Bridging the communication gap between high functioning autistics and neurotypicals.

I’ve almost never asked for help for anything in my life. I usually tried to just do a task or complete a task all on my own all the while thinking that I had to be that self-reliant. This might sound strange but, for me, it was just about the only way to get something done like the 7 times I took Organic Chemistry.

 

I’ve had people all through my life say to me, “If you need help, just ask”. Well, as I think about it now, I usually never knew when I needed help. If I was in the middle of a job, I was never aware of how well or badly I was doing until someone came to me and told me. Part of the mismanaged awareness came from not having a good sense of time or the necessary skills in how to complete a job. So, I just muddled through a task as best I could. If I failed at it, I would repeat the task as many times as I could to figure it out. Then, I had a good understanding of the job and the skills necessary to complete it.

 

Sometimes people would and still do come along and ask me, “Do you need help?” and I used to freeze up because I never knew how to answer. Now, I usually just say , “Oh, no, no. I”m doing okay. Thanks.” even if I’m not doing okay just to avoid putting other people behind. This very circumstance happened to me tonight at work and I still put us all behind, dang it.

 

I think that for Aspies and Auties, because we’re not aware of how well or badly we might be doing on a particular project, we don’t stop and think that extra processing power in the form of another person might be helpful in gaining new insights or new info for completing whatever it is we’re doing. In college, I remember an academic counselor telling me that ‘I needed to take control of my education. This was my degree and I needed to start making decisions”. Truly, I didn’t get it. I thought I was making decisions. You know, on what classes to take each semester. I finally found out that she meant I needed to be making decisions about what classes would best suit me for my career field and how my choice of professors and graduate school would place my resume at the top of the pile. My question was, “What pile?”

 

Anyway, I’m now better at gauging when I need help in completing something. But, I still find it difficult to ask for help. Maybe I’ll get better at that with age as well.

 

If you see your HFA needing help, don’t ask if they need help. Give a very small helping hand and if you see them appreciate it, then it’s probably safe to continue with your assisting.

 

~Mark

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