Communication with Slightly Autistic People
#11
I just got up, so I'm responding as I read, hence, the many posts in a row.

I like the term "Slightly Autistic People". I am going to try to use it in my book somehow.

When I am published and rich and famous and swimming in Thinkpads (money is a means to an end), and get paid to talk to groups of people, I'll have a slide called:


Slightly
Autistic
People
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#12
(07-01-2010, 02:49 PM)Penelope Wrote: I tend to agree with you both, although I do think there can sometimes be a fine line between quirky and... disordered? That might not be the best word, but I can't think of another at the moment.
It is clear cut actually.

It is a disorder when:

DSM Wrote:The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

For the social area, I think this only applies if the individuals goals are not attainable. So, a person totally clueless about socialisation, but who doesn't care, is not disordered if they are content otherwise. However, a person with a good job and able to care for oneself, but unable to get the social contact one wants, IS disordered.

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#13
(07-01-2010, 08:04 PM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote: When I was 14, I made a decision to wear only black (and a certain style of clothing) and not cut my hairs. Being "different" externally makes it much easier to be different internally. I look different, therefore, my different personality is "normal". People tell me to cut my beard and that I'd be quite attractive (I am with it, but according to their norms, and I know my face when naked is attractive by some standards) and be able to get a girlfriend or job or whatever easier. I know though that the benefit of it outweighs that. While looking more normal would give more opportunities to start something, it would not go any further. When it comes to other people, those who can get past outward differences are more likely to accept other differences so I am not limiting myself, only saving myself the trouble.
This totally reminds me of my husband.  His dresser drawers are filled with Hanes pocket t-shirts, mostly navy blue or black, navy blue work pants, and navy blue Hanes shorts .  Other than that he will only wear a dark dress shirt(if he's going to mass) or navy blue coveralls (if he's going to work).  He has one nice pair of khakis that I insisted he buy for our wedding and he's never worn them since.  Basically, he wears exactly the same thing every single day.  His mother told me he started this as a child, refusing to wear anything but navy blue pocket T-shirts.  The teacher once sent him home with a note telling his mother that he needed more clothes, but he had drawers filled with exactly the same thing.
Quote:He likely developed depression and anxiety and probably resentment because of it. People with AS are very likely to die from this.

How is that?  Are people with AS often suicidal?
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#14
(07-01-2010, 08:27 PM)miss_fluffy Wrote: This totally reminds me of my husband.  His dresser drawers are filled with Hanes pocket t-shirts, mostly navy blue or black, navy blue work pants, and navy blue Hanes shorts .  Other than that he will only wear a dark dress shirt(if he's going to mass) or navy blue coveralls (if he's going to work).   He has one nice pair of khakis that I insisted he buy for our wedding and he's never worn them since.  Basically, he wears exactly the same thing every single day.  His mother told me he started this as a child, refusing to wear anything but navy blue pocket T-shirts.  The teacher once sent him home with a note telling his mother that he needed more clothes, but he had drawers filled with exactly the same thing.
It is more sensible than buying a bunch of different things, then "matching" them in the morning.

For most of my clothes, I get Merona brand (Target) pants, shirts, underwear, undershirts and socks. All black. I have my jackets and coats which are from other sources and I wear them for a long period. And my boots, which are usually expensive compared to the rest of my clothes and usually black leather and high. I do not like laces. It is all the same that which is visible (I have a variety of undershirts because I wear them until I cannot wear them any more, so they last longer). They are all long though. I do not go out in public with my arms, neck or legs showing. I have dressed like this since I was 14. Before that, I wore the same thing daily too, but less colour specific. Since I can always say I have a lot of clothes for those who wonder if I am wearing the same thing every day (which I do), I can also actually wear the same thing day after day for a while because it looks exactly the same anyway.

