. This could be anything from a special chair, teddy bear, or even a tent. Anything that will let them get away for a moment and calm down is a good thing.

The most important things are education and patience. No book or movie will help you anticipate the do’s and don’ts- it’s all trial and error. I’ll give you this site, which is a community of autistics and parents/spouses/friends of autistics who can answer any of your questions.

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Focusing On Strengths Improves Social Skills Of Adolescents With Autism

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Article Date: 04 Aug 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Focusing On Strengths Improves Social Skills Of Adolescents With Autism
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The junior high and high school years are emotionally challenging even under the best of circumstances, but for adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), that time can be particularly painful. Lacking the social skills that enable them to interact successfully with their peers, these students are often ostracized and even bullied by their classmates.

However, a new study conducted by researchers at the Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara has found that by playing on their strengths – high intelligence and very specific interests – these adolescents are as capable as anyone else of forging strong friendships. In addition, the research findings demonstrate that the area of the brain that controls such social behavior is not as damaged in adolescents with ASD as was previously believed. The findings appear in a recent issue of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

“The problem is that their restricted interests can dominate their lives and further push away people they’d like to get to know,” said Robert Koegel, director of the Koegel Autism Center and the study’s lead author. He is also a professor of counseling, clinical, and school psychology and of education in UCSB’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. “They’re so highly focused on that interest, people think they’re weird. But by involving themselves in an activity around the interest, they not only make friends but also become valued members of the group. Their specialized skill becomes a strength.”

The research team, which also includes Lynn Koegel, the center’s clinical director, and Sunny Kim, a graduate student in education at UCSB, took a creative approach to helping three boys with ASD to interact with their peers. Rather than discourage their sometimes-obsessive interests, the researchers helped set up social clubs around them and invited students who do not have ASD to join. The clubs provided a venue for the ASD students to display their special interests and abilities, and helped them engage with their peers in a more meaningful way.

Koegel offered the example of a student with ASD who has a keen interest in computer graphics. The team created a graphic design club in which students would design logos for various companies and businesses. Because most of the students lacked the necessary expertise, they depended on their classmate with ASD to make the venture a success. “When he was able to interact on a topic in which he was interested, he was able to demonstrate more normal social behavior,” Koegel said. “He not only made friends with his fellow members, he was elected club president.”

According to Koegel, the findings are also significant because they indicate a higher degree of brain functionality than researchers had previously associated with ASD adolescents. “It has been commonly believed that the part of the brain related to social skills is so damaged that adolescents with ASD are incapable of normal social interaction,” he said. “We demonstrated that not to be the case. Once you can motivate kids to try things, they make dramatic and rapid improvement, which shows the brain is not as damaged as first thought.”

Conducted through the Koegel Center’s Eli & Edythe L. Broad Asperger Center, the study sheds important light on a period of growth and development that is presenting new issues as children who were diagnosed with ASD reach adolescence and young adulthood. “This study is so important because it suggests so much optimism,” Koegel said. “It shows the brain isn’t as damaged as people thought. And it shows that otherwise unhappy individuals can lead more fulfilling lives.”

He added that the research team was pleasantly surprised to see that the students with ASD became highly valued members of their groups, and were given a great deal of dignity and respect. They also noted that, without any instructions or encouragement from any of the researchers, many school peers enthusiastically joined in these club activities and had a great deal of enjoyment throughout and beyond the time frame of the study. “In short, this was a lot of fun for everyone,” Koegel said.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. Other researchers involved with the study include John Danial, a doctoral student at UCLA; and Rosy Fredeen and Derek Rubenstein, doctoral students at UCSB at the time the research was conducted.
University of California – Santa Barbara Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

MLA

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‘Focusing On Strengths Improves Social Skills Of Adolescents With Autism’

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Does Your Child Play Well With Others? Boosting Their Social Success

Waste Stream 10 Detail Children Playing

Does Your Child Play Well With Others? Boosting Their Social Success

Establishing social relationships is one of the earliest milestones children of school age achieve. These interactions begin to build what will be their lifelong socialization habits. Learning how to meet new people, make friends, and get along with others are all critical skills.

Some children, however, are challenged more than others in this important area of life. If you recognize that your child is struggling with making friends and sustaining connections, you can implement strategies to help them succeed socially.

Use these techniques to help your child learn important social skills that will serve them well their entire life:

1. Establish and maintain open communication. Provide plenty of verbal encouragement to help your child build confidence in social interactions.

2. Keep your eyes open. Notice how your child relates to other children in the neighborhood, at school and during extracurricular activities.

* Does he seem excessively shy? Does he stand alone, waiting for others to approach him? Or do classmates make efforts but he doesn’t respond? You can gather information about your child’s social life simply by observing him in the presence of peers.

* When your child performs socially appropriate behavior, mention it later. Say something like, “It was nice of you to offer a cookie to Jim today.” Reinforce any positive actions you observed.

3. Set up a play date at your house. Talk with your child first about inviting a friend to come over to play. For example, you could start the conversation by asking her opinion, like, “Sally, would you like for Patty to come over to play Saturday morning?”

* Sally will most likely say, “Yes.” If she says “no,” inquire about why she doesn’t want Patty to come over.

* Arrange the play date with the other parent(s). To ensure the kids won’t get bored or tired, avoid making the first one too long. Depending on your child’s age, 1-2 hours should be adequate. Have some snacks on hand.

4. Ask your child the day before the play date how she’d like to spend the time. This conversation prompts her to consider activities she’d enjoy. Allow her to choose the activity as long as it’s safe, inside your home or in your yard, and is feasible (consider the weather).

* If your child doesn’t offer an idea, be encouraging and say, “I’m sure the two of you will come up with something fun to do.” Refrain from micro-managing the play date, if possible.

* This conversation plants the idea that when we have friends over, we share time doing something fun that we both enjoy. Also, she learns that being a friend requires some effort. Posing the question is a subtle way to teach her how to be appropriately social.

5. Make your home a fun place for kids. Doing so might boost your child’s social life. Do you have a family room with a television, DVDs, a video game console, books, board games, or other kid-friendly activities?

6. Spend a bit of time helping your child clean her room. After all, don’t we get ready for company in advance? These efforts illustrate for kids how friends behave and how social relationships are conducted.

7. When the play date occurs, leave the children to their own devices. Usually, two kids can figure out how to spend time. Check on them often to ensure they’re relating well. Intervene only when necessary (if play is too rowdy or loud or one or both kids seem bored).

* Your child will begin building confidence about social relationships after just one successful play date.

Preparing your child for social relationships can be fun for all and quite rewarding. These parenting techniques are fairly simple and yield beautiful results. Help your child learn to interact with others in a positive and meaningful way as they start to explore the world outside your home.

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Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism

Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism
Posted on Monday, January 30 @ 09:04:17 EST by WrongPlanet Tips Recently, an article appeared in the New York Times featuring my boyfriend, Jack, and me. It was about how autism affects romantic relationships, though really it was about how our autism affects our relationship. Every relationship is different, and every autistic is different.

One criticism of the article that really resonated with me was about my comment about how learning to dress differently opened me up to more romantic venues. I said, “A lot of it is how you dress. I found people don’t flirt with me if I wear big man pants and a rainbow sweatshirt.” Now, like many autistics, I have trouble communicating my thoughts and intentions when speaking aloud. I am far more eloquent in text, thankfully, but nevertheless, my speech difficulties lead me to say things like this. I want to clear up exactly what I meant, because out of context, this statement can be quite hurtful to many people. After my explanation, I want to address the larger picture behind the controversy: the autism world is currently extremely hetero-normative.

Read on. . .

Now, the quote was part of a larger story. When I was in high school I cut my hair myself. I always kept it short, going so far as to simply cut as close to my scalp as I could with thinning shears. I wore ill-fitting men’s clothing from thrift stores, and I had an obsession with rainbows. I had a rainbow belt that was my grandmother’s in the 60s that I wore every day, I wore rainbow pins on my backpack, and I painted rainbows on my clothes with acrylic paint. I didn’t learn until the end of high school from some classmates that plenty of boys had thought I was cute, but everyone had just assumed I was a lesbian because of how I presented myself. Interesting, isn’t it? Without even realizing it, I was advertising a social niche. I was sending non-verbal signals about my identity to those around me.

Visual images telegraph quite a bit about identity to the community. Would you assume a male college student wearing a football jersey and a backwards baseball cap might be a sports fan, or a “jock”? Why? What would you think of the same boy with dreadlocks and a baggy sweatshirt? How about if that same boy wore a dress?

Many autistics are logical, straightforward thinkers. Is this shirt clean? Am I wearing pants? Ok, ready to go. For most of my life I put little if any thought into how I dressed, or how I wore my hair. I wore pigtails because a favorite cartoon character wore pigtails. My favorite shirt had a wolf on it because I liked wolves, and light-up sneakers sure were neat. As I got older it still never clicked. I wore a lot of teal because it was my favorite color, just like I wore rainbows because rainbows are pretty. I cut my hair short because I was too impatient to grow it out, and whenever I got bored, I would just cut it some more. I never once thought about how clothes could represent identity, beyond wearing a shirt with my favorite anime character on it.

I was a heterosexual girl, with no problems fitting into my assigned gender. Though I don’t consider myself extraordinarily girlie, I feel like a girl on the inside. I liked boys, yet I was communicating myself as off limits through my clothing. When I learned this, I started to make an effort to buy clothes more appropriate for the image I wanted to present. I started wearing skirts and dresses?and rainbow dresses ! And I began to grow out my hair. This in no way means that, if you’re a straight girl, to find love you have to turn into something you’re not. I never faked anything. I still wear clothes that I like. I still wear men’s clothes and rainbows sometimes too, though lately I’m making more of an effort to dress like an “adult,” whatever that means. I’ve found that I really enjoy having long hair. I can play with it and style it, and it’s an all around fun part of my body to have. I didn’t turn into someone I’m not to get male attention, though I’ll admit that I have tried and failed a few times. I simply learned how to speak the language of clothing.

If you’re a heterosexual girl who wants male attention but is so not girlie, then you don’t want to doll yourself up to attract guys who want something you’re not. If you want to wear baggy cargo pants and metal t-shirts and shave your head, go for it. Believe it or not, everyone is different, and sexuality is far from black and white. There are more than a few guys out there who will love your shaved head and non-conformist attitude. Or who will love your grandma sweaters and peasant skirts, or your dreadlocks, or your Mohawk. And guys, the same goes for you. You don’t need to like sports if you really couldn’t care less, and you don’t need to be something you’re not. Because even if you do end up attracting a mate by faking a role, you’ll never be happy with that person. You’ll have to keep on faking.

Now, something I have never once seen mentioned in any mainstream autism media is the fact that–gasp–autistic people can be gay, bi, trans, gender queer, or anything else for that matter. It’s hard enough for someone to whom social signals don’t come naturally to find a mate, let alone someone whose sexuality strays outside what’s considered the norm. How does an autistic teenage boy figure out whether the cute guy in his calculus class is gay or not? What about the autistic labeled by a driver’s license as “female” who doesn’t feel like either a girl or a boy? This stuff is hard even for neurotypicals, and autistics are basically left high and dry when it comes to sexuality in the first place.

As a straight, cis girl with only my own experience to draw from, I am in no way qualified to give advice on any of this. We live in a world where there are only two genders, and those genders are expected to always match up perfectly with biological sex. We live in a world where anything other than procreative intercourse is taboo enough to make most people uncomfortable, and any sexuality outside of heterosexual vaginal penetration is condemned. Why is it that a straight man that likes prostrate stimulation is seen as “gay,” even if it’s his wife he’s having sex with? There are so many problems with the way our culture addresses love and sex that I won’t try to get too far into it in this blog, but I will certainly write more on this in the future.

All I want to say for now is, if you’re reading this?yeah, you!?and you don’t feel like that daytime TV heterosexual, you’re not alone. Just because you don’t only like to have sex with a single someone of the opposite biological sex in missionary position with the man on top doesn’t make you a freak. If you’re a boy who wishes he could hug his friends like girls are allowed to, you’re not alone. If you’re a girl who’s sick of being judged the second you walk into a video game store, you’re not alone. If you’re a trans woman who can’t afford surgery who’s tired of being treated like some sexual pervert, you’re not alone.

