Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Answering a Comment

There was a comment on my blog yesterday asking if I knew of a way to ease the issues with yesterday's blog topic. What that means is that, is there a way to know I actually understand what was asked or expected of me when I might say "yes" regardless.

To answer this I must first reiterate the fact that, if you've met one person with autism you've only met one person with autism. So, with that being said, what my thoughts are, or what others have done with me, may or may not work.

As I thought about this there was only one thing that came into my mind and that is the much dreaded follow up question. To be honest, if I'm asked something twice I can get a bit snippy (I should blog about that sometime). However, over the long term I think this would ease things. So, what is this follow up question? I don't think the hotel front desk lady would be in a place to ask this question as it would seem rude I'm sure, but asking a follow up question such as, "Okay, where are you going?"

Did you read the way my follow up question was worded? By eliminating a question that can be answered by a simple yes or no I now have to repeat back to you where I am going. A quick side note: I'm just using yesterday's blog topic as an example to this applies more than just knowing where a person is going at a confusing hotel complex. But, keeping on track, if I have to repeat back the direction it will be quickly obvious if I understood the direction or not.

So yes, this applies more than just getting to a hotel at 2AM. If given a task I almost always would just agree and many times I actually didn't hear the words spoken. If the follow up question is to state what I am supposed to do then that would let the other person instant knowledge on if I understood or didn't. Often times I would leave a task unfinished, okay, I never would start the task because I didn't know it was expected. And it's not that I'm being rude or that I'm ignoring the person who gave the task, but if my mind is fixated on something in space, or if I'm thinking about something it is as if there just isn't enough processing abilities in my brain to do it all.

I hope this answer proves to be decent enough for the anonymous user who asked it. It was a great question and I hope this shed some more light on the topic.


  1. This stuff must be genetic. As your father, I too struggle with directions at a hotel, or anywhere for that matter. My biggest problem is, at 64, I still don't know my right from my left. But I have learned to do this: when given directions at the front desk I respond, "Now let me see if I have this right." Then I try and repeat what I was told. Often the response is, "No, Mr. Likens, you left at the end of the swimming pool. If you turn right you will be IN the pool. I know that self-generated responses are difficult for you, but take it on as a challenge.

  2. Heh, I'm so terrible at directions that my parents always said I would need a portable navigator. Now my smartphone functions as one. This doesn't help me in a building though.

    At home they do ask me if I heard everything they said, but I'm way too honest to answer with 'yes', so I just stutter: "Er... N... No? :(" This usually makes me feel a bit ashamed, as I have to admit that I wasn't listening, and it forces me to focus once more. But in the end it's for the best.
    As you can read in Aaron's blog, this question won't work for everyone, but I thought I'd just shed another light on it.

  3. It should have read, "No, Mr. Likens, you TURN left..." You I can't even follow my own directions.

  4. This does help me to understand more what is going through my son's mind. He freely admits to me that he stopped listening (hearing?) after the first few words. So today I am going to ask him what I just told him to do or where he's going. Takes the stress out of me "talking to a wall" and him hearing dolphin squeaks!! Haha Thanks Aaron!