Quote:How is that?  Are people with AS often suicidal?
Severe depression has the risk of suicide for everyone. People with AS almost always develop depression.
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#15
(07-01-2010, 08:13 PM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote:
(07-01-2010, 02:49 PM)Penelope Wrote: I tend to agree with you both, although I do think there can sometimes be a fine line between quirky and... disordered? That might not be the best word, but I can't think of another at the moment.
It is clear cut actually.

It is a disorder when:

DSM Wrote:The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

For the social area, I think this only applies if the individuals goals are not attainable. So, a person totally clueless about socialisation, but who doesn't care, is not disordered if they are content otherwise. However, a person with a good job and able to care for oneself, but unable to get the social contact one wants, IS disordered.

Yeah, 'disordered' wasn't exactly the term I was looking for. How about this? There can be a fine line between quirky and behaviors that require some kind of intervention.

An example, if you will: There is a guy who attended the same university as I did. He may still be there or he may have graduated; I don't know. I had at least one class with him, my roommate had multiple classes with him, and two of my friends lived next door to him in the dorms our sophomore or junior year. He has autism. Classes with him were a nightmare. He wanted to participate, which was fine, but he dominated discussion and often got into arguments with professors, to the point where the professors would have to cut him off so that they could move on. As soon as this guy began talking, we knew that nothing else was going to get accomplished in class that day. I think some professors didn't have the heart to tell him to stop talking--no one wants to be mean to the kid with autism. Most of the time, this guy made pretty good points or demonstrated that he really did have something to add to the discussion, but his thoughts were kind of hard to follow and he just didn't know when to stop. He was also fairly condescending and generally off-putting.

He also engaged in what I imagine could fall into the category of self-stimulation. According to my friends who lived next to him, he would bang on the wall of his dorm (or maybe he was rocking his chair into the wall) until well into the night and early morning, making it difficult for his neighbors to concentrate on their schoolwork or to sleep. In addition, he either didn't seem to understand or didn't seem to care that he should bathe regularly and he would wear the same clothing for days on end. Frankly, he couldn't (or didn't) really take good care of himself. Why the university or his parents did not provide an aid for him is beyond me.

Anyway, the point is this: Are these behaviors that require intervention? I mean, who cares if he's a little grungy, right? The hippies on campus didn't really shower that often either. And so what if he can't really engage in a conversation according to societal standards or doesn't follow typical classroom etiquette? These are just quirks, right? Except that this kid's quirks negatively affected the ability of other students to learn in their classes. So does his behavior require modification? I really don't know. I think maybe yes, but it's a fine line.

Okay, so I don't know what this guy's official diagnosis is. He's definitely on the spectrum, but I don' know where. I certainly wouldn't call him high-functioning, but he definitely is verbal (verbose, even), and he can make it through a day without having a meltdown. I guess his parents and doctors considered him high-functioning enough to send him off to college by himself, at the very least.
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#16
(07-02-2010, 10:48 AM)Penelope Wrote: Anyway, the point is this: Are these behaviors that require intervention? I mean, who cares if he's a little grungy, right? The hippies on campus didn't really shower that often either. And so what if he can't really engage in a conversation according to societal standards or doesn't follow typical classroom etiquette? These are just quirks, right? Except that this kid's quirks negatively affected the ability of other students to learn in their classes. So does his behavior require modification? I really don't know. I think maybe yes, but it's a fine line.

Whether or not his behavior requires modification depends on the consequences of it.  For example, if his social difficulties make him miserably unhappy, or if he causes public disturbances that require police involvement.  He may not be personally disturbed if he's grungy but if he is unable to gain employment and has nobody to take care of his needs because if it, then yes, it does require intervention.
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#17
(07-02-2010, 11:08 AM)miss_fluffy Wrote:
(07-02-2010, 10:48 AM)Penelope Wrote: Anyway, the point is this: Are these behaviors that require intervention? I mean, who cares if he's a little grungy, right? The hippies on campus didn't really shower that often either. And so what if he can't really engage in a conversation according to societal standards or doesn't follow typical classroom etiquette? These are just quirks, right? Except that this kid's quirks negatively affected the ability of other students to learn in their classes. So does his behavior require modification? I really don't know. I think maybe yes, but it's a fine line.

