Lots of autistic people are already making many adjustments to fit in with the rest of you. To stop you from feeling uncomfortable. To stop you from noticing us. To keep us all safe from the shadow of “difference”.
Why are we the ones making adjustments?
Because majority defines normality. That’s the only reason.
It’s not a good enough one, is it? It’s not a defensible position.
It’s essentially the argument of the boss at work who doesn’t want to automate their systems, because, “We’ve always done it this way.”
But automating systems increases productivity. The less time and energy I have to put in to pretending to be just like you, the more time and energy I have for being a productive member of society. I only have so much brainpower to work with. It’s finite. And I’ve spent years wasting it on “being normal”, instead of useful things.
Social interaction makes perfect sense for those who enjoy it. It’s logical to do it. It’s helpful, it’s connective, it’s inclusive.
Social interaction for someone who doesn’t want it, just wants to get on with their work, is illogical.
We need to stop doing things just because that’s the way they’ve always been done. We need to meet somewhere in the middle.
Stop expecting me to be able to project unconscious body language that I can only produce consciously. It doesn’t mean I’m aloof. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It means that you’re reading subtext that doesn’t exist. You’re creating offence that I did not intend, because you’re judging me by your rules.
I’m not going to stop interacting. I enjoy interacting. I don’t enjoy performing. I don’t enjoy trying to translate whether or not you really meant what you said. I don’t enjoy the work.
So keep talking to me. But let’s try doing it honestly. Say what you mean. It’s refreshing! Do it. Be more Straightforward. You want something from me? Don’t hint at it, say it. I’m a helpful type. I’ll pitch in. Hint that you want help and it will only hurt us both.
If I seem aloof, say it. I’ll laugh and it’ll break the tension. I’m usually most aloof when I’m most nervous. I’ll be concentrating too hard on what you’re saying and how, and I’ll forget to do my own body language and facial expressions. You’ll think I’m an arse. I’ll worry that I said something that upset you.
Expect less from me, and you’ll get more out of me. More in every sense of the word.
Be someone who isn’t work to be around, and you’ll see the difference.