Tag Archives: hate of interruptions

To Pass or Not to Pass…

This post is inspired by The Myth of Passing by Cynthia Kim, and The Lie of Social Skills Training by Jodie Van.

Because passing is a myth. So often what we’re doing when we’re passing is simply keeping a lid on our natural tendencies. And sometimes we’re not even doing it very well.

The Myth of Passing by Cynthia Kim of Musings of an Aspie


Cartoon blue pony with rainbow mane and tail walks a tightrope between cliffs
Image: “Tightrope Walk” by Orfearus

What does it mean to pass?

“Passing for normal” if you have a disability, means to mask your disability enough so that so called normal people don’t notice it. For example, if you are deaf but so skilled at lip-reading + hard working at getting by that people forget or don’t realise you are deaf, you’re passing.

They may instead think you are weird though, if they presume that you can hear what they can hear, and think you “ignore” information selectively or even worse, that you are playing social games with them.

Worst of all, if you tried to compete on equal terms in a hearing world as deaf you’d work hundred times harder than everyone else and still not or barely do as well as them on their terms. You’d be in a constant battle to try to piece together information from disorganised bits and hang on to the shared hearing-reality with your fingernails while your errors accumulated. And if you were to work that hard everyday to just try to meet basic expectations, you’d probably soon burn out.

With deafness, the problem is obvious and no one really expects a deaf person to compete with the hearing in a hearing world. No one expects a blind person to pretend to be able to see either.

With Aspergers/high functioning autism which is what Cynthia wrote about, the situation is complex, because many autistic adults are capable of appearing normal and social – to “pass as normal”, at least some of the time and in certain situations.

Jodie has in The Lie of Social Skills Trainin listed some of some key factors that make it difficult for aspies/autistics to socialise on normal terms:

  • sensory processing lag meaning you can’t process the conversation fast enough to keep up
  • trouble turning visual or abstract thoughts into words
  • literal-mindedness leading to misunderstandings
  • lack of executive function for keeping track of social engagements and who’s who
  • reduced amount of energy available for socialising, because so much is drained processing sensory input
  • not necessarily having the same pop-culture grounding as others, thanks to our often eccentric skills and areas of interest

Any one of those things could get in the way of socialising effectively, even for the most socially adept person. Most people on the spectrum have several of those things going on, and some of us have all of them.

The Lie of Social Skills Training by Jodie Van of Letters from Aspergia

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The Ability to Relate to People as Persons

Just while I felt good about the interestingness of perspective taking, I came across this post* by Sam of Postcards from the edge of the Spectrum, which was inspired by below quote:

To refer to ADHD as inattention is to refer to Autism as hand flapping and speaking funny – they are the most obvious symptoms of a failure to develop the ability to relate to others as special objects, as human and that is what Autism really is underneath – the rest of it is just the most superficial set of symptoms.

ADHD expert Dr. Russell Barkley, quoted in #Autism A failure to recognize! by Sam of Postcards from the edge of the Spectrum.

Sam qualified Dr. Russell Barkley’s statement with the word “consistently” Continue reading

The power of blogging (and the barriers)

This post is inspired by Blogging and Vulnerability by Andraya from Aspergers and Me, and Writing is Communication Too by Cynthia from Musings of an Aspie.

The power of blogging

A while ago, Cynthia of Musings of an Aspie wrote a great post about writing that got me thinking. She explained why she needs to write in order to shape her thoughts and communicate with others and herself, and she talks about how starting to write her blog has empowered her in her life and improved her relationships with her family and herself.

I’ve been thinking about the fact that I need to write too for the very same reasons Cynthia describes.  I can also see that writing this blog is very important to me, and I’m disappointed that I’m not keeping it up like the great bloggers whose posts I enjoy reading.

In Blogging and VulnerabilityAndraya writes about the positive impact blogging has on her life, and reflects about what it takes to write a great blog*. She reasons that the best blog authors dare to ‘put themselves out there’ and be vulnerable; and that it makes their readers able to connect with them and trust them.

The power of virtual socialising

My pen name increasingly seems like ‘the realest** me’. My virtual life  helps me to grow in all aspects of my life. The Internet is where I can express complex thoughts and feelings because I can do it the way that suits me best – in writing. On the Internet, solitude and social life aren’t enemies. And it gives me opportunity to connect with an audience*** that makes sense to me.
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