It is normally said that autistics are bad communicators but when I spoke with my diagnostician, Oriana Morrison-Clarke, I always knew straight away what she wanted and I was willing to do that. I felt like she was a whisperer, I’m not exaggerating. I find it all very strange, it’s obvious for me that Oriana doesn’t get the recognition she deserves because otherwise those methods of communication would be widely known and taught.
I will give one more example here: everyone is saying autistic people should be asked direct questions and I don’t agree with that. Asking direct question is like putting us on the spot, and what if the answer doesn’t come to us straight away?
Let’s say you’re about to cook dinner. Direct question would be: what do you want with your dinner, rice or potatoes? But then what if the autistic person wasn’t thinking about food, possibly they’re not that hungry and can eat whatever and here someone demands them to say what we want. That can be quite stressful because in our mind direct question requires explicit answer. Plus if you don’t talk the same way to other members of your family, who aren’t autistics that will also get noticed and will annoy us.
Instead it would be better to say: I’m wondering what to cook for dinner. We didn’t have rice for a while but potatoes would also be nice.
So basically you have a problem, and then option 1 and option 2 but there is no question so if we don’t feel like making decision, we don’t have to answer. Plus it sounds like a chat so we can’t get annoyed that you don’t talk to us the same way like to everyone else. Also, because it’s a chat we can easily ask for pasta, which is not an option if we are asked a direct question.
The same technique can be used to talk about more serious issues, for example: I’m wondering if we ever be able to live together. I know we’re both autistic so we need our own space a lot but being able to spend time together without having to plan things could be good too. Again: problem, option 1, option 2 and then just listen what your partner will say for that.
Easy. But why did I have to work it all out by myself?