kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
[personal profile] kaberett
Some of the ways in which I modify my behaviour, consciously or unconsciously, when around allistic folk:
  • I try to suppress stimming (flapping and rocking are most common for me)
  • I try to make people at least feel like I'm making eye contact (not an issue when they're talking because I'm lip-reading; more of an issue when I'm talking)
  • I reflect body language, accent and mode of communication (e.g. ask/offer)
  • I check in regularly about whether I am talking too much or too loudly, or being boring
  • I pay a great deal of conscious attention to reciprocity (if someone asks me how I am, and I reply in detail, then my assumption is that obviously this indicates interest and is an invitation to them to respond in kind; apparently that is not actually how allistic people work???)
  • I put effort into making sure I'm providing enough context/explanation, and making explicit trains of thought that produce apparent jumps in conversational topic
  • I have to think really quite hard about humour, and making humour identifiable
Probably more stuff, but that's what I've come up with over the course of this evening in conversation with t'housemate.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'd assumed that only really low functioning allistics didn't have to think about all that: I certainly modify my behaviour in all the ways you describe except stimming which I just do because people expect parents to rock. Your last entry was an apt description of me too, I think I am perhaps an unusually high functioning allistic?

(Ghoti)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-29 11:43 pm (UTC)
redbird: SF Bay bridges, during rebuilding (bay bridges)
From: [personal profile] redbird
On the fifth point, about detailed answers to "how are you?" the short answer is "that isn't usually, or reliably, how allistic people work."

OK, I hope the rest of this makes sense, even though it's a bit disjointed:

In more detail, part of what's going on there with people responding differently when you tell them how you are is that some allistic people are more self-centered than others*. So some people might take your answer as "here's what's going on in my life, now it's your turn" and tell you their recent news after hearing yours even if you didn't explicitly ask. But there are enough people who want to talk about themselves, but don't want to hear about other people, that a long answer to "how are you" that doesn't end with "and how are you?" may be read as the speaker only wanting an audience, not an exchange of information.

I suspect that the reciprocal interchange you describe, with the other person then telling you in detail about how they are, may be more likely with an allistic person who meant "How are you?" as not much different from "hello," and was expecting at most one brief piece of news or a short description of your mood, but who likes talking about themself and sees an opportunity.

It's very hard to build a communications protocol that is robust to entities that don't want to follow the protocol. I was going to say "people who don't want to communicate," but there are emergency systems which are supposed to be close to broadcast-only: the building alarm system is designed to take the input "something is wrong," send out painfully loud and bright alarm signals, and not take any other input except "OK, stop now" from specific people. It's not going to answer "what's wrong?" from the inhabitants of the building, let alone accept "you've gone off fifteen times this term, I don't believe there's a problem, shut up."

*I suspect that this is also true among autistic people, but I know less about that.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 02:47 am (UTC)
syntaxofthings: Souseiseki from Rozen Maiden looking wistfully to the edge of the screen. ([rozen maiden] wistful Souseiseki)
From: [personal profile] syntaxofthings
I'm allistic and all of this is really confusing to me. I work on the assumption that "(if someone asks me how I am, and I reply in detail, then my assumption is that obviously this indicates interest and is an invitation to them to respond in kind; apparently that is not actually how allistic people work???)" ... and I get confused by people, like, all the time.

Therefore: maybe the question "how are you" is just a ridiculously huge waste of time.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 10:19 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
IME most of the time if someone says "how are you?" they mean "hello, I am making polite noises, please make some polite noises, then we can move on to the topic I actually had in mind". The "correct" polite noises appear to be a short (preferably single work) positive or neutral 'answer' and "and you?" (to show that you are open to reciprocal exchange of polite noises).

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 10:22 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
Oh, and if it is a person who probably actually wants to know... I think that if someone answered a genuine "how are you?" with a long Tale Of Woe then I would think that the next step would be me comiserating/consoling/attempting-to-help; it would feel very rude to respond to their Tale Of Woe with my own unless they said "and how was *your* day?" because that'd feel a bit like Competitive Complaining.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 03:32 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
I read this as [personal profile] kaberett giving an answer that was more "well, it's been a hard few days at the lab, because X, but my garden is doing really well, and I think I'm going to plant some more herbs this weekend if I can get to the garden shop…" so detailed but not especially woeful.