We autistics are often classically considered to think in black and white absolutes, but I can’t think of anything more black and white than the modern view of sexuality and gender identity.

See more of Kirsten on Autism Talk TV.
               
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Magneto Monday, January 30 @ 09:35:38 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Hmm. What’s the article called? I agree about the clothing-identity issue, though it does go further than that. Sometimes I wish people were all clones physically, just so we wouldn’t jump to conclusions about someone based on what we see of their body. From my limited perspective, the big guy in the seat in front of me on the train could have wanted to be a princess when s(he)? was younger, while the dolled up young woman could be an exterior shell. There’s no way, short of telepathy or being told – and even then they could be lying – of understanding who they really are. Feck, I want to be pretty and wear dresses, but that’s socially off limits because of an accident of birth. :rolleyes:
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Grisha Monday, January 30 @ 09:48:28 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) This article is spot-on, personally, I tend to dress “metrosexual” which leads some people to assume that I’m gay (I’m not), but if it allows me to feel comfortable and being “myself” then who cares? I don’t have a huge problem attracting women, some women like guys who tend to “dress up”. Changing the way I dress to conform to some stereotype makes my feel like an awkward, fake NT instead of an Aspergian who has accepted his neurological identity.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by IamSonja Monday, January 30 @ 10:54:49 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Awesome article… I totally agree on your point of view!
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by purchase Monday, January 30 @ 11:50:26 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Really good article. The experiences you describe are really relatable for me personally.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Monday, January 30 @ 14:53:51 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I think we’re just at an awkward point in history where everyone’s quite sensitive about the verbal minutia of things and hence walking on egg shells. I guess we’ve gotta just keep in mind that we practice a way of thinking that’s still somewhat new and that as the ‘isms’ get flushed out of society people will likely have thicker skin again.

Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by aliensyndrome Monday, January 30 @ 17:54:57 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I like the article. It’s odd that the pictures for Kirsten’s articles emphasize her beauty, especially considering the content of this article. I am not questioning her integrity, I am merely illuminating something that I found odd.Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by wendigopsychosis Monday, January 30 @ 21:04:00 EST
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by Ai_Ling Tuesday, January 31 @ 03:53:52 EST
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by so_subtly_strange Sunday, February 12 @ 01:29:33 EST
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by TheStranger Tuesday, February 28 @ 06:14:35 EST


Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Brony2011 Monday, January 30 @ 20:46:03 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Another great article! Although most of this is about clothing and appearances. I can relate in an interesting way. While I’m a heterosexual male, starting in my early teens there was a rumor that I was gay or bi that followed me for many years, based solely it seems on assumptions drawn from my appearance and behavior, specifically that I never dated or had relationships, looked and acted more “girly” than the average guy, and appeared to interact with girls and guys the same. It was a strange conclusion for anyone to jump to. Worse, I’ve always been shorter and skinnier than other guys, I hit puberty late, and I didn’t know anything about fashion or what looked “manly” or not, so I was wearing children’s clothes all the way into college. So there were things that caused me to stand out and get “picked on,” but most of it had to do with how things seemed on the outside, not who I was on the inside, and even then, people’s sexual orientation and gender identity are personal and important to them, and not things to be judged or mocked.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by artrat Monday, January 30 @ 21:30:20 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I have criticized your articles in the past and if it offended you then it was not my intention. I have found that it is impossible to get male attention in the American south if you are a non-conformist. I am quite envious of all people with a boyfriend because I have never had one. Your not a bad writer and this article is better than your others.
I got a nasty shock when a psychologist who was supposed to assess me to see if I’m on the spectrum not only didn’t give me any of the tests I’ve since learned are used for such evaluation but also dismissed me in the end as a gay cross-dresser who should change my clothing in order to become more acceptable to other people. It was one of several reasons he apparently had for not being willing to even consider that I might be on the spectrum. It was as though he decided I was just weird and lazy, so there was no point in bothering to take my concerns seriously or really learn anything about me and my life. (I give details in my blog.) Now, I don’t deny that I’m gay or that I shop in the men’s department because I identify as butch. But I wasn’t there complaining that people criticized my clothes. These days, nobody I know does. But he never bothered to find that out. He simply made an assumption and dished up his prejudice instead. I guess I hadn’t expected that kind of thing to happen around where I live anymore. But it seems that type of attitude is still alive and well, at least amongst some professionals.

Thanks for posting this piece, Kristen. Once again, you’ve written something meaningful, insightful, and progressive.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by cathylynn Tuesday, January 31 @ 08:01:09 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) that gland you mentioned is the prostate. prostrate is a position you assume when in awe or extremely fatigued. i’m impressed with your knowledge of sexual preference terminolgy. in the social services agency where i work, we have a fairly (not universal) welcoming culture. welcoming is the official stance. in fact, a transgendered individual is on an important committee. times are not horrible here for LGBTQI folks. hopefully, things are improving everywhere.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by jamieevren1210 Tuesday, January 31 @ 08:55:13 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Love love love this article kirsten! Totally agree with your point of view!!:))
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by jojobean Tuesday, January 31 @ 10:13:41 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I am a bi-romantic asexual…which gets confusing for some people. I thought your article was very respectful to LGBTA folks on the spectrum. However I have found there are more of us than some folks realize. Your right in that autism makes navigating the non-hetro waters very frightful indeed. As far as gender identity, it is common for aspie girls to feel like both sexes or neither, myself included. In one site that is listed as a girl aspie trait. That was always my biggest secret…and then I find it is a girlie AS trait. ….And rainbows are cool, regardless what they mean. I never understood “symbolic” clothing. I just wear what is comfortable which is mostly cotton as synthetics irritate my skin. Anyway great post…and best wishes to you and Jack. Jojo Jojo
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by TheWingman Tuesday, January 31 @ 17:22:40 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) i could not explain what it is but my instinct always told me that there is something very wrong with homosexuality.Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by Hittheroadjack Thursday, February 02 @ 19:38:02 EST
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by spookiewon Friday, March 02 @ 15:01:51 EST
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by dcs002 Sunday, March 04 @ 22:26:29 EST
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism by Jedipinkkid1138 Tuesday, March 27 @ 10:22:12 EDT

Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by PennySue Tuesday, January 31 @ 18:04:16 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Wow! What a well-said, easily understood explanation of the situation! You have a real gift in writing on these subjects – you make no condemnation, just offer clear exposition. Nicely done. By the way, that’s me all the way – is this shirt clean? Do I have pants that fit? Good enough for me! I wore a lot of fuschia and turquoise when I was a teen and in college, but also wore Salvation Army clothes. Then again, I was alway overweight, so I didn’t figure clothes would help any way.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Agemaki Tuesday, January 31 @ 22:21:23 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I always find it interesting (or surprising) when I hear how other people see me as I’m generally clueless about it. I wore a lot of dresses and miniskirts in high school, oftentimes with high heels, and I liked to wear ribbons in my long hair. I was once told that boys found me cute but were also intimidated by me. I think there is more to presentation than dress and physical appearance alone (I looked plenty feminine at least). Having talked to a few other friends in recent years I think I might have gained more of an understanding of what is going on in terms of the messages I am unconsciously sending. Apparently if you are a cute female who is also highly decisive and a good student then you will appear rather intimidating to many potential male romantic partners. I think the main issue I’ve had is that I’m not willing to play the flirting game that involves assuming a submissive feminine role in order to flatter potential male love interests. However, I entirely agree with Kirsten’s statement that you can find people who appreciate you for who you are. I’ve managed to find boyfriends who aren’t intimidated by me and who–being rather shy themselves–appreciate my forwardness and lack of game-playing.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Comp_Geek_573 Wednesday, February 01 @ 22:09:36 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Excellent article! People need to be reminded that people can have more than one difficulty with social adjustment. There are people who are autistic and gay, or even autistic, gay and transgendered!
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Freak-Z Thursday, February 02 @ 12:41:48 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) “never faked anything. I still wear clothes that I like. I still wear men’s clothes and rainbows sometimes too, though lately I’m making more of an effort to dress like an “adult,” whatever that means. I’ve found that I really enjoy having long hair. I can play with it and style it, and it’s an all around fun part of my body to have. I didn’t turn into someone I’m not to get male attention, though I’ll admit that I have tried and failed a few times” Who are you trying to convince here? “I simply learned how to speak the language of clothing” And whats that exactly? sounds more like the language of conformity.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by goundreykruse Thursday, February 02 @ 15:11:23 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Good for you, Kirsten! I didn’t know I was autistic as a young person, I wish I had because I maybe would have felt more okay about my own fashion/clothing choices and sexual identity. Although I am physically female and a mother, inside myself I feel ‘non-gender specific.’ So I too have been mistaken for a lesbian and also had times in my life when I wanted to be fluffy girly (not so many of those tho…) Now I know that I am autistic, I feel free to be myself (thanks in part to people like you folks here). I dress A)for comfort – NO polyester or pokey/tight stuff, and B) because I like the garment. Perhaps it is the autistics of this world who can truly be free. Let’s stop trying to fit ourselves into ‘social norms’ because often those norms make folk unhappy. Let us be authentic, free people and the neuros can follow our example for a change! 🙂

Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by perpetualconfusion Thursday, February 02 @ 21:06:58 EST
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) Kirsten, Good job on this article! I think you outlined it well and stated your opinions in a frank, matter-of-fact style. As to your original article about Autism and relationships (appearing in the NY Times), I had no trouble understanding your intent and took no offense to it whatsoever. In fact, that article is what led me to WP in the first place! Again, Kudos to you and I am looking forward to reading your next article 🙂 .
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by aussiebloke Thursday, February 02 @ 21:28:25 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Are you wearing Mr Planks glasses?
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Scatmaster Friday, February 03 @ 01:16:21 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I agree completely that sexual identity of aspies can be confused by people looking from the outside in, based solely on appearances. I grew up in a poor family and didn’t pay much attention to appearances, so I ended up looking like a tom boy. But my sexual identity has been clearly heterosexual since the start, since I knew that I only had crushes on guys. Given how I was more interested in intellectual pursuit than that of the opposite sex, I can see why people would have called me lesbian throughout my growing years. Even my own current boyfriend didn’t realize at first that I was into guys, which deeply confused me and I had to seek professional help to realize that my feelings rang true. Unfortunately, having people tell me who they think I am made me really confused, since I figured that if that’s the way people saw me, maybe there was some truth to it. This made me much more unsure of myself than I should have been while going through puberty, and even made me a bit homophobic for that time, since I would do anything to not be perceived that way. Sad how people jump to conclusions because of the way you dress… Though I guess that’s a bit of an aspies thing to say…
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Xyzzy Friday, February 03 @ 15:20:14 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Great article. I can’t say that I’ve ever taken the time to think about it much, but a lot of what you wrote about was very familiar to me. I’m not a slob, but I’m certainly no fashion plate. I completely relate to your comment about a clean shirt and the presence of pants. That pretty much sums it up for me too. With that said, I have the opposite problem to yours. Something about my body language seems to convey that I’m available to everyone. I don’t dress out of the ordinary, I’m shy and somewhat non-social (not “anti”-social) and I’m as thick as a brick when it comes to recognizing flirting. My wife laughs about it and is convinced that even if a woman got naked in my office I’d probably just assume that the thermostat was up too high and she was just trying to cool off. I’ve been hit on by a lot of gay guys who assume that I’m gay and I’ve also had strange women just plant themselves on my lap in a club or bar and start really aggressively flirting with me. Usually I’m too dense to take the hint and it’s not until they get frustrated and get very blunt or I have someone else explain it to me after the fact. It’s not that I’m asexual or wouldn’t be interested, I’m just never really “in the context” until something clicks and puts me there. As a result, women would generally perceive me either as “safe” or a challenge. I don’t really get the gay guy thing, but it may be that I don’t repel the inital testing and flirting because I don’t recognize it. Of course it may all be pheremones or they just instinctively recognize our vastly superior minds 🙂 As an FYI, I probably would have been attracted to you in high school. I always found the outliers much more interesting and they’re usually much easier to relate to. I’ve never really been into the “girlie girl” thing. Give me a dorky geek librarian in a sweatshirt and jeans over a frilly overdone prom queen any day. I wonder if a similar dynamic exists with gay autistics?
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Dunzel Friday, February 03 @ 21:50:32 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Excellent article. However I think that the issue goes beyond sexual expression. NTs, by culture and by physiology, rely on certain cues and feedback mechanisms in how they engage and relate to the world and each other. Cues can take various forms I have found. And NTs not only expect certain gender cues in dress and appearance, NT sub-cultures also expect certain variations of these as well. I was into industrial music for many years, yet people wouldn’t consider me unless I had a “look” so I complied. In my corporate world, I must dress the part as well to stay employed and to be granted the opportunity to communicate my ideas. Again, I comply since that is the uniform required to play the game. Long story short, its an NT world, with their rules, and they outnumber us 99.7% to 0.3%. The best we can do is adapt just enough to live our lives comfortably. After that, keep private life private and who cares what they think. Just my two cents.
This is a great article. I’m an autistic cis gay man (or read in “homoromantic demisexual” in the pace of “gay” if you prefer). I’m fortunate enough in that while I certainly don’t fit every male stereotype (not least the one about being attracted to women), I fit pretty well into the gender binary, enough that people probably assume I’m straight. But thank you for giving this the attention it deserves.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Nereid Friday, February 17 @ 03:04:08 EST
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) I can relate to your article and to many of the attire-confused aspergians who replied. Even now being aware of how your outer shell affects others perceptions of who you are, I still get “resentful” about societal pressure to present yourself a certain way. Like some other posters, I went through a phase when I was younger of wearing baggy jeans and t shirts and once had a neighbor boy shout at me that I was a “lesbian”, and “walked like a man”. I dont like that I have to hide my face under makeup and dress like the rest of society’s sheep in order for people just to not make them resent me. I dont like that in a country where we grow up being told to “be yourself”, we are constantly condemned to following other’s fashions, ideas, and behaviors. I have enough issues being a hetero and not being able to correctly read signals, so I feel sorry for people with specific non hetero interests trying to find a significant other. And to the commenter who mentioned going thru a fuschia/teal phase….. I literally wear that ensemble multiple times a week! I am always drawn to bright shades over dull, dark ones and thus have a rainbow in my closet. Even though I dress colorful, I am still told I dress “frumpy”.

Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by iddles Thursday, February 09 @ 04:23:08 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Gay autobots in the UK and especially London might want to check out thingbox [thingbox.com”]. It’s just a generic gay chat forum but for some reason it seems to attract weirdos of all neurotypes and has a sizable AS clique. Autistic spectrum gay men I know seem to use beards as an indicator of the sexuality. I’d speculate that a higher than average proportion of bears (hairy/bearded gay men) are AS. Most of the straight aspies and autobots I’ve known have been gay-friendly; perhaps because of the shared experience of being an oppressed minority, or perhaps the more logical autistic outlook precludes a subscription to nonsensical homophobic views.
cheap adidas soccer shoes (Score: 1)
by adidasf50 Thursday, February 09 @ 23:00:33 EST
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by N0tYetDeadFred Friday, February 10 @ 15:44:05 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m loving these glasses (maybe that’s a bit of ADD kicking in, though.) I loved the article and wish you the best!
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by emtatiana Sunday, February 12 @ 16:03:04 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m lesbian and aspergers – I too dressed all wrong (and often still do) when young. I sent out completely the wrong messages – wearing flowery dresses (they were comfy) and shaved hair. I was lucky enough to know I was lesbian because I experimented lots and knew what felt ‘right’ and what wasn’t (for me). I was recently at a conference where a sepaker mentioned that a lot of autistic women don’t conform to hetero-gender stereotypes and indeed some were lesbian. The lady next to me immediately told me she wasn’t lesbian even though she was autistic. I replied – well I am, lesbian. Clearly I was wearing my ‘hetero-gender appropriate clothes’…. It is all so complicated. I will only wear clothes that are comfy and not too bright coloured and I have smart clothes for work and conference and the rest I can wear in the house. My lovely partner guides me if it is socially important to be dressed ‘properly’ but loves me no matter what 🙂
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by rondeau Wednesday, February 15 @ 12:18:02 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Nice piece. Really, I think there is too much on our plate as is. Quite frankly, I never got the memo as it were?LOL. Folks when I was younger gave me too many labels to be sure. Can?t tell you how many times I?ve been accused of being gay, and had to pay the price for that label. Yet, I don?t believe I dressed or acted in a manner that would suggest any such thing. Perhaps as I was developing, I chose the wrong colors or spoke on the wrong subjects. Quite frankly, looking back, it should have been great that I was speaking at all?LOL. Such as it is, I just took it all as being very different from those around me. I would say I was different not like someone from another country, but like someone from a different planet. Maybe that was a bit much input?LOL. Later in life it was sooo cool to find wrongplanet. Maybe there is something to that birds of a feather notion?LOL.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by The_Face_of_Boo Friday, February 17 @ 09:52:35 EST
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by 2ukenkerl Saturday, February 18 @ 22:35:04 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Nice article. and some good points, MY GOD though, are males that are straight that are comfortable with their sexuality now to be called CIS males? If people like homosexuals want to be better accepted, maybe they can start with not coopting the language and forcing EVERYONE ELSE to change. I once referred to “my partner” which I had done off and on for a while, and someone said “Are you homosexual?”. I had to explain that I meant partner in the same way that I understood it for like 40 years. A BUSINESS partner. Whenever I spoke of him, it was about business and technological views, but an excoworker used the term to hide the fact that he was homosexual. And the time when females were expected to dress a certain way, at least in most western societies, is LONG gone. I guess the rainbow color scheme seemed to associate you with homosexual groups, like an “=” sign might. Outside of things like that, or kind of trying to look physically masculine, people probably won’t assume you are homosexual. As for “men’s” clothing, it IS more utilitarian than anything else, and women can wear it, without any westerners caring. Of course they usually tweak it, for women, to better show the figure and it may even be more comfortable for women. I just saw a comedy where a woman tried to wear baggy mens clothing to turn a guy off, though she really liked him. It did NOT work! 🙂 Still, I have known at least 2 women that seemed very “butch”. One even had cards all over her cube that said she was ok with GLBT, or whatever it is called, and both were straight and cis female. I know that ONLY because one was VERY much against GLBT, and the other ended up telling me about her love for her husband who had died. I never brought up any related issue. Who knows? BOTH had severe mobility problems. BOTH were overweight, and had Ruematoid arthritis. Maybe they figured their style was very low maintenance and they had no interest in relationships.
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by edgewaters Friday, March 16 @ 05:47:46 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) The rainbow thing I get, because it’s actually a symbol used by the gay rights movement. One could be forgiven for mistaking someone wearing a cross as Christian, just as one could be forgiven for mistaking someone wearing a lot of rainbows as homosexual. But baggy pants etc? Who told you this? Many, many guys find women who dress like tomboys to be very attractive. But here’s the rub: most of those guys are introverts and introverts (whether male or female) have difficulty making the first move, so if you’re an introvert too, well … you see the problem.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by NMCB3299 Sunday, February 19 @ 17:07:37 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Me, I’ve found my fashion style in the Junior/Misses department at Target. So far this winter I’ve found two very fashionable jackets’ by Merona with toggle buttons’ and I have added my Ted Baker scarfs and a woven hat that I won in a online contest. This adds a feminine expensive look to my outfit which previously people have criticized as looking masculine. I also got two Mossimo spring jackets with toggle buttons for when the weather warms up and will wear them instead of hoodies so much. I still feel very strongly about dressing comfortably. For footwear I have chosen Lands End shoes from the kids’ catalog that look just like the womens’, but are a fraction of the price. I favor slip on boot-shoes that cost $25. Comfort in shoes is foremost particularly since my left leg was injured and is now home to 7-8 pins plus plates and hardware. A friend tried to get me to admire stilletos in a fashion magazine. That is a big no because I would be in an unbelievable amount of pain from that venture ino the high fashion world and it would not be me.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by CockneyRebel Tuesday, February 21 @ 09:43:16 EST
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) Due to my gender issues, I enjoy looking the way Mick Avory did in the January of 1964, with the short hair and the plaid cap. I feel that society has more expectations of people from a gender standpoint than from any other standpoint. I’m female by an accident of genetics, but my brain, voice and soul are male.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Palakol Tuesday, February 21 @ 14:55:44 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I was the guy with the mohawk AND dreadlocks (dread-hawk/mo-locks?), who was supposed to be an art student, but instead studied political science. And I like telling people I work with that I’m gay. I enjoy the conflict.
Great article! I am a an open-minded cis female, and am comfortable being this way. That said, I definitely have gone through phases of change in the way that I dress. Some days I feel comfortable wearing a dress, others I’ll wear grungy boots and pants with baggy pockets. To my knowledge, others have never questioned my sexuality in spite of these changing clothing habits, probably because I generally have long hair and behave in a traditionally feminine manner. I, like almost everyone else I’ve ever met, have tried to change my appearance due to having been bullied. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that as long as you are comfortable with how you present yourself to the world- fitting in is a defense mechanism, after all. It shows that you’re not afraid to assimilate into society, and if people are comfortable with your appearance then I’ve found you have more wiggle room to act as eccentric as you please. I still love getting secondhand clothes but now I know how to wear them in a socially acceptable manner. Goodwill is the best. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Thank you for writing this Kirsten!
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by aryaunderfoot Monday, February 27 @ 10:53:17 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m actually bisexual and I discovered when I was 15. Just a few months earlier I understood for the first time that one of the reasons why I was constantly rejected from my peer-group was my outward appearance: colours that don’t fit, jeans that are not “in” and plain sweaters. No one except me was wearing these things during those years, but I still never expected that I could be excluded for the way I dress! Today I still don’t go with fashion but I celebrate my “own style” – only wearing black and white. Makes it easier to buy clothes and sends somehow different signals. I tried butchy too once but it never got me any attractions. Now I’m kinda comfortable with the way I look and how others react to it – and I’m also comfortable with my gender identity which wasn’t always the case…
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by damipenny Tuesday, February 28 @ 20:15:51 EST
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Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by GrungeFlannel Tuesday, March 20 @ 02:53:28 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Might I add that “prostate” stimulation is unhealthy and a risk factor for cancer, and increases the likely hood of HIV positive people. My friend Daniel got some sort of infection from having butt-sex with a girl who was clean as he later found out, but it was the fecal matter inside his eurethra that made the ecolai come and hit his testies. It all runs with the what the majority good is. “Don’t stick things where they don’t belong.” As for condoms, their not 100% so while I indentify with people who are against condoms I don’t like them cause their fake, and don’t treat the problem of America being Over-Sexualized. Especially the females for Trevor’s sake. I don’t aggree with the homosexual lifestyle cause it interferes with something that we were meant to do, which is procreate. Even if the kids come out as homosexuals or bi or trans or simply apathetic to the nature of sex. It doesn’t stop the problems associated with the above quote. Simply put. “Don’t stick things where they don’t belong.” – Myself. No source because I founded this quote myself upon studying both sides of the fences. Take it for what you for want. But my words won’t change the factors above or the status I have with myself.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by spookiewon Friday, March 02 @ 14:58:04 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) A friend of mine directed me to your article, and an interview with you and your boyfriend. I do feel the need to correct some misconceptions you seem to have. Rainbows may indeed make people believe you are gay, but lesbians most definitely DO “feel like girls inside.” The best way I can explain this to you is that I KNOW I’m a “girl inside” and I think that being female is really super special, and about the most attractive thing on earth. ALL women are beautiful. I can’t imagine why, since being female is so special, I’d be attracted to males, who, at least APPEARANCE wise, are clearly inferior. And because females are so much more attractive, why would I want to be male? You are also wrong that there are only two genders among humans. That is the “old fashioned” veiw. The “modern view of sexuality and gender identity” are much more complicated. (Yes, we all prefer black and white, but real is real.) Male and female are phenotypes, not genotypes. There are people born with varying GENOTYPES, and XX and XY are not the only possibility, who also vary in PHENOTYPE. And I’m not just talking cis vs trans gendered. The Intersex Society of North America has some great information on the complexities of what sex and gender are. http://goo.gl/YEDSU
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by markb Saturday, March 03 @ 09:12:25 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) great article, thanks for sharing.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by OllyThedude Sunday, March 04 @ 10:39:22 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m an transgender aspie. Feel free to interview me via my email at allyallen1@hotmail.com
I find wearing dresses very nice but it’s socially condemned because of shallow viewpoints in regard tog ender. The way I see it love is love…for such emotional beings humans really don’t want to just be truly fair towards each other. At some point though it’d be nice to go for an adrogynous look I uppose, for comfort as much as it would be to mess with people’s notions of “normal.” I do think aspergians are often counter-cultural by nature though hehe.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Atrice Tuesday, March 13 @ 05:16:09 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) As an Aspie who has struggled with gender identity issues, I just want to thank you for writing this fantastic article. Like many people have already said, your comments are spot-on. A lot of the things you mentioned clicked with me personally — in high school, I wore practical, comfortable clothing at the expense of “looking good,” cut my hair short because I didn’t see the point in growing it out, etc. Of course, these decisions motivated by the most logical and practical of reasons? at the time, it never really occurred to me that people were judging me based on my choice of dress. Although I identified as heterosexual at the time, my classmates — and everyone else who met me — just assumed that I was a lesbian. It’s a sad truth that most people’s first impressions are motivated by snap judgments, based on physical cues such as height, weight, gender, race — and especially clothing. There’s really nothing to be done about it, and eventually I learned how to express myself more accurately through the way I dress. I *wish* it was different, but sometimes, the best thing you can do is adapt!
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by Sorenzo Sunday, March 25 @ 08:15:00 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I love her previous perspective on clothing. I felt the same way, although I expect my bad habits and devastating acne had more to do with the fact that women wouldn’t look at me. Now I’m a fairly good-looking guy, and I’m not gay, but I insist on wearing pink and purple shirts. I like pink. I don’t know if women would think I was gay, but they’re welcome to – The only time I’ve ever been able to get women to talk to me was when they thought or knew I had a girlfriend (as if single guys are rabid or something), so I imagine seeming unavailable is gonna help me in the long run. Correct me if I’m wrong.
I think I can? Uhmmm…….. Autism, and people calling other Autistic people “autistics”… Ya know, that’s called labeling!! And if you think the way “gay” people are being treated is unfair…. THINK AGAIN! You don’t know me? You do NOT know how much crap I’ve been through, just to be diagnosed mere days after my 18th birthday, with Asperger syndrome!!! VERY rare or at least uncommon for my gender (female)!!!!!
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by whiteflower Thursday, March 29 @ 18:47:26 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) great article, a lot of us are more likely to be lgbt than NTs so articles like these are very helpful.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by awriterswindow Saturday, April 07 @ 22:07:26 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Thanks for this article, and even more thanks for the one that ran in the Times. It meant so much to me and my boyfriend, and we saw so much of ourselves in it. Thanks for sharing that with all of us.
Re: Kirsten Lindsmith on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Autism (Score: 1)
by ibtiamat Tuesday, April 24 @ 21:21:17 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Awesome article. You are such a unique person! I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s very recently and I am also a lesbian. It can be very hard since I hate being lonely but I also can’t figure all the ins and outs of the social world and since I look like a heterosexual female I get guys hitting on me all the time, most of the time inappropriately and my anxiety gets so high up I can barely stand it.
HELLO MY DEAR Can we be come friends?,I am Miss Flourzy im interested in you,please reply me here ( flourzysankara1@yahoo.co.uk )for a confidential discussions may be like that we can become best friends in future sorry for my pictures i will enclose it in my next mail when i hear from you okay.Kisses and warmest regards, Miss. Flourzy Sankara

