Neurotypical Awareness

Being diagnosed late in life has meant that I’ve needed to learn a lot about a new subject that I didn’t know applied to me. I’ve read personal accounts written by autistic people, I’ve read research papers, I’ve looked into coping mechanisms – and mostly found that I’ve built my own solutions over the years without realising what I was doing. Trial and error were my constant companions.

Learning about what being autistic is, means that I can see the links between my behaviours and motivations for what they really are. Neurotypical motivations don’t apply to me, I don’t work like that.

It’s been a journey of acceptance and understanding that has increased my quality of life exponentially.

I listen to myself more. I recognise my needs. I don’t always do the things that would stop overload, but I’m aware of the consequences, I rock if I need to rock without worrying that I’m losing my mind. I just accept the soothing and forget the guilt.

Happiness is always a work in progress, it’s not the natural state of all living beings, it’s just one side of the coin. But I’m finding balance, my highs and lows are more even. I’m more peaceful. My ever-revving brain can be tuned to the things I want to think about, it can’t be stopped, but it can be nudged in the right direction.

So now I have something new to learn. For a very long time I was busy thinking that my brain was just like everyone else’s. I now know it isn’t.

Which means that I don’t know your brains at all.

It explains a lot. It explains why I couldn’t understand your actions, after-all, you must research and logicise as I do, mustn’t you? How else do you choose what to do? I could understand that some people can analyse more than others, but to not even try? You must have tried, so you must have known, so your actions must have been deliberate. Mustn’t they? Mine would have been.

Why do you play games with people? Why not say, “I like you”? Why did my now husband think I must be joking when I said it? Why was it only when we finally learnt I was autistic, that he actually realised I had meant it on day one? He needed that explanation because my motives were not the same as his.

All this autism awareness and acceptance and understanding is great, but where’s the neurotypical understanding?

I love trying to work you out. It’s a puzzle. A puzzle without the same rules that I have. You say things are wrong and then you do them anyway and it makes sense to you. I add all your unlesses to my lists as I come across them, and then I learn that each person has their own subtle nuances for their sub-clauses.


Going forwards my world is a study of motivations and predictions. There’s great joy in it. It’s all patterns. I’m a long way from getting things consistently right, but that’s part of the fun.

The important thing is that when I’m getting it wrong, I know that I cannot apply my motivations. Just as neurotypicals make their biggest mistakes when they apply their motivations to my actions. I’m not being rude when I can’t talk after over-extending myself socially. I’m not lazy when I’m tired after prolonged processing of too much sensory information.

I’m working on my neurotypical awareness.

It’s a work in progress.

31 thoughts on “Neurotypical Awareness

  1. Good for you with trying, and a lot of what you said I echo. I found, personally though, not to let people in so I don’t. The reason being it leaves me vulnerable and quite often people take advantage of that at my expense. So I’m a loner, and surrounded by walls now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s hard, isn’t it? I’ve certainly been taken advantage of over the years. It is a vulnerable thing letting people get close to you, and it’s a lonely thing not to.

      I’ve found that judging people by their actions and not their words had helped me. It means I can see patterns of behaviour and know that they are the truth. So if words don’t match then I can see which bit is right. Good people make mistakes, but they don’t turn those mistakes into repeating patterns.

      It’s whatever works for you, though. I need people who don’t need me to constantly feed the friendship. Who I can be myself with. I don’t have many, but the ones I have are great (even weirder, they think I’m the great one 😊)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think I’ve gotten most of my information from reading lots and lots of books, as well as somewhat from observing others. I like the idea of this being for understanding neurotypicals, though, instead of the purpose being to act like them. I need to work on accepting myself for who I am.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Reading is another useful tool. Definitely for understanding and not acting like them. A really important distinction to make. You are just fine the way you are.

      Understanding has to go both ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rhi, for well over a year now I’ve been reading about autism, thinking I’d start to beliéve my diagnosis was right once I understood what it’s all about.
    I read many blogs like yours, seeing many people saying how everything came together after they learned they were autistic. I’m réally happy for those who feel that way (and I méan that).
    The diagnosis has thrown ME in an in-between world: I’m not neurotypical (as I thought I was for 62 years), yet I also don’t feel I belong to the neuro-diverse world, there are too many things autistic people have trouble with that I don’t have trouble with at all. (touching, looking people in the eyes, I dislike routine, I’ve never had a complete melt-down, as réally autistic people seem to have at least once in their lives)
    I feel a fraud in both worlds now, hence I’m going for an independent second opinion.
    If again it tells me I’m autistic then I’ll embrace it, doubts and all, if not, at least I know there has been a reason for me feeling a fraudster.
    Has ányone of those here, who were diagnosed at a late age, ever felt that way?
    Sorry for whining, needed to tell sómeone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not whining at all. You are always welcome to say exactly what you think.

      I know many people don’t feel like they find a community when they get a diagnosis. Autism is such a broad spectrum with so many different personalities involved, that there’s no way we will all want the same things or find the same things.

      So I’m going to say this specifically to you, Jos, if the diagnosis doesn’t help you, if the label is too itchy, then you don’t have to feel that it’s a part of you. Because the most important person in all of this is you. Your diagnosis is for you. Your explanation is for you.

      You can pick and choose the bits that help and the bits you’re not interested in (which is true whether you’re autistic or not).

