I know a lot of kids and adults that have a variety of diagnoses, labels and non-labels, adjacencies and traits. To me, it’s all about connecting with the neurodiverse… and occasional coaching to improve quality of life.
But the road to connection has not come easily for me; I’ve developed several adaptations. (Some may call them “social skills”, but I prefer to think of them as adaptations to a somewhat socially-arbitrary world).
And I can understand the myriad reasons why someone would resist developing these types of adaptations!
For one, you might have historically experienced loneliness and bullying and not even want to try anymore. It could be hard to imagine a positive social interaction, so maybe you’re not motivated to jump through any hoops that are not of your own design.
Besides, you’ve been asked to jump through too many hoops from too early of an age… and you want ease, acceptance, and even celebration of who you are.
Or perhaps you’re authentically not interested in adapting to this seemingly arbitrary world.
It seems impossible anyway, right?
You may consider yourself highly considerate and polite, and yet still, people call you rude. Maybe you’re noticing that many people don’t like having simple facts pointed out. What’s up with that?
It can be so lonely and disheartening living in a world where very few others try to understand us, yet everyone continuously asks us to understand them.
As an Autistic therapist whose special interest is communication… I GET IT.
And I’ve developed some adaptations of my own.
For example, due to my own asynchronous development around facial recognition (I know faces very quickly, but the social context can be lost on me at first), I now review in my head the names and roles of all household members every time I knock on a door, no matter how long I’ve been friends or family with someone.
And when I was younger, I thought kindergarten’s “show-and-tell” was representative of how the whole world worked. I have some coins and stories with which to do both, but I’ve learned to ask questions of my potential audience before embarking on my performance.
Honestly, these types of adaptations have made my life more enjoyable and far less anxiety-provoking.
Does any of this resonate? What “social skills” do you or your kids still struggle with? Let me know in the comments below.