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Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical

Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical
Posted on Tuesday, March 13 @ 19:20:31 EDT by Social Skills Maja Toudal I met Maja (and a lot of other cool aspies) while speaking in ?rhus, Denmark at the AspIT conference. This is her first column:

Hi, I?m Maja and I live in Copenhagen, Denmark and I?m a 25 year old woman diagnosed with Asperger?s. I?m a singer/songwriter and a student.

I always knew I was different and started learning social skills before I was even diagnosed. When I was 12, I realized that I wanted to be a part of the world and started to mimic and learn social skills from others. Most of my social skills, however, come from character based roleplaying.

Many other aspies say that I bend to the will of NT society, by acting as if I am an NT. I, of course, don’t think so because I only act NT when the situation calls for it. But let’s start at the beginning. . . .

Read on. . .

Listen to a song by Maja entitled “That Moment”: ?????

I’ll keep my story somewhat short, in order to get to the point. Like many other aspies, I’ve known since very early childhood that I was not like the other kids. I ?ve felt different, weird, and it truly does feel like being on the wrong planet. For everyone else, the expectation that I behave as them was natural, and for me, impossible. I’m fairly sure that any aspie will know what it’s like.

Maja Toudal I think I first realized this when I was three or four years old.

I never went to special schools, or had any help. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16. So not only did others expect me to act ?normal?, I expected it of myself. It wasn’t until I was 12 or 13 that I realized that I would have to really work for it, if I was going to achieve it. Also, it wasn’t until then that I started wanting to be a part of society, after years of being bullied by classmates and teachers.

So I worked at it. I observed, tried to repeat what the others did and I failed miserably.

When I was 17 or so I got invited to play a roleplaying game, which has since become much more focused on character play than anything else. And that is where I really learnt something.

I see it as speaking two languages. To use a metaphor, I speak Danish and English. Danish is my native language, it’s the language I grew up speaking. Danish is good to be able to speak, because even though it’s a small country, it’s where I live. The relatively small number of Danish-speaking people, mostly prefer to speak Danish. And many of them don’t know English very well.

But lots of people in the world speak english, and most of them don’t know how to speak a word of danish. However, because I speak english so well, I’m able to share ideas with other people who speak English and befriend them. I’m able to translate danish for them, and even ? with those who are willing ? am able to teach them a bit of danish.

It’s exactly the same with the languages ?NT? and ?aspie?. There are lots of aspies in the world, but most people are NT’s. What I want to do with my life is reach out to the NT’s and teach them to speak a bit of ?aspie?.

I’m aware that many who are on the spectrum, have had horrible experiences with NT’s, and many see non-autistics as horrible people. We want to avoid them as much as possible. But the reason we have horrible experiences with NTs, isn’t necessarily because they or we are horrible people. It’s just that we have such a hard time communicating.

And that’s what I’m doing. I’ve learnt to communicate with neurotypicals. It gives them benefits ? because I’m slowly teaching them a new language that will make a few situations (or many) much easier, because they now understand a bit of what’s going on. And it gives me benefits ? because I’m able to tell them what I want, and need from them. I’m able to make friends with them.

And the NT friends I’ve made, have learnt to speak so much ?aspie?, that I no longer have to speak ?NT? with them if I don’t want to.

So it’s not about conforming to the NT way, it’s about communicating with them. And being able to communicate makes my life easier.

Maja Toudal Bubbles

Maja started writing songs when she was 9 and released her debut album, Live, Acoustic & Stripped less than a year ago. She has also released quite a few singles, available online.

Listen to Maja’s Music on Myspace and check her out on Facebook. and check out her music channel on Youtube.

Maja also has a youtube channel where she talks about Asperger’s and Autism.
               
