This is part 3 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.
As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.
My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.
About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.
First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.
Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.
The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.
I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.
People with autism are not able to read body language or other social cues, which makes it hard to read intentions.
In other words, if you have a weekly poker game, bring an autistic. Ok, that was a joke.
Seriously, in any kind of business negotiation would you want to be the person that actually has to depend upon what people say instead of their body language? I have learned this one the really hard way over the years.
Should I name names here? Oh if only I were allowed to. There are so many people out there in business situations, exchanges and negotiations that do NOT say what they mean, they say some vague thing that can be interpreted a variety of ways (in some cases they outright lie). It is up to you, the receiver of their spewed forth crap to interpret what it is they really mean.
That is why, especially after a more recent debacle, I always get things in writing. If you are on the spectrum and negotiating something do not depend on what people say. Get it in writing, and then have someone else review it for you (a lawyer comes to mind). That advice actually works for non-autistics as well, but most neurotypical people are better at picking up the scumbags from the non scumbags than I am.