      Being autistic (or not) is not about being stuck in a box. You’re Jos. You’re not a fraud. You’re you.

      I hope someone who feels the same will respond, but if they don’t, then that doesn’t make your feelings less real.

      I hope you find some peace whatever your path is 💐

      Liked by 1 person

    2. OMG Jos! I’m not diagnosed, but I really identify with TONS of the aspie traits, but not so much with other aspie traits… I know I have very bad ADHD, so absolutely NOT an NT, but not sure if I have enough Asperger’s traits to be diagnosed. I saw an autism specialist once and she said something about how I demonstrated social reciprocity or something, so I couldn’t have Asperger’s. I guess she wasn’t aware of the way female aspies can learn & mimic expected social behaviors… anyway… Just wanted to say, you’re not the only one!!!!


      1. Hi Jane,
        I hope you still get to see this reply!!!!
        I had no clue you posted the above, but that doesn’t prevent me from , albeit very belatedly, being really glad I found it after all, because by now I began to feel I really wás the only one feeling that way.
        I was officially diagnosed, but I never even thóught of autism in relation to myself, hence the fact I feel/felt so lost.
        By now I’ve learned to accept I seem to have quite a few different traits than other autistics, but I’m still allowed to call myself autistic, without feeling like a fraud. (also thanks to the patient, very kind and just as clear explanations bloggers like Rhi and other bloggers/readers. I tell you: let nó neurotypical ever say autistics can’t be empathic, cuz I know from experience they so ARE. Often even more so than NT’s. 🙂 )

        Would you like to have an official diagnoses?
        I see you think you may not have enough autistic traits, is that STILL the case today?

        In thát case: have you ever read Samantha Craft’s: “Females with Aspergers Syndrome Checklist” by Samantha Craft”?

        THIS list finally helped me to learn to believe I actually AM autistic, and whenever I feel doubtful again (still happenes alas, despite the fact I got a second opinion which, again, indicated I’m 100% on the spectrum) I only have to read this list again and my doubts evaporate. Yay! 🙂

        Here’s the link to the list: (the thréé links in the comments-section below the list I will send in a sec. all seem to have different numbers in them, yet they all lead to the same list … far as I can tell. )

        But hey, knowing anxiety will strike me if I don’t post all the links, here they are: 😉

        Have a good day.
        Jos. 🙂





  4. “it’s been a journey of acceptance and understanding”

    For some reason that just jumped out at me. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I can extend those resources to other people and try to help them feel better; maybe it’s because, despite all I know and have learned, I cannot accept those resources myself, for myself or from myself. I hate it when other people “accept and understand” my limitations. I hate it when I have to “accept and understand” that I’m allowed to have limitations. I hate not being able to “accept and understand” that I could do and be more than I give myself credit for (at least according to those that know me).

    Something to work on, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brilliant comment. Why on earth is it so much easier to accept and understand others?

      I had to go to a busy airport recently. I was told I could ask for help and skip customs. But I didn’t. Why? I still don’t know. I got through it, but it was hard. I struggled when I didn’t necessarily need to.

      I love when people accept and understand me by offering me more information, or realising why I didn’t make an event that was just too much.

      If they’re “accepting and understanding” in a way that I find actually confines me; limits what I am able to do if I can push myself, decides on my behalf where my boundaries lie, then maybe they aren’t truly understanding me.

      Lots to think about. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My god you are a gifted writer. I’m reeling (in an awestruck, mind-blown, excited sort of way)! Brilliant post! I can relate pretty much 100%; I echo your sentiment, although you said it better 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is such a lovely thing to say. Thank you! High praise indeed 😊

      I always wonder if I should sit on my writing and edit it more, instead of letting it out and letting it go all in one swoop.

      Maybe it would lose some of me if I tried to box it up.


  6. I’ve realised that NTs really mean it when they say they can read emotions in people’s eyes. 🙂 Honestly, for years I thought it was a kind of literary shortcut taken by authors; ‘he looked into her eyes and knew it was true’. This is one of many realisations I’ve had since I self diagnosed, but it’s possibly the most hilarious. All this time thinking it was just a way of words! Sorry, that’s not entirely relevant, but I thought you of all people might get it. I’m still working up to asking someone NT if it’s really true. 🙂 Can you imagine it? Me, looking intensely and painfully into their eyes; ‘what can you see???’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😄 I see it as some form of witchcraft! I’m still not convinced it’s not some literary shortcut. Like that time I believed that a true smile was done not with your mouth, but with your eyes.

      Funnily enough, no one managed to pick up of my eye-smiling. They thought I was grumpy 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Did you practice in front of a mirror? 🙂 I’ve taken to trying that, I think my ‘everything is alright’ reassuring smile might actually be terrifying but I’ve no-one I can bear to ask to check. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Back in the bad old days of school, I was given some misguided, misinformed advice by misguided, misinformed teachers in regards to bullying due to being autistic. “If you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to you” and (my personal favourite-NOT!) “Just ignore them.” Easy for them to say.
    They could be just as cruel as the students. It is only now, thanks to some insight, I have come to see these types as misguided and misinformed. They just need someone to show them the way. Which isn’t always easy. I don’t necessarily want to see them get hurt. Just humiliated. The way I was. Surely a lesson in humility will teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget.


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