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Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by dabih Saturday, March 24 @ 23:48:56 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) As a NT person with 2 family members diagnosed with ASD, I think that all of you, who tries to build the bridges between our two worlds and helps us (NTs) to understand you is doing a very important work. Thank you all.
I’ve been following TheAnMish vids for a while (and have one linked on my Aspergers YouTube playlist). I actually thought, “Wow. Maja looks quite a lot like her.” Then I saw the last link to TheAnMish channel. Heehee. I had no idea you were Danish – your English is pretty impeccable. Thank you so much for your Aspie vids, and now I have some good music to link to as well!
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by blitzmaedel Tuesday, March 20 @ 12:24:55 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I am much older and was not diagnosed until a few years ago. Asperger’s was not recognized in this country – the USA – until about 20 years ago. There is still no clinical support protocol for adults. Of course I understand perfectly about feeling like a stranger in a strange land all my life. In the past few years I have tried to discuss my condition with my family and peers, but they are ignorant of the autistic spectrum and don’t seem to much care. They have treated my attempts to speak about it with disinterest and sometimes derision. So a forum like this is still my only social outlet, other than facebook. After 30 years of struggling to survive in the job market with not much success, I retired early by going on Social Security Disability. I still feel guilty in my 50s about not working, but it has just never worked out very well for me, at least not for long.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by kellywilliams Thursday, March 22 @ 01:30:45 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) That’ll surely help. Great post. Thanks for the information.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by AScomposer13413 Thursday, March 15 @ 21:14:10 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Wow!! First off, I love the single! Sounds really cool!! As a composer with AS, I’ve always wondered where our impact on the music industry!! As well, I like the analogy about speaking “Aspie” with NT’s! Perhaps if most of us Aspies do that, the communication gap between us might get smaller and smaller!!
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by slave Thursday, March 15 @ 23:54:31 EDT
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Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by edgewaters Friday, March 16 @ 05:20:15 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Whole article seems a little too glitzed up and self-absorbed. Fashion photo shoots, a pop song. Seriously? As far as the premise of the article, I don’t agree with it. I don’t believe in acting in our personal relationships. It’s fake, phony, and most of all, an act of deception. I believe you should be what you are, in all that you do. To actually change what sort of person you are (to the degree this is possible) is one thing, to simply act as if you are someone else is another thing entirely. If some people don’t understand you – that’s their problem. My metric for success isn’t how accepted I am by other people, it’s how acceptable I am to myself.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Dogeasyfox Friday, March 16 @ 06:47:12 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Have to admit, Maja, you’re gorgeous!
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by musicforanna Friday, March 16 @ 07:58:45 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) As a 28 year old woman aspie, I’m not getting hung up like all the people who always bicker back in forth on the WP woman aspie articles about looks. Come on some of ya’ll. You’re totally missing the point. I guess you could say that I’m one of those “classically pretty aspie girls”. I’m not going to waste time posting pictures of myself, but if you could imagine a slender girl about 5’2″, naturally fluffy blonde hair, pale skin, small gray eyes, high cheekbones, with rectangular glasses, then you could imagine me and the way that I look. You may not realize it, but the implications play off differently because of looks. But not in the way you might think (i.e. looks alone won’t get you places unless maybe you act on it in a very ethically questionable way lol & unfortunately I have met a few of those in my life). I’m not sure if there is a way to necessarily for sure “look NT” but when you “look NT” You are pretty much expected to BEHAVE like these NT creatures. This is a pile of added stress that is ultra-annoying. Heck, if you’re mild enough like me, and you’re having a good day, & I have actually FOOLED people into thinking that I’m NT. Then of course I have those awful days where things come tumbling down and I shock people who thought I was NT and of course it’s always in the end, the battle of “do I let this person down later with my fail aspieness coming through after I make a very NT impression first, or do I announce upfront my aspieness to where they’re not caught off-guard by it, but they’ll probably think less of me because they haven’t known me long enough to perceive the real full picture of me?” And some days, it’s more exhausting than others to hold up “the NT end of the deal.” It really does drain me. But it’s how I can communicate with NTs, and unless I’m moving to a deserted island and becoming self-sufficient, I’m going to have to effectively communicate with NTs in some way or another throughout my life. And keep in mind, we’re seeing 3 pics of this woman, not how she would normally look or behave on a day to day basis. And these pics look professional to where you know she had hours of hair and makeup and prettyful wardrobe people beforehand (that, and don’t forget the nice cameras and equipment and editing that possibly went into these pics too). So try not to judge. I don’t always wear makeup, but every so often, I feel like doing so. I was also raised around a bunch of females. NT Females are the “social police” as we call to call them on the forum. So that already ups the expectation for me because of that. We have to remember that the spectrum pretty much runs the gamut. Sure there’s “pretty” people focused on in here from time to time, but you get everything from mild AS like me, to severely disabled Auties and everything in between along the way. I used to log into here more often, but I often feel depressed when visiting the forum because of the amount of gloom on there (I’m already trying to get away from my own gloom). I prefer IRC because it’s more enlightening. Other than living half a world away, It seems I have some in common with Maja. I never went to special schools (for me it was a string of urban public schools), I slipped through the cracks long enough, that I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 17 (of course, after that, my school pretended to “accommodate” for me and didn’t do that right until I got into college and they understood things properly). I pretty much had to “wing it” when it came to learning social skills too.
I’ve long related with the second language metaphor. Discovering I’m aspie in my thirties, I find it has been so long since I have spoken my native tongue that I don’t really know how any more. The constant acting has bred such a strong disconnect that I think getting in tune with my senses and increasing self-awareness must be the way to re-learn my lost language. please write more articles here.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Jack_the_First Friday, March 16 @ 19:33:55 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Very interesting and a pleasure to read, Maja. I’m new in here and starting to meet folks who have apparently managed to achieve a measure of success in their lives. By success, I mean as measured by quality of experience and relationships one manages to build. You have apparently bridged the “gap” and are seeing the benefits. Congratulations. I wish I could say the same. Growing up in Southwestern Arizona in the 1950’s as I did, AS was unheard of. I just knew that something was wrong, and so did everyone else, but no one knew what to do. As I grew older and started to make a living, I managed to learn (perhaps by imitation?) enough NT behavior to “pass for normal”, but not enough to be good at it. My life so far has been a long series of lost jobs, broken homes, and forgotten friendships. It’s only recently that an acquaintance suggested that I might be aspie. I’ve taken a few of the tests and passed every one so far. So, you’re fortunate – you have great looks, great talent, and the intelligence and persistence to build a formula for that success I mentioned at the top. I hope it continues for you, and that your critics realize that they may be using different, and possibly not valid, metrics to evaluate what they see of you here. The women who have weighed in by pointing out that they are treated differently have a good case. I’m not sure that’s much different from everywhere else. Well done, my dear. Enjoy the ride, and maybe even set an example for some of us.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Sappho17 Friday, March 16 @ 19:43:03 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I am an NT (as far as I know so far) who is on a mission to understand Aspies. I am particularly interested in the Empathy thing. I am working on a new paradigm for understanding how different minds can be respected in a Star Trek kind of way- That we might be different but who gets to judge? Spiritually, what is the meaning of all this? Maybe no one should judge and it’s just about awareness and acceptances of different versions of what it means to be human. I loved Spock growing up, but I am sure there would be a diagnosis for him in our narrow minded world-
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Dunzel Saturday, March 17 @ 00:11:28 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Thank you Maja. I completely agree with your approach. We exist in a 99%+ NT world. They didn’t choose to be NT nor we Aspies, yet the fact is that to succeed we either speak their language and mimic their culture or we can pout and moan about how “unfair” the world is. Of course the world is unfair, so what? As in any foreign land we learn the language, customs, and adapt or we fail. Side note, you are quite strikingly beautiful, which is a highly valued trait among NTs though I must admit I prefer your eloquence and intellect. In either case, play those cards for what they are worth as long as you can to open doors. Nothing is free in this world, and obstacles are easy to come by, so grasp the opportunities as they present themselves and enjoy your life. 🙂
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by JesseCat Saturday, March 17 @ 16:22:32 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Interesting metaphor and perspective. Also, lovely, lovely voice.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by LadySera Saturday, March 17 @ 21:13:08 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m a big fan of her YouTube channel. I think it’s great that she’s writing on here now. I knew when I saw her pics that some guys were gonna be P.O.d. I think there’s this huge thing where men who’ve been rejected automatically want to reject attractive women. I actually understand this coming from the other side (being rejected by men) but I try not to let it color my view of all men. I think that it would serve guys well to not just judge women based on their looks. Thanks.
I’m glad I read this article. Learning how to communicate with the NT’s is a vital skill to succeed in this world. I also tell people that so many creative people are in one way or another, autistic. The best part of this article, however is being introduced to new talent. I’m very impressed. Have you looked at CreateSpace.com to market your music. It is a great service that I used for publishing my book.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by pastafarian Sunday, March 18 @ 15:39:12 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Thank you for even trying to bridge build, sadly many people are bitter and they do not help us learn.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Surfman Sunday, March 18 @ 17:02:07 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I find a similarity with immigrants wanting to learn the new culture to fit in and become a westerner, while some immigrants will keep the old ways, and reject their new cultural demographic. The decision is based on many different things, but things happen because they can. If you are too old to learn you dont as your stuck in your ways. If the nuances and behaviours your considering emulating………. are ethically disturbing……… you may consider keeping your natural, current manners. I little different for aspies……. as a rule: aspies make awful actors and politicians, real estate salespeople and lawyers. Its much harder for aspies to act than just about anyone else. It requires guile. Which aspies have only in tiny amounts Capture bonding is more easily expressed in females than males, and females will emulate and bond with their captors better than males, and thus increase their survival breeding, and levels of happiness Going with the flow, rather than brushing someone up the wrong way……… has a daoist principle at play…..harmony is to be cherished for good health. Its good to learn to get a long with those around you, it can make life much easier if poisoned arrows from others are not forthcoming, as you have learnt the way of the peaceful warrior. A real danger is that inept actors get caught out and then bullied for not staying in their place……………………………………..
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Surfman Sunday, March 18 @ 17:03:36 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I find a similarity with immigrants wanting to learn the new culture to fit in and become a westerner, while some immigrants will keep the old ways, and reject their new cultural demographic. The decision is based on many different things, but things happen because they can. If you are too old to learn you dont as your stuck in your ways. If the nuances and behaviours your considering emulating………. are ethically disturbing……… you may consider keeping your natural, current manners. I little different for aspies……. as a rule: aspies make awful actors and politicians, real estate salespeople and lawyers. Its much harder for aspies to act than just about anyone else. It requires guile. Which aspies have only in tiny amounts Capture bonding is more easily expressed in females than males, and females will emulate and bond with their captors better than males, and thus increase their survival breeding, and levels of happiness Going with the flow, rather than brushing someone up the wrong way……… has a daoist principle at play…..harmony is to be cherished for good health. Its good to learn to get a long with those around you, it can make life much easier if poisoned arrows from others are not forthcoming, as you have learnt the way of the peaceful warrior. A real danger is that inept actors get caught out and then bullied for not staying in their place……………………………………..
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by johnsmcjohn Monday, March 19 @ 00:30:43 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I first saw Maja when I was researching Asperger’s last year. I subscribe to her youtube channel and recommend everyone here do the same. She is wonderful at explaining how Aspies think and what it’s like to be an Aspie in terms anyone can understand.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by BuyerBeware Monday, March 19 @ 02:45:31 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) There’s no point in debating the pros and cons. There’s only one choice: Blend in or be destroyed. “Destroyed” can take many forms: Shunned, demonized, chronically unemployed until you end up a mumbling homeless junkie, taking it all until you finally lose your temper and end up in prison, driven to depression and agoraphobia until you finally ask for help and end up drugged out of your brain, misdiagnosed as bipolar or schizophrenic, subsequently declared incompetent and drugged out of your brain to spend the rest of your life shuffling from one mental health facility to another always waiting on your next placement, or (probably second most common, following being drugged until there isn’t a person left) finally driven to suicide. Resistance is futile: Assimilate or be destroyed. Human nature. There’s no point in acting all Aspie and debating the rightness or fairness of that simple fact, either. It is a fact, a law of human nature, like GRAVITY. We do not debate the fairness of gravity. It simply IS. Assimilate or be destroyed. It is simply a fact. To choose not to accept it is to choose destruction.
I’ve only recently discovered who Maja is and I’ve started to watch her videos and I think she’s wonderful. She’s a inspiration to all us Aspies, she’s beautiful, she’s talented and she proves that despite being a Aspie we can be successful.
I’ve only recently discovered who Maja is and I’ve started to watch her videos and I think she’s wonderful. She’s a inspiration to all us Aspies, she’s beautiful, she’s talented and she proves that despite being a Aspie we can be successful.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Pajarito Monday, March 19 @ 23:21:25 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I don’t get it. Acting aspie/NT I get, but not speaking aspie/NT. Example?
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by GrungeFlannel Tuesday, March 20 @ 02:38:26 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) So let me get this straight. A “neurotypical person” is a normal person who does not have aspbergers? So what is an aspbergers according to the medical feild? A mental disorder? Well of course we need to recognize our social and mental differences here I being a high functioned person with asbergers would be ashamed at calling my mother a derogatory remark that makes people little, and inferior to us as called “neurotypicals” which is a blatant insult. So yeah, I do consider myself not special but with special talents and needs. But I sure don’t consider myself “inferior” or “superior” to people with different thinking paths. What about people with asbergers who are not as coherent as me? Should I call them “inferio-aspi” for short? Gosh. Come on people.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 2, Interesting)
by sunshower Tuesday, March 13 @ 20:59:49 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I like your article! We have a lot in common. I often have used the same “languages” metaphor for speaking Aspie versus NT, and had a lot of the same things happen at the same ages you listed here. I am a singer and songwriter also.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 0, Flamebait)
by aussiebloke Tuesday, March 13 @ 21:17:42 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Where are all the ugly, overweight and uneducated autistics who are also loathed by their family’s? Seems they don’t exist in autiverse. Another one to make the loser Autistics feel like &*^% Is that the point of autism TV ? Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by fraac Tuesday, March 13 @ 21:48:30 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by Aimless Tuesday, March 13 @ 22:35:44 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by Lonermutant Wednesday, March 14 @ 03:21:09 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by kojot Wednesday, March 14 @ 06:01:01 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by myth Wednesday, March 14 @ 09:56:29 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by AnnettaMarie Wednesday, March 14 @ 12:21:01 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by justkillingtime Wednesday, March 14 @ 13:11:04 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by sparklefish Wednesday, March 14 @ 22:07:31 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by DC Thursday, March 15 @ 11:43:46 EDT
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical by DC Thursday, March 15 @ 11:43:46 EDT

Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Briana_Lopez Tuesday, March 13 @ 22:23:44 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Your story in a way kind of sounds like mine! For the most part, I’ve learned to understand NT’s just by observing them and fixing each of my mistakes. And you’re a really talented singer! I might just have to be your new #1 fan 😀
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 3, Informative)
by techstepgenr8tion Tuesday, March 13 @ 22:43:37 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I don’t agree with people who feel like its flat out shameful or supplicant to meet NT’s halfway or to behave like one around them. Like you I spent most of my life checking my subtle behaviors, seeing what I could fix, bend, manipulate, rearrange, etc.. I don’t think it was until I was 20 that I really started understanding the NT mindset in a more comprehensive way and how to put on sort of a….facsimile?…. ie. something to express my thoughts and intentions in a way that they’d understand it. I went through a funny experience as well – ie. I was dx’d at 11, got a horrible message from the doctors about my future, had guy friends who essentially helped save me from the mess that I was in and by 19 or 20 I had a spell where my believe that I had anything was essentially revoked. Around that time I truly believed that if I really took a close look at the NT’s around me that I’d see traits that I liked, traits that reminded me of my best self, and that there was essentially an NT ‘me’ inside that just hadn’t had the plaster chipped away. Like anyone else on spectrum who has a while of thinking that, I found out that’s not the case, however I did learn a great deal from a lot of the rigors that I put myself through on it. IMHO its a really complicated world, NT’s have enough trouble understanding each other as it is, people have patience that are worn thin by a souring global economy and all kinds of other strange things going on, not to mention whatever hours they need to put in. They really might not have much left over for us in that sense and it seems like the better we can fend for ourselves and the better we can phrase ourselves their way on their turf the more likely it is that we can succeed, not only at life but making our case on what ASD is and what its about (effective communication skills are critical here).

Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Agemaki Wednesday, March 14 @ 01:05:06 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I think I’ve always liked to role-play but I don’t see it as a way of fitting in or learning to communicate with others. I’ve found that people aren’t as mean as they were in junior high/high school. I’m not attacked or the target of verbal aggression at least. I still don’t have much interest in making friends with most of my peers even though they are now relatively nice to me. I think a lot of this is because I prefer intellectual discussions and the sharing of ideas to other forms of discussion. I do enjoy meeting and sometimes befriending people with whom I can share ideas. Still, looking normal is just something I never think about. Some people will yell rude things at me when I use my umbrella on sunny days but I’m learning to have a stronger sense of self, placing my own visual comfort before a cultural concept of the proper and improper times to use umbrellas. Living in Japan also helped with that, since my tendency to avoid exposure to sunlight looked completely normal there. As I’ve learned more about variations on proper behavior from one culture to another I’ve come to see concepts of normalcy to be somewhat fluid and thereby I feel less bound to conform to the views of the culture that I happened to be born into.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by CyclopsSummers Wednesday, March 14 @ 02:01:59 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) While I appreciate her initiative of trying to bridge the gap of communication between autistics and non-autistics, because I think mutual understanding is very important per individual situation, I should also wish the distinction between autistic/not autistic would not be presented as a binary thing. I say this because, aside from auties and aspies, there are still many others who aren’t autistic but struggle in their own way in this world, for example people with ADD, epilepsy, chronic migraines, Tourette’s, et cetera, some of which may also overlap with autism. I think the world isn’t taylor-made for anyone, and while it absolutely isn’t too much to ask that other people show some consideration and understanding toward us, it also goes the other way, and communication is honestly different on an individual level. Diffuse, not binary. This being said I repeat that I like Maja’s take on autism in general, and her apparent proactive stance in ‘dealing’ with it, for lack of a better word. So, I’ll hope she’ll get far with making music.

Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by jojobean Wednesday, March 14 @ 02:51:00 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I feel the same way, and had similar experiences. I can speak both NT and Autie (I am an autie, not an aspie) and I have learned the dance the social dance through observation and trial and many errors. I also agree that this does not make me any less autistic than hearing aids make me less deaf. Yes hearing aids help me hear, but the deafness is still part of me. I take my hearing aids out and I am deaf again. I use communication tools likewise to help me “hear” NT. When I hear better, I speak better. Also I like to see myself as a bridge between Aspie/Autie and NT. Jojo
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by MathGirl Wednesday, March 14 @ 04:10:28 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) I can’t really identify much. I grew up not knowing about my diagnosis, either. I think my parents wanted to hide it from me for a purpose. But I was never really able to learn to fit in to this extent. I can act somewhat normal for, maybe, an hour, but I still don’t connect with people and then I go home and I’m utterly exhausted for the rest of the day. I don’t feel it’s worth it and I hate it. I despise this acting with all of my heart. Being able to be my true self is what I am fighting for. I feel like I have the right to be myself provided that I am respectful to other people, have genuine intentions, and contribute positively to the society. I am wary of getting close to NTs because I can’t read them. They often respond to my questions in a very vague, roundabout way. I am easy to take advantage of. I guess my brain just can’t take the concept of a nonverbal cue and generalize it to other situations. I still have trouble processing the concept of different minds, too, and it’s not something I can think of in a fluid social situation. I tend to be really deep in my head and I revel in my thoughts as I express them to people verbally. I enjoy reciprocal verbal interactions as long as they are not full of personal questions (which feels invasive) and as long as the message is clearly conveyed… and as long as it relates to my special interest. However, putting myself in NT social situations makes me feel shitty to the core because I can’t help but sense a disconnect in my communication style from their communication style. And I’m more aware of my sensory/content-processing differences now than ever before, having had things pointed out to me directly. Which makes me even more hesitant to go down that path unless I openly present myself as autistic which takes away the burden of trying to pretend to be NT. And this has been largely successful for me so far.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Wednesday, March 14 @ 04:27:01 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I like your youtube channel. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by speaking aspie? Communicating with poor eye contact and rambling off monotone on your favorite obsessions? For me acting “aspie” for me means being mostly antisocial because I’m often muddled in confusion/uncomfortable with my settings.
Nice to meet you, Maja! I listened to your single – you’re very talented and thanks for sharing your music and your bio. I like that the Wrong Planet is featuring ‘real-live’ Aspies – we tend to break the mold, yes?
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by kojot Wednesday, March 14 @ 05:58:12 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Excellent article! Thank you. It’s kind of funny ’cause yesterday I was thinking about this stuff. That we’re more like just different cultures than anything else.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Zavaros Wednesday, March 14 @ 09:01:55 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I can really relate to what you have written, in fact, I may even use your metaphor to help explain my situation to NT’s. Thank you 🙂
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Chrism929 Wednesday, March 14 @ 11:18:52 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Intriguing, but I’d much rather learn exactly how she managed to learn what she did so that maybe I could use some of that knowledge even at this late stage in my life to communicate better with NTs. Someone commented there are different modes of acting, some more authentic than others, and that sounded very right to me. This is an subject I would like to learn more about from someone who has figured it out and I hope Maja will share more details of her learning process with us in the future. Good points were made by all those who complain of the glitz in role models here. I can share from experience that it’s a lot easier for a pretty young female to be accepted and thus navigate social channels – I’ve been there; am no longer, due to both major facial injuries and, now, age – but in my case it was a lifetime before I could have the benefit of this Different Planet sort of perspective on what I was, where other people were coming from, and what was happening. All I knew for most of my life was that inside, I was different. In retrospect much of the acceptance I had when I was young and attractive was meaningless but I didn’t understand that at the time, so many of my relationships were confusing and painful. I wasn’t vain so I didn’t understand that looks were so important to other people; I thought they liked me for who I was. Maja has done a wonderful job of working to overcome her difficulties as an Aspie, and thus feels her relationships/communications are more authentic. because of her acting efforts and learned skills. Maybe she’s right. Only she will know, with more time. But you can’t tell the young that. I found this article very interesting because I;ve often had the thought, in my life, that I wished I knew how to be an actor, so I could just manage situations and charm people without my soul being out there for anyone to take pot shots at; I never figured out how, though. My shyness kept me from exploring that as the only way I knew to study acting was to take classes. Anyway for me, it was more important to be real and I believed the two were antithetical. I always had the fortune to have one or two close friends who tolerated my eccentricities (and vice verse) so that’s what’s really gotten me through life, more any any skills like acting, no matter that I’ve always worked hard to understand what was going on with NTs. You act, of course, but perhaps learning actual acting skills would make that much easier? It’s very irritating to be confronted constantly by speakers-for-Aspies who are already successful (or present themselves as such) and, yes, glitzy and young – something most of us can never be even if we tried, and while the glitz can be maintained (at what cost?) the youth will go and then you get a very different view of life as people will treat you very differently. But, again, you can’t tell the young that. So, again, I hope Maja will give some practical tips on how she got where she is, communications-wise, that might be useful for others to try out.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Awiddershinlife Wednesday, March 14 @ 13:02:11 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I really do not see how a polarizing topic such as ?Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical? can be helpful to anyone. After all ?only a Sith deals in absolutes (Obi-Wan Kenobi)?. ?Many other aspies say that I bend to the will of NT society, by acting as if I am an NT? I assume that Maja?s critics must be ?acting Aspie? to engender such sentiment. Why are any of us acting? Other than it taking a lifetime of seeking wisdom, what is wrong with any of us simply becoming more authentic yet flexible enough to share this world with others while maintaining a measure of contentedness? Why would we begrudge Maja or any of our fellow aspies SUCCESS? My diagnosis has never gotten me an iota of assistance or compassion, so I have learned through many tough lessons that the world will not bow down to my specific needs, though I have learned to negotiate to get them reasonably well while remaining truly and uniquely me. It has taken me nearly 60 years to get this far, but I am glad to be on this pathway. I agree that ?It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society (Jiddu Krishnamurti)?, but until I win a lottery big enough for me to totally isolate myself from any part of society that does not suit me (and I do buy lottery tickets to that end), I need to deal. One of the reasons I don?t hang tight with the Aspie community is that I have felt a strong expectation of conformity to ideas, politics, behavior, attitudes. Expression of differing viewpoints is generally not well tolerated. Could this be core to the accusations against Maja? I have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome twice, once by a state mental health organization, then by a university researcher. It has helped me in my journey toward self-enlightenment, but it is not my identity. I remain a unique individual who totally embraces Aunt Frances Owens exclamation, ?My darling girl, when are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage (Practical Magic)! So Maja is not a ?normal? aspie any more than she is a ?normal? NT ? She is a woman of courage and to be admired for it!
i’m going to be honest about my reaction to the article. i am slightly uneasy when i am repeatedly faced with photos that look like stereotypical fashion models when i login to WP. i am a feminist and in my own ideology i take issue with the fashion industry. so when i see WP inundated with pictures of women who fit the fashion stereotypes it seems like a recipe for aspie girls to feel bad about themselves if they don’t look like that. success in the real world is something that aspies may or may not want to aspire to, but linking it with hotness gives mixed messages. using conventionally attractive women like this as an example is a way of impressing the NT community and also giving members some eye candy. but at what cost? we have a responsibility to our members to be conscious of the image we project INWARD, not just the image we project OUTWARD. even in the comments here i see the impact – girls and women are influenced by the message and seem to see beauty as something to align themselves with. how many females would be “identifying” with this article if the writer was not attractive according to society’s standards?
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by autti34 Wednesday, March 14 @ 17:32:08 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) i have autism an never can pass for nt .i think it funny when my aspie friend think they can pass for nt as most of them cant eathir they think there playing a game call i got a sercret but usly there the only one playing that game i think most of us on the asd with autism like me or as cant pass unless there very mild an then may come off quricky .
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by minervx Wednesday, March 14 @ 21:18:00 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I congratulate Maja on her success integrating. I find it better learning how to be NT than to simply sit alone and blame NT’s for our problems.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by The_Face_of_Boo Thursday, March 15 @ 10:05:22 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) So you are the new Alex’s g….. Nahh, you’re too out of his league.
I think being able to act like others when the situation calls for it is very helpful. We’ll always feel most comfortable on here though.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Freak-Z Thursday, March 15 @ 13:00:04 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Why are there so many pics? oh wait never mind….
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by rondeau Thursday, March 15 @ 13:03:14 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) My use of this metaphor started quite young. My interest was that one does need to function and/or get anything done in this or any society. My interest was not to change myself or make myself more acceptable for others not like me. Quite frankly, I had sufficient data to satisfy me that their goings on were inefficient, way too self centered, and contained way too much unnecessary drama. However, in order to get what I want out of life, I would have to learn how to at least appear like the sheep on this planet. (quote: humans are the only species that claims a god, but acts like there isn?t one.) So the role playing model was very beneficial in somewhat fitting in. Of course, you could dig your heels in and hold out for what might be perceived as fair?good luck with that. Take for example GIRLS who represent the largest oppressed group on the planet. Options for them have only come forward in the last fifty years. Throughout history they had a choice to submit or not and depending what country, ?not? was met with varying degrees of exclusion including exclusion from the planet. So I?m a strong believer that we can be ourselves and develop functionality among those that are so not like us?LOL.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Voyageress Thursday, March 15 @ 15:39:24 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I’ve kinda skimmed most of the comments posted, but they seem to be either an attack on Maja’s appearance or a typical male response on her looks. Come on – stop having a go. One major issue that Aspergirls are up against on a daily basis is that their behaviour doesn’t match up to the social expectations of their appearance. In my own experience, even though I match the social norms of beauty, it’s my behaviour that marks me as ‘abnormal’. On first meeting (whether in a social or work situations) people expect me to behave in a certain way. After several interactions my differences become blatantly obvious. And then when I did see a specialist in AS and autism they said I didn’t look like a person with either condition citing Wendy Lawson as an example. No disrespect to Wendy, but I am more like Rudy Simone (and this expert had not heard of her). Regardless of how we look on the scale of perceived attractiveness, us Aspergirls are up against a constant struggle of societal norms that affect every one of us every single day.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by zzmondo Thursday, March 15 @ 15:52:39 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Great article! I’ve always thought that there was a hard time between communication of aspies and neurotypicals. I like what you are doing. I’m communicating with more neurotypicals as well and am trying to be around more people and feel comfortable.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Caugustus Thursday, March 15 @ 15:58:25 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I really dislike the language metaphor of interacting with NT. From my own experience, communicating with NTs was acting. I would invent a NT character. While my character had success with people, it was still a character; it was never me. Eventually the curtains would close, the show would end and my aspie self would go home alone. Night after night, people would applaud my NT character but day after day my aspie self was ignored and alone. Language (and culture) is an artificial human creation to classify others as “different” It is largely used to justify war, unfair dealings and various -isms. If you take away language Danes and Americans are both human beings. They have the same emotional, physical and metal needs. Ultimately, the language difference is as limiting as a change of clothes (okay, its a little harder, but my point stays the same.) Aspies/ autistics however are fundamentally different. (Almost a different species as opposed to a different language or culture) Even if we do learn the language or change the clothes, on the inside we are still aspies. We still will have connection issues. An Aspie who can not make friends or connect with people will not connect or make any real friends no matter what language he or she speaks, be it Danish, English, NT, Aspie or even Klingon.
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(User Info | Send a Message) Writing research reports for nike ctr360 maestri or work is often found far more difficult than it need so be. The following article offers some excellent advice on how to make the task easier and the report more impressive and effective. Whether you write a research nike mercurial black for a college professor or for a demanding boss in your profession, the author’s advice will put you well on your way to becoming a skillful report writer. A surprising amount of his time as a student and nike mercurial vapor superfly is spent reporting the results of one’s research projects for presentation to teachers, managers, and clients. Indeed, without basic research skills and the ability to present research results clearly and nike mercurial vapor 3, an individual will encounter many obstacles in school and on the job. The need for some research-writing ability is felt nearly equally by college students in all cheap nike mercurial, engineering and science as well as business and the humanities. Graduate study often makes great demands on the students-writing skills, and most professions continue the demand; education, advertising and nike ctr360 maestri elite, economics and accounting, science and engineering, psychology, anthropology, the arts, and agriculture may all require regular reporting of research data. The standard research report, regardless of mercurial victory fg or the intended reader, contains four major sections. These sections may be broken down into a variety of subsections, and they may be arranged in a variety of ways, but they regularly make up adidas f50 of the report. Problem Section. The first required section of a research report is the statement of the problem with which the research project is concerned. This section requires a precise statement of the underlying question which adizero f50 prime has set out to answer. In this same section there should be an explanation of the significance — social, economic, medical, psychological, educational. Why adidas f50 leather was worth conducting. PZZ
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by whiteflower Thursday, March 29 @ 18:40:54 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) really good article, I can totally relate I’ve felt so different from most people and still do. It is important for Nts to be informed and so we have to be able to tell them about who we are and our experiences.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by melisa27 Thursday, April 05 @ 11:00:16 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) I give you props for posting and spreading the message loud an clear about possibilities with those more open-minded. Sadly most individuals whom are both genders still lack the respect of there fellow Nt peers and the community itself. And I’m so sick of disclosing myself most of the people whom worked with me suggest that I SHOULD but I say “screw your opinion” if we all want to be liked for whom we ‘really’ are then these people that we have an interest in shall be entitled.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by BeauZa Friday, April 13 @ 22:24:54 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I’ve watched a sprinkling of your videos here and there; your English vocabulary is so stellar that you could’ve tricked me into thinking you were American.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by LouG Thursday, April 19 @ 20:49:17 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) Pretty amazing ability to communicate. I was getting goose pimples. I haven’t listened to your song yet, computer speakers are shot. probably tomorrow but if your singing is anything like your posts, wow. thank you
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by RobotGreenAlien2 Monday, April 23 @ 19:18:08 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) It’s an 99% NT world. Moaning wont change that. Many actualy do want to understand but you have to help them. I don’t see it as burying who I am. I see it as translating myself to bring out who I am quirks and all.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Seventh Wednesday, April 25 @ 04:49:39 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I didn’t find out about Aspergers until last year and was diagnosed last year. Until I understood this aspect of myself I spent an enormous amounts of energy throughout my whole life trying to understand, conform and fit in with neurotypicals. The biggest con is that it is, above all, very very mentally exhausting.
This is the right attitude. My only question is how to act around curebies? (I can’t stand them).
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Givemetaco Wednesday, May 09 @ 18:18:31 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Wow, you are unique and incredible. I’ve done some similar stuff. I do songwriting too on my electric and classical guitar. I don’t sing too much. I’m a 16-year old kid and I’ve been diagnosed about when I was 11. How I get NT’s to speak “aspie” to me: I can’t. I have to speak NT. But what really helped was sports, travel and empathy. I joined the track team 3 months ago and I’ve been able to communicate easily with them. I understand if they are talking about some sports team or even some musicians or places we have traveled. Seriously, almost everybody on my track team that I talk about can’t tell if I am an Aspie.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by TrudyG Saturday, May 12 @ 12:54:50 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Quite liked this article. I think it’s very true, and brings up a good point about “conforming to” versus “communicating with”. The goal is communication. Also have to say that the song attached to this article is quite nice; I enjoyed listening to it. Thank you! And as your first reply said, thank you for working on building the communication between ASD and NT communities.