Whether or not his behavior requires modification depends on the consequences of it.  For example, if his social difficulties make him miserably unhappy, or if he causes public disturbances that require police involvement.  He may not be personally disturbed if he's grungy but if he is unable to gain employment and has nobody to take care of his needs because if it, then yes, it does require intervention.

What about the effect on, say, his classmates? It isn't a disturbance that requires police involvement, but what if it is a disturbance to others trying to learn? I don't mean his hygiene. I mean his inability to use? unwillingness to use? ignorance of? proper classroom decorum. This is why I think it's a fine line--to what extent can we live and let live? To what extent do we need to intervene and make someone with "quirks" adhere to society's standards for behavior in certain circumstances?
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#18
(07-02-2010, 11:49 AM)Penelope Wrote:
(07-02-2010, 11:08 AM)miss_fluffy Wrote:
(07-02-2010, 10:48 AM)Penelope Wrote: Anyway, the point is this: Are these behaviors that require intervention? I mean, who cares if he's a little grungy, right? The hippies on campus didn't really shower that often either. And so what if he can't really engage in a conversation according to societal standards or doesn't follow typical classroom etiquette? These are just quirks, right? Except that this kid's quirks negatively affected the ability of other students to learn in their classes. So does his behavior require modification? I really don't know. I think maybe yes, but it's a fine line.

Whether or not his behavior requires modification depends on the consequences of it.  For example, if his social difficulties make him miserably unhappy, or if he causes public disturbances that require police involvement.  He may not be personally disturbed if he's grungy but if he is unable to gain employment and has nobody to take care of his needs because if it, then yes, it does require intervention.

What about the effect on, say, his classmates? It isn't a disturbance that requires police involvement, but what if it is a disturbance to others trying to learn? I don't mean his hygiene. I mean his inability to use? unwillingness to use? ignorance of? proper classroom decorum. This is why I think it's a fine line--to what extent can we live and let live? To what extent do we need to intervene and make someone with "quirks" adhere to society's standards for behavior in certain circumstances?

I think it definitely requires intervention because all the students have a right to the education that they paid for.  I think that our current cultural mindset of all-inclusiveness and equality can sometimes be a disservice to people on both sides of the issue.  I think the person you are referring to should be given instruction outside of the regular classroom on how to proceed and if unable to comply, he should be put into a classroom with others who have similar issues, or with a private tutor, so his problems with decorum can be addressed more specifically by the instructor.

I believe there is a general lack of help, or even lack of acknowledgement of the need for help for people in these circumstances in the united states and perhaps in other countries as well.  Colleges will take most people who are willing to pay and many students are pushed through despite learning disabilities or other problems.  Once this person leaves college will he find employment that is equally forgiving of his quirks?  Will he be able to foster supportive relationships with people outside of the family he grew up with?  If he is pushed through as though nothing is wrong and ends up on his own in the real world, he could end up with more problems that could indeed lead to severe distress or police involvement.
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#19
(07-02-2010, 12:07 PM)miss_fluffy Wrote: I think it definitely requires intervention because all the students have a right to the education that they paid for.  I think that our current cultural mindset of all-inclusiveness and equality can sometimes be a disservice to people on both sides of the issue.  I think the person you are referring to should be given instruction outside of the regular classroom on how to proceed and if unable to comply, he should be put into a classroom with others who have similar issues, or with a private tutor, so his problems with decorum can be addressed more specifically by the instructor.

I believe there is a general lack of help, or even lack of acknowledgement of the need for help for people in these circumstances in the united states and perhaps in other countries as well.  Colleges will take most people who are willing to pay and many students are pushed through despite learning disabilities or other problems.  Once this person leaves college will he find employment that is equally forgiving of his quirks?  Will he be able to foster supportive relationships with people outside of the family he grew up with?  If he is pushed through as though nothing is wrong and ends up on his own in the real world, he could end up with more problems that could indeed lead to severe distress or police involvement.

