Monday, June 14, 2010

I Think Therefore...

I find it interesting the saying or concepts that people in attendance of my presentations find interesting. It is hard for me to know what people relate to and what people want to know more on. There is one saying that I will use if the right question is asked in the Q & A segment that even I can judge the response on.

I don't remember the wording of the questions that have got me to say this answer, but when I say it the entire room seems to either nod in unison or parents will look at their son or daughter and just nod with a grin. It's a simple saying with a very complex and odd logic behind it. What is it? It's, "I think therefore you should know."

I may have blogged about this before (I don't remember what I write) but if I have I wanted to expand on this because this can be a frustrating trait about us, but this type of mindset is the essence of Asperger Syndrome.

When we need or want something I have a hard time asking for it and also I assume you already know it. I can get a bit "snippy" when I have to state what I want because I feel you should already know. It takes some deep concentration to step back and realize that what I am thinking is not known by those around me.

What makes this more difficult is that asking for something has a high degree of difficulty. Many thoughts come with asking for something and there are many "chains of thought" (chains of thought is a new concept) that may go like this; I need this, but the person I ask for it may get mad with me that I need something. Will I ask for it correctly? But they might get mad. If they get mad I won't know how to react therefore why should I ask?

When wanting something there is a real problem on both fronts. One, asking for something is something that starts a chain of thought that ends up convincing me not to ask, and secondly, the other person should already know what I want.

If the other person does know what I want it eliminates any chance of a chain being formed. Chains are not pleasant and occur at a deep level of the conscious. Chains try to preserve the self by avoiding anything that can't be judged.

I am sure my parents got frustrated with me when I would know what I wanted, but could not express it. Truly I was afraid, and still am, to state my needs. A round of the classic "guessing game" would ensue and when the right answer was told to me I could say yes, but I was unable to make the first move and state what that was. As aggravating as it may have been for my parents, it was sad for me because I knew what I wanted, but was afraid.

During those guessing games I was also wondering why it was taking them so long to choose the right answer. I too would get frustrated because they didn't know what I wanted. Writing this I can see how just confusing this is; I know what I want and you should know too, but even though you should know it I can't ask for it. Okay, a revelation just occurred to me. If I think you know it and you aren't saying it then that means, using my chains concept, it must be a wrong answer because you aren't saying it or giving it to me. Therefore, asking for it is asking for something that is forbidden.

Over the next few months I want to expand on this "I think" concept and also I will give more insight into "The Chains of Thought" as I hope to give you a insight into the thought process and the reasoning and logic behind the potential actions of behavior.

As for me, I am headed home as I am in the office right now (first time since May 21st) and will be headed back to Joplin tonight.


  1. Being a person on the other side of this I can tell you, and anybody reading this, it can be the most frustrating thing at times.
    For those that don't know, I spend a lot of time playing video games with Aaron. Over the past several months it has mainly been NHL 10, where we are playing on the same team. Playing a game where team work is essential for success, this "I think therefore you should know" trait is the most frustrating thing.
    There have been times when Aaron has skated into the offensive zone to setup a play and then passed the puck to where, apparently, I'm supposed to be, when in reality I'm not even close. He will then get mad at me for not being there, and so I'll get mad in return for him not telling me what he was doing or telling me where to go. The response I get is along the lines of "well you should of known!"

    I think this could possibly be the hardest trait for people like myself, not on the spectrum, to fully understand and deal with.

  2. Well said! You should be playing where I expect you to be though :)

  3. Asking for things can be pretty difficult for someone on the autism spectrum. My way of conquering this fear, though, is interesting. I always like to serve in voluntary positions of leadership. In these positions, sometimes essential parts of the role are to ask for things from other people and be assertive. As I eluded to in other posts, I fight fear of asking with consequences of failure from not performing the tasks.

    I will give you one example. This school year, there is a voluntary leadership position open for me and my classmates in our OT clinical doctorate program. While I had served the student council in the past, it was only a half year (due to conflicting schedules the year I served it). I thought some of my classmates might want this. So, I waited a week or two to see if there were any elections required. But when there was no announcement regarding elections, I took the initiative and asked if I can take the position via email. To my surprise, I got the position as nobody else amongst my classmates expressed interest (perhaps mostly due to their busy schedules). So far, I got NO complaints from my classmates about what I did. Moreover, the masters students who are in the council appreciate my presence in the meetings- not only because I showed up every time, but because I always would have a constructive opinion when things come up.

    Similarly, if you are an autism advocate, you have to know the things that you are asking for to important players in providing services to individuals with autism. Not only you have to do so with professionals, but also people in legislature. You can't be intimidated just because the person you meet is head or president of something. You have to express what you want because they are the people who can help individuals with autism on a greater scale in terms of policy standpoint.