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Strategies for people with Asperger’s Syndrome from “be different: Adventures of a Free- Range Aspergian” by John Elder Robinson

Find life and work settings that minimize weaknesses and you’ll discover your strengths.

(If you aren’t a people person don’t try to be a salesperson)

Accept the way other people do things even when you’re sure they’re wrong.

(If you travel a certain way to a destination and others don’t let drive their route)

Be aware of your ritualized behaviors; they’re ok as long as they don’t interfere with your responsibilities.

(Lining up your shoes is fine but if you spend hours doing that, problems will happen)

“Normal” means having good manners even though manners aren’t straightforward or logical.

(Phrases like “excuse me” when a person isn’t actually in the way does sound odd but it’s accepted)

When a situation is strange to you watch others for what they do then do the same.

(If someone says “nice to meet you” even if it wasn’t you should just say that too)

When speaking in a casual conversation have a mental clock in your head.

(Don’t talk too much more than 60 seconds at one time even if you have more to say)

Say “please” and “thank you “often because that is what is accepted and expected in society.

Find out how others dress before you attend a function so you are appropriate.

Hygiene is important and it is what you’re judged on even if it doesn’t seem like that’s right.

(The fact of the matter is what is inside is not really what counts the most- at least not at first.)

Interpreting body language is crucial because words don’t always match inner feelings.

(Many times a person smiles though (s)he is angry inside; expression is appropriate only sometimes)

Not everyone has the same thoughts and way of understanding things as you do.

(How some people may react can be completely illogical to you)

People may be trying to share feelings with you but they may have strange signals.

(If a girl likes a boy she won’t tell him so and may even pretend not to care at all.

It may be hard to put yourself in another person’s shoes. You may be blind to people’s tones.

Words don’t always match expressions. Reading people may not be instinctual.

(Compensate with good observational skills and logical analysis)

If a person you meet fades away don’t let it upset you or blame yourself.

(Making lasting connections with others is hard and most people aren’t close friends)

Sometimes you have to be with people for awhile for them to realize you may miss the social cues

(The average person may judge you as rude unless you help them understand certain things about you)

Relationships are not all-or-nothing. It is important to recognize that a person can have degrees of friendship and connection with people.

Words of empathy may sound like you are admitting blame but you aren’t responsible for the problem.

(Saying “I’m sorry about your accident” doesn’t mean it will happen to you, or you did something wrong)

Keeping levelheaded in a crisis doesn’t mean you do not care although it may be perceived that way.

(An Aspergian’s nature in a crisis is to take charge not be overcome by emotion and that’s good)

Learning to function in a group experience can be very difficult; ignorance of others is common.

(The way others play or work is not wrong just different; that must be taken into consideration)

Noticing others perception is something that is not readily considered, it’s not being self-centered.

(This is not being self-centered, it is just a symptom of extreme concentration on the task at hand)

Making a conscious effort to notice other is important; then they will be more receptive to you.

(What you are doing and thinking is almost never as important to others as it is to you.)

Speaking should be in response to what others are saying not what you are thinking if it’s off topic.

(Engaging people in conversation is easier when you have something relevant to say)

There are times when it is better not to say anything; you must judge when to talk and when not to.

(Telling the truth is not always the best policy if it is something that is hurtful even if it is true)

Talking is give and take, it should only be 60 seconds then you must give the other person a turn.

(You may have a lot to say but know what not to say even if may seem appropriate it may not be)

Dressing appropriately and using manners are ways to make yourself more approachable to others.

(The person you are on the inside only matters after the person like the person on the outside)

People don’t always “get it” but Aspergian’s must educate people what it is like in your mind.

(It is important to be with familiar people who will not judge you for the little social mistakes)

It is important to see the big and little picture at all times and be able to see how they affect each other.

(Society often doesn’t have foresight and just concentrates on the here and now; that is just the way it is)

Concentration and focus can be good things, just try to balance them with more mundane things.

(People do not like a person to be 100% serious 100% of the time; lighten up and see a funny movie)

Attention to detail can be a wonderful thing a valuable skill; find an area or job where it is needed.

(Many blessings come with Asberger’s you must find them and thrive; people will value you for it )

Resign yourself to the fact that not everyone will understand, in fact most people won’t.

(You can not make everyone understand and it is too much work to constantly be teaching them)

  • Appendix- strategies for parents and teachers, resources (support groups, agencies, books,

movies, websites, and more. For further questions contact

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