April 15, 2021

There are no rules. Seriously. There are only “IF + THEN” patterns to notice.

I think a big way that neurotypicals can help autistics is by gently pointing out patterns that we miss.

Like, IF we talk at length about our interests, THEN some people might believe we don’t care about theirs.

Like, IF we correct minor factual errors in a conversation, THEN the recipient of our correction might feel belittled.

Like, IF we try to push through discomfort in a public place, instead of escaping to a quiet corner to rest, THEN we may unintentionally burst into behavior that confuses bystanders.

Autistics have a reputation for being good at pattern recognition. But that doesn’t apply to all patterns. There are some, especially social ones, that we may need help spotting.

That will help us decide whether we care enough about a possible “THEN” to make any changes to an “IF.” And sometimes we won’t, because sometimes the “IF” is worth the risk.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.