Yes, if it's "Oh, I'm so glad you asked, because my back is acting up again, and the doctor did a bunch of tests but isn't sure what's wrong, and these pills aren't working very well, and also I'm worried about my mother in the hospital with what might be pneumonia but I can't really go visit her right now because…" series of problems, the appropriate response would be either sympathy or an offer of help. Maybe (I'm not the best at this stuff myself) that would include "oh, I know, back problems are so hard, would you like the name of my doctor" but not a recitation of the first inquirer's problems at similar length, for the reasons you say.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 01:00 am (UTC)
boxofdelights: (Default)
From: [personal profile] boxofdelights
It really does take a heck of a lot of work. You might get a laugh-of-sympathy out of this: http://boxofdelights.dreamwidth.org/9360.html

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 06:47 am (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
I pay a great deal of conscious attention to reciprocity (if someone asks me how I am, and I reply in detail, then my assumption is that obviously this indicates interest and is an invitation to them to respond in kind; apparently that is not actually how allistic people work???)

As a mostly allistic person my take on it is that allistic people differ on this, because there are varying cultural rules and individual comfort levels around talking about personal stuff and also varying rules and comfort levels about what is OK to say if not explicitly invited.

Making the invitation to respond in kind explicit is usually an appropriate thing to do.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] flippac
Leading to my sometimes-answer of "shite - how 'bout you?"

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 07:22 am (UTC)
silverhare: drawing of a grey hare (actually autistic - unpuzzled project [a)
From: [personal profile] silverhare
*nodnod* I recognise doing all of these. I also have to resist the first thing that comes into my head to say. So, for instance -

ELDERLY CUSTOMER: Do you serve porridge?
ME: *thinks - porridge -> fairy tale of old woman and cooking pot -> everlasting porridge* If only we had a cooking pot, eh?
CUSTOMER: *confused*
ME: I'll show you where the porridge is.

I have worked retail for nearly four years, and I just have to kind of... suppress all the natural things about me.

I pay a great deal of conscious attention to reciprocity (if someone asks me how I am, and I reply in detail, then my assumption is that obviously this indicates interest and is an invitation to them to respond in kind; apparently that is not actually how allistic people work???)
It has taken decades of conscious effort to try to remember to say "And how are you?" and it's still something I regularly forget.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 11:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Also also, knitting is good stimming if you like fine motor control stim stuff, and noone complains too much if you give up on looking at them and start counting instead, which is awesome because numbers.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 02:17 pm (UTC)
lizcommotion: hands offering chocolate surrounded by golden light - offered to you! (chocolate for you)
From: [personal profile] lizcommotion
This is another list where I think my brain doc misread my social skills the other day. It takes so much f*ing effort to act like what-doesn't-make-people-respond-negatively. Rgh.

In other words, thank you for posting this.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 05:24 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: harbor seal's head with caption "seal of approval" (Approval)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Indeed. Listed together it's even more valuable than its elements.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-01 05:09 am (UTC)
quirkytizzy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quirkytizzy
The having to repress stimming thing must be incredibly hard. The whole psychological/biological brain/body connection thing. Is it often something you do without realizing you're doing? I can see where it would be upsetting to others, or at least shocking and thus you would want to work on that. But I always thought it was like a comfort thing? Is it?

My ex mother in law used to work with special needs kids. Some of them stimmed and she was horrified that other people would do things like grab their hands and hold them to stop the stimming (or bear hug them to stop rocking or whatever.) She said the kids did that out of some kind of emotional and intellectual need, and that using physical force to stop them showed them that they were not acceptable. It didn't actually address the behavior.

Is that true?

"I put effort into making sure I'm providing enough context/explanation, and making explicit trains of thought that produce apparent jumps in conversational topic"

I have this issue as well. It's why I like writing so much - I can fill in all the gaps. Revision and editing is a wonderful thing for those of us who tend to play games of Telephone in our heads.

How are you working on this? I would love to hear your thoughts and applications.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-01 04:30 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Goodness, that's a lot of work.

Something that might help with regard to "how are you?" and responses to: Most allistic people perform an intimacy assessment of the person asking and the social situation before delivering a response. Low-intimacy people will usually receive a short reply indicating general health, regardless of reality. High-intimacy people in a low-intimacy seeing may receive more details, but not a full recollection, possibly laced with hints about whether things are going very well or very poorly. High-intimacy people in high-intimacy settings will likely receive the full disclosure. The invitation to reciprocate is anyways appended, regardless of intimacy, and even if the person responding has zero interest in hearing the actual response.

Allistic people can become uncomfortable if they receive a response of greater intimacy than what they were expecting ("oversharing"), or offended if they receive a response of lower intimacy than they were expecting.

I hope that helps explain the weird social customs of the allistic.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-05 06:14 am (UTC)
calissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calissa
Speaking as an allistic person, this fits in with my experience. Eloquently put.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-05 07:09 am (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Thank you. I had to think about it for a little while before zeroing in on what I thought was the critical variable.

I forgot to mention: To the best of my knowledge, I'm allistic, in case it matters.

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
kaberett

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