Saturday, July 21, 2012

Asperger's Syndrome and Communication

It’s surprising how difficult as Asperger’s syndrome can make simple conversations. When I have a specific subject I know something about, I can be clear and talk for hours on that subject. But a simple questions like, “Where are you going?” or “What are you doing?” locks me up and makes me confused. I find it hard for me to figure out how to put words together. When I think about the question, “Where are you going?” it is confusing in a number of dimensions. In the dimension of time, should I answer with right this second I’m going toward the kitchen to pick up my purse that I left there, or I’m going to go to the store? It is also ambiguous in relation to the specificity dimension, should I just say I’m going to the store or I’m going to Safeway or I’m going to the Rivermark Safeway? Should I also include why I’m going there? Sometimes I don’t have a specific plan. So I have to compile the whole plan in my head before I can sort through it to pick out the specific information asked for. I feel very pressured it can take three or 4 seconds to figure this all out and I can feel as that time is passing the pressured answer the question in the proper rhythm for the conversation
Starting a conversation with a specific bit of information I want to convey can be just as hard in its own way.  It was a hard-learned lesson that I couldn’t just come up to somebody and start talking about whatever I want, that I need to pay attention to their mood, their concerns, and the social appropriateness of the moment. But the lesson just bit deeper for all its difficulty. Though I know now that I have to wait for an opening to introduce my subject, I am still not very good at spotting an appropriate opportunity. Often by the time I evaluate a moment consider all the angles and decided it is appropriate, the conversation has already moved on. Sometimes it helps to plan a specific trigger situation and plan specifically what I’m going to say. But then I can get so caught up in concocting an appropriate plan that I never get it correct to actually carry it out.

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