View the original article here

Does Your Child Play Well With Others? Boosting Their Social Success

Waste Stream 10 Detail Children Playing

Does Your Child Play Well With Others? Boosting Their Social Success

Establishing social relationships is one of the earliest milestones children of school age achieve. These interactions begin to build what will be their lifelong socialization habits. Learning how to meet new people, make friends, and get along with others are all critical skills.

Some children, however, are challenged more than others in this important area of life. If you recognize that your child is struggling with making friends and sustaining connections, you can implement strategies to help them succeed socially.

Use these techniques to help your child learn important social skills that will serve them well their entire life:

1. Establish and maintain open communication. Provide plenty of verbal encouragement to help your child build confidence in social interactions.

2. Keep your eyes open. Notice how your child relates to other children in the neighborhood, at school and during extracurricular activities.

* Does he seem excessively shy? Does he stand alone, waiting for others to approach him? Or do classmates make efforts but he doesn’t respond? You can gather information about your child’s social life simply by observing him in the presence of peers.

* When your child performs socially appropriate behavior, mention it later. Say something like, “It was nice of you to offer a cookie to Jim today.” Reinforce any positive actions you observed.

3. Set up a play date at your house. Talk with your child first about inviting a friend to come over to play. For example, you could start the conversation by asking her opinion, like, “Sally, would you like for Patty to come over to play Saturday morning?”

* Sally will most likely say, “Yes.” If she says “no,” inquire about why she doesn’t want Patty to come over.

* Arrange the play date with the other parent(s). To ensure the kids won’t get bored or tired, avoid making the first one too long. Depending on your child’s age, 1-2 hours should be adequate. Have some snacks on hand.

4. Ask your child the day before the play date how she’d like to spend the time. This conversation prompts her to consider activities she’d enjoy. Allow her to choose the activity as long as it’s safe, inside your home or in your yard, and is feasible (consider the weather).

* If your child doesn’t offer an idea, be encouraging and say, “I’m sure the two of you will come up with something fun to do.” Refrain from micro-managing the play date, if possible.

* This conversation plants the idea that when we have friends over, we share time doing something fun that we both enjoy. Also, she learns that being a friend requires some effort. Posing the question is a subtle way to teach her how to be appropriately social.

5. Make your home a fun place for kids. Doing so might boost your child’s social life. Do you have a family room with a television, DVDs, a video game console, books, board games, or other kid-friendly activities?

6. Spend a bit of time helping your child clean her room. After all, don’t we get ready for company in advance? These efforts illustrate for kids how friends behave and how social relationships are conducted.

7. When the play date occurs, leave the children to their own devices. Usually, two kids can figure out how to spend time. Check on them often to ensure they’re relating well. Intervene only when necessary (if play is too rowdy or loud or one or both kids seem bored).

* Your child will begin building confidence about social relationships after just one successful play date.

Preparing your child for social relationships can be fun for all and quite rewarding. These parenting techniques are fairly simple and yield beautiful results. Help your child learn to interact with others in a positive and meaningful way as they start to explore the world outside your home.

View the original article here

Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical

Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical
Posted on Tuesday, March 13 @ 19:20:31 EDT by Social Skills I met Maja (and a lot of other cool aspies) while speaking in ?rhus, Denmark at the AspIT conference. This is her first column:

Hi, I?m Maja and I live in Copenhagen, Denmark and I?m a 25 year old woman diagnosed with Asperger?s. I?m a singer/songwriter and a student.

I always knew I was different and started learning social skills before I was even diagnosed. When I was 12, I realized that I wanted to be a part of the world and started to mimic and learn social skills from others. Most of my social skills, however, come from character based roleplaying.

Many other aspies say that I bend to the will of NT society, by acting as if I am an NT. I, of course, don’t think so because I only act NT when the situation calls for it. But let’s start at the beginning. . . .

Read on. . .

Listen to a song by Maja entitled “That Moment”: ?????

I’ll keep my story somewhat short, in order to get to the point. Like many other aspies, I’ve known since very early childhood that I was not like the other kids. I ?ve felt different, weird, and it truly does feel like being on the wrong planet. For everyone else, the expectation that I behave as them was natural, and for me, impossible. I’m fairly sure that any aspie will know what it’s like.

I think I first realized this when I was three or four years old.

I never went to special schools, or had any help. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16. So not only did others expect me to act ?normal?, I expected it of myself. It wasn’t until I was 12 or 13 that I realized that I would have to really work for it, if I was going to achieve it. Also, it wasn’t until then that I started wanting to be a part of society, after years of being bullied by classmates and teachers.

So I worked at it. I observed, tried to repeat what the others did and I failed miserably.

When I was 17 or so I got invited to play a roleplaying game, which has since become much more focused on character play than anything else. And that is where I really learnt something.

I see it as speaking two languages. To use a metaphor, I speak Danish and English. Danish is my native language, it’s the language I grew up speaking. Danish is good to be able to speak, because even though it’s a small country, it’s where I live. The relatively small number of Danish-speaking people, mostly prefer to speak Danish. And many of them don’t know English very well.

But lots of people in the world speak english, and most of them don’t know how to speak a word of danish. However, because I speak english so well, I’m able to share ideas with other people who speak English and befriend them. I’m able to translate danish for them, and even ? with those who are willing ? am able to teach them a bit of danish.

It’s exactly the same with the languages ?NT? and ?aspie?. There are lots of aspies in the world, but most people are NT’s. What I want to do with my life is reach out to the NT’s and teach them to speak a bit of ?aspie?.

I’m aware that many who are on the spectrum, have had horrible experiences with NT’s, and many see non-autistics as horrible people. We want to avoid them as much as possible. But the reason we have horrible experiences with NTs, isn’t necessarily because they or we are horrible people. It’s just that we have such a hard time communicating.

And that’s what I’m doing. I’ve learnt to communicate with neurotypicals. It gives them benefits ? because I’m slowly teaching them a new language that will make a few situations (or many) much easier, because they now understand a bit of what’s going on. And it gives me benefits ? because I’m able to tell them what I want, and need from them. I’m able to make friends with them.

And the NT friends I’ve made, have learnt to speak so much ?aspie?, that I no longer have to speak ?NT? with them if I don’t want to.

So it’s not about conforming to the NT way, it’s about communicating with them. And being able to communicate makes my life easier.

Maja started writing songs when she was 9 and released her debut album, Live, Acoustic & Stripped less than a year ago. She has also released quite a few singles, available online.

Listen to Maja’s Music on Myspace and check her out on Facebook. and check out her music channel on Youtube.

Maja also has a youtube channel where she talks about Asperger’s and Autism.
               