What you've said makes a lot of sense, and I think you've hit the nail on the head as far as "inclusiveness" is concerned. It's a major issue in Education as more and more public elementary, middle, and high schools move toward the inclusion model of education, with barely a thought to who is being done a disservice (meaning both the mainstream kids and the ones with spec ed needs).
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#20
(07-02-2010, 10:48 AM)Penelope Wrote: Yeah, 'disordered' wasn't exactly the term I was looking for. How about this? There can be a fine line between quirky and behaviors that require some kind of intervention.
"Require" in this case usually involves actual danger, not annoyance. If a person is a danger to oneself or others, then intervention is required.

If one is annoying than it is up to them. If one doesn't care or know one is annoying, then it really doesn't matter. Plenty of people are annoying.

Quote:An example, if you will: There is a guy who attended the same university as I did. He may still be there or he may have graduated; I don't know. I had at least one class with him, my roommate had multiple classes with him, and two of my friends lived next door to him in the dorms our sophomore or junior year. He has autism. Classes with him were a nightmare. He wanted to participate, which was fine, but he dominated discussion and often got into arguments with professors, to the point where the professors would have to cut him off so that they could move on. As soon as this guy began talking, we knew that nothing else was going to get accomplished in class that day. I think some professors didn't have the heart to tell him to stop talking--no one wants to be mean to the kid with autism.
This is not unique. Many "normal" people can do this or worse. Do they require intervention? Just because a person with autism happens to have some trait, it shouldn't be treated differently from other people. If one is forcing a person to change because they have autism, they have a crowd of normal people with the same trait.

SAPs do not need to be perfect any more than anyone else. They can be annoying, funny smelling and quirky without needing their rights restricted.

Quote:He also engaged in what I imagine could fall into the category of self-stimulation. According to my friends who lived next to him, he would bang on the wall of his dorm (or maybe he was rocking his chair into the wall) until well into the night and early morning, making it difficult for his neighbors to concentrate on their schoolwork or to sleep. In addition, he either didn't seem to understand or didn't seem to care that he should bathe regularly and he would wear the same clothing for days on end. Frankly, he couldn't (or didn't) really take good care of himself. Why the university or his parents did not provide an aid for him is beyond me.
Public nuisance or whatever can be dealt with as any other. In this same dorm, people were bring girls/guys over, leaving dirty dishes out and listening to music and playing video games and at least one other person was not happy about it. It is the nature of a dorm.

As for not bathing a lot and wearing the same clothes, this sort of describes a large population of college males I think. It isn't a crime.

Quote:Anyway, the point is this: Are these behaviors that require intervention? I mean, who cares if he's a little grungy, right? The hippies on campus didn't really shower that often either. And so what if he can't really engage in a conversation according to societal standards or doesn't follow typical classroom etiquette? These are just quirks, right? Except that this kid's quirks negatively affected the ability of other students to learn in their classes. So does his behavior require modification? I really don't know. I think maybe yes, but it's a fine line.
If the school did not want him to be there, there were measures. Also, keep in mind that not all autistic people are like this, Chances are, at least one professor was a SAP, and there were likely more SAPs there which didn't get this attention.

This behaviour does require modification if one has goals which require it, but as it is, it isn't illegal or dangerous, so it is freedom. In my book about communication, I point out that the book is to help people communicate, but I do not have assumptions of motive. Leading a horse to water and all that right?

Quote:Okay, so I don't know what this guy's official diagnosis is. He's definitely on the spectrum, but I don' know where. I certainly wouldn't call him high-functioning, but he definitely is verbal (verbose, even), and he can make it through a day without having a meltdown.
That is high functioning. If he can talk and living on his own, that is high functioning when autism is concerned.

Rainman was high functioning for a reference point.

Quote: I guess his parents and doctors considered him high-functioning enough to send him off to college by himself, at the very least.
He was high functioning; very high functioning. He may have had Asperger's Syndrome by your description.

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