Social interaction

The social difficulties and anxieties associated with having Asperger’s made the already challenging ask of studying at a higher level that bit more difficult and draining.  In order to cope and manage my workload I often cut myself off from my peers.

Area of Asperger’s Syndrome Example Issues I have experienced in Higher Education Solutions that would have helped me
Social interaction Isolation Everything is new and unfamiliar, lots of new people, difficulty making friends, others form groups first. Social occasions may be unpleasant and unappealing – noisy pub, cigarette smoke, loud music, lots of people talking at the same time, too hot, too late, plans changing last minute, others wanting to go on somewhere else. Whether isolation is an issue will depend on the individual, some Aspies are glad to be left alone, others are desperate to fit in but don’t. May need flagging to personal tutor.
Group work Group settings are hard enough, group work puts the AS student at a disadvantage, as they have to translate online to and from NT language. Different way of working to NTs, issues with turn-taking – either never getting a word in or talking over others or answering all the questions. Social interaction makes task much harder for AS student only. Others miss details or make mistakes, which is upsetting, leading to two extremes: trying to control everybody to make sure they do it right; or withdrawing/disengaging from the task entirely because there is no point if it is just going to be wrong. It would be like me asking you to work in a Raymond Smullyan logic puzzle:Three gods A, B, and C are called, in no particular order, True, False, and Random. True always speaks truly, False always speaks falsely, but whether Random speaks truly or falsely is a completely random matter. Your task is to determine the identities of A, B, and C by asking three yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one god. The gods understand English, but will answer all questions in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are ‘da’ and ‘ja’, in some order. You do not know which word means which. Alternative method of assessment (or skipped if non-contributory) – this is not the forum to try and force some social/teamwork skills onto me. Try to minimise the number of people talking at the same time.
Fairness Strong need for justice, equality and fairness in all things; will hold unfair behaviour against people. Be true to your word.
Presentations/ Seminars/ Speaking in public Anxiety often comorbid with AS, practise does not make it easier, I have a stereotypical AS voice (monotone and “posh”), it’s just one more situation where I feel singled out and out of place, I will have no way of knowing how my audience feel about me. Alternative method of assessment (or skipped if non-contributory), verbal and, ideally, written constructive feedback.

© Catastraspie, 2012.

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