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Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 2, Interesting)
by sunshower Tuesday, March 13 @ 20:59:49 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I like your article! We have a lot in common. I often have used the same “languages” metaphor for speaking Aspie versus NT, and had a lot of the same things happen at the same ages you listed here. I am a singer and songwriter also.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 0, Flamebait)
by aussiebloke Tuesday, March 13 @ 21:17:42 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Where are all the ugly, overweight and uneducated autistics who are also loathed by their family’s? Seems they don’t exist in autiverse. Another one to make the loser Autistics feel like &*^% Is that the point of autism TV ?
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Briana_Lopez Tuesday, March 13 @ 22:23:44 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Your story in a way kind of sounds like mine! For the most part, I’ve learned to understand NT’s just by observing them and fixing each of my mistakes. And you’re a really talented singer! I might just have to be your new #1 fan 😀
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 3, Informative)
by techstepgenr8tion Tuesday, March 13 @ 22:43:37 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I don’t agree with people who feel like its flat out shameful or supplicant to meet NT’s halfway or to behave like one around them. Like you I spent most of my life checking my subtle behaviors, seeing what I could fix, bend, manipulate, rearrange, etc.. I don’t think it was until I was 20 that I really started understanding the NT mindset in a more comprehensive way and how to put on sort of a….facsimile?…. ie. something to express my thoughts and intentions in a way that they’d understand it. I went through a funny experience as well – ie. I was dx’d at 11, got a horrible message from the doctors about my future, had guy friends who essentially helped save me from the mess that I was in and by 19 or 20 I had a spell where my believe that I had anything was essentially revoked. Around that time I truly believed that if I really took a close look at the NT’s around me that I’d see traits that I liked, traits that reminded me of my best self, and that there was essentially an NT ‘me’ inside that just hadn’t had the plaster chipped away. Like anyone else on spectrum who has a while of thinking that, I found out that’s not the case, however I did learn a great deal from a lot of the rigors that I put myself through on it. IMHO its a really complicated world, NT’s have enough trouble understanding each other as it is, people have patience that are worn thin by a souring global economy and all kinds of other strange things going on, not to mention whatever hours they need to put in. They really might not have much left over for us in that sense and it seems like the better we can fend for ourselves and the better we can phrase ourselves their way on their turf the more likely it is that we can succeed, not only at life but making our case on what ASD is and what its about (effective communication skills are critical here).

Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Agemaki Wednesday, March 14 @ 01:05:06 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I think I’ve always liked to role-play but I don’t see it as a way of fitting in or learning to communicate with others. I’ve found that people aren’t as mean as they were in junior high/high school. I’m not attacked or the target of verbal aggression at least. I still don’t have much interest in making friends with most of my peers even though they are now relatively nice to me. I think a lot of this is because I prefer intellectual discussions and the sharing of ideas to other forms of discussion. I do enjoy meeting and sometimes befriending people with whom I can share ideas. Still, looking normal is just something I never think about. Some people will yell rude things at me when I use my umbrella on sunny days but I’m learning to have a stronger sense of self, placing my own visual comfort before a cultural concept of the proper and improper times to use umbrellas. Living in Japan also helped with that, since my tendency to avoid exposure to sunlight looked completely normal there. As I’ve learned more about variations on proper behavior from one culture to another I’ve come to see concepts of normalcy to be somewhat fluid and thereby I feel less bound to conform to the views of the culture that I happened to be born into.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by CyclopsSummers Wednesday, March 14 @ 02:01:59 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) While I appreciate her initiative of trying to bridge the gap of communication between autistics and non-autistics, because I think mutual understanding is very important per individual situation, I should also wish the distinction between autistic/not autistic would not be presented as a binary thing. I say this because, aside from auties and aspies, there are still many others who aren’t autistic but struggle in their own way in this world, for example people with ADD, epilepsy, chronic migraines, Tourette’s, et cetera, some of which may also overlap with autism. I think the world isn’t taylor-made for anyone, and while it absolutely isn’t too much to ask that other people show some consideration and understanding toward us, it also goes the other way, and communication is honestly different on an individual level. Diffuse, not binary. This being said I repeat that I like Maja’s take on autism in general, and her apparent proactive stance in ‘dealing’ with it, for lack of a better word. So, I’ll hope she’ll get far with making music.

Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by jojobean Wednesday, March 14 @ 02:51:00 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I feel the same way, and had similar experiences. I can speak both NT and Autie (I am an autie, not an aspie) and I have learned the dance the social dance through observation and trial and many errors. I also agree that this does not make me any less autistic than hearing aids make me less deaf. Yes hearing aids help me hear, but the deafness is still part of me. I take my hearing aids out and I am deaf again. I use communication tools likewise to help me “hear” NT. When I hear better, I speak better. Also I like to see myself as a bridge between Aspie/Autie and NT. Jojo
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by MathGirl Wednesday, March 14 @ 04:10:28 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) I can’t really identify much. I grew up not knowing about my diagnosis, either. I think my parents wanted to hide it from me for a purpose. But I was never really able to learn to fit in to this extent. I can act somewhat normal for, maybe, an hour, but I still don’t connect with people and then I go home and I’m utterly exhausted for the rest of the day. I don’t feel it’s worth it and I hate it. I despise this acting with all of my heart. Being able to be my true self is what I am fighting for. I feel like I have the right to be myself provided that I am respectful to other people, have genuine intentions, and contribute positively to the society. I am wary of getting close to NTs because I can’t read them. They often respond to my questions in a very vague, roundabout way. I am easy to take advantage of. I guess my brain just can’t take the concept of a nonverbal cue and generalize it to other situations. I still have trouble processing the concept of different minds, too, and it’s not something I can think of in a fluid social situation. I tend to be really deep in my head and I revel in my thoughts as I express them to people verbally. I enjoy reciprocal verbal interactions as long as they are not full of personal questions (which feels invasive) and as long as the message is clearly conveyed… and as long as it relates to my special interest. However, putting myself in NT social situations makes me feel shitty to the core because I can’t help but sense a disconnect in my communication style from their communication style. And I’m more aware of my sensory/content-processing differences now than ever before, having had things pointed out to me directly. Which makes me even more hesitant to go down that path unless I openly present myself as autistic which takes away the burden of trying to pretend to be NT. And this has been largely successful for me so far.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Wednesday, March 14 @ 04:27:01 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I like your youtube channel. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by speaking aspie? Communicating with poor eye contact and rambling off monotone on your favorite obsessions? For me acting “aspie” for me means being mostly antisocial because I’m often muddled in confusion/uncomfortable with my settings.
Nice to meet you, Maja! I listened to your single – you’re very talented and thanks for sharing your music and your bio. I like that the Wrong Planet is featuring ‘real-live’ Aspies – we tend to break the mold, yes?
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by kojot Wednesday, March 14 @ 05:58:12 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Excellent article! Thank you. It’s kind of funny ’cause yesterday I was thinking about this stuff. That we’re more like just different cultures than anything else.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Zavaros Wednesday, March 14 @ 09:01:55 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I can really relate to what you have written, in fact, I may even use your metaphor to help explain my situation to NT’s. Thank you 🙂
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Chrism929 Wednesday, March 14 @ 11:18:52 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Intriguing, but I’d much rather learn exactly how she managed to learn what she did so that maybe I could use some of that knowledge even at this late stage in my life to communicate better with NTs. Someone commented there are different modes of acting, some more authentic than others, and that sounded very right to me. This is an subject I would like to learn more about from someone who has figured it out and I hope Maja will share more details of her learning process with us in the future. Good points were made by all those who complain of the glitz in role models here. I can share from experience that it’s a lot easier for a pretty young female to be accepted and thus navigate social channels – I’ve been there; am no longer, due to both major facial injuries and, now, age – but in my case it was a lifetime before I could have the benefit of this Different Planet sort of perspective on what I was, where other people were coming from, and what was happening. All I knew for most of my life was that inside, I was different. In retrospect much of the acceptance I had when I was young and attractive was meaningless but I didn’t understand that at the time, so many of my relationships were confusing and painful. I wasn’t vain so I didn’t understand that looks were so important to other people; I thought they liked me for who I was. Maja has done a wonderful job of working to overcome her difficulties as an Aspie, and thus feels her relationships/communications are more authentic. because of her acting efforts and learned skills. Maybe she’s right. Only she will know, with more time. But you can’t tell the young that. I found this article very interesting because I;ve often had the thought, in my life, that I wished I knew how to be an actor, so I could just manage situations and charm people without my soul being out there for anyone to take pot shots at; I never figured out how, though. My shyness kept me from exploring that as the only way I knew to study acting was to take classes. Anyway for me, it was more important to be real and I believed the two were antithetical. I always had the fortune to have one or two close friends who tolerated my eccentricities (and vice verse) so that’s what’s really gotten me through life, more any any skills like acting, no matter that I’ve always worked hard to understand what was going on with NTs. You act, of course, but perhaps learning actual acting skills would make that much easier? It’s very irritating to be confronted constantly by speakers-for-Aspies who are already successful (or present themselves as such) and, yes, glitzy and young – something most of us can never be even if we tried, and while the glitz can be maintained (at what cost?) the youth will go and then you get a very different view of life as people will treat you very differently. But, again, you can’t tell the young that. So, again, I hope Maja will give some practical tips on how she got where she is, communications-wise, that might be useful for others to try out.
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by Awiddershinlife Wednesday, March 14 @ 13:02:11 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I really do not see how a polarizing topic such as ?Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical? can be helpful to anyone. After all ?only a Sith deals in absolutes (Obi-Wan Kenobi)?. ?Many other aspies say that I bend to the will of NT society, by acting as if I am an NT? I assume that Maja?s critics must be ?acting Aspie? to engender such sentiment. Why are any of us acting? Other than it taking a lifetime of seeking wisdom, what is wrong with any of us simply becoming more authentic yet flexible enough to share this world with others while maintaining a measure of contentedness? Why would we begrudge Maja or any of our fellow aspies SUCCESS? My diagnosis has never gotten me an iota of assistance or compassion, so I have learned through many tough lessons that the world will not bow down to my specific needs, though I have learned to negotiate to get them reasonably well while remaining truly and uniquely me. It has taken me nearly 60 years to get this far, but I am glad to be on this pathway. I agree that ?It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society (Jiddu Krishnamurti)?, but until I win a lottery big enough for me to totally isolate myself from any part of society that does not suit me (and I do buy lottery tickets to that end), I need to deal. One of the reasons I don?t hang tight with the Aspie community is that I have felt a strong expectation of conformity to ideas, politics, behavior, attitudes. Expression of differing viewpoints is generally not well tolerated. Could this be core to the accusations against Maja? I have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome twice, once by a state mental health organization, then by a university researcher. It has helped me in my journey toward self-enlightenment, but it is not my identity. I remain a unique individual who totally embraces Aunt Frances Owens exclamation, ?My darling girl, when are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage (Practical Magic)! So Maja is not a ?normal? aspie any more than she is a ?normal? NT ? She is a woman of courage and to be admired for it!
i’m going to be honest about my reaction to the article. i am slightly uneasy when i am repeatedly faced with photos that look like stereotypical fashion models when i login to WP. i am a feminist and in my own ideology i take issue with the fashion industry. so when i see WP inundated with pictures of women who fit the fashion stereotypes it seems like a recipe for aspie girls to feel bad about themselves if they don’t look like that. success in the real world is something that aspies may or may not want to aspire to, but linking it with hotness gives mixed messages. using conventionally attractive women like this as an example is a way of impressing the NT community and also giving members some eye candy. but at what cost? we have a responsibility to our members to be conscious of the image we project INWARD, not just the image we project OUTWARD. even in the comments here i see the impact – girls and women are influenced by the message and seem to see beauty as something to align themselves with. how many females would be “identifying” with this article if the writer was not attractive according to society’s standards?
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by autti34 Wednesday, March 14 @ 17:32:08 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) i have autism an never can pass for nt .i think it funny when my aspie friend think they can pass for nt as most of them cant eathir they think there playing a game call i got a sercret but usly there the only one playing that game i think most of us on the asd with autism like me or as cant pass unless there very mild an then may come off quricky .
Re: Aspie or NT? The Pros and Cons of Acting Neurotypical (Score: 1)
by minervx Wednesday, March 14 @ 21:18:00 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I congratulate Maja on her success integrating. I find it better learning how to be NT than to simply sit alone and blame NT’s for our problems.

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