I have often wondered how to demonstrate to those who, like myself, do not have Asperger’s Syndrome, what a person with Asperger’s, or most forms of ‘mild’ autism, is experiencing. By that I mean, how they function differently. For it is a difference, not a better or a worse thing, just a difference.
Well, it’s all about being ‘literal’. They understand everything ‘literally’.
I heard an explanation that perfectly sums it up.
On the London Underground (and probably elsewhere) there are signs saying, “Dogs must be carried on the escalator”.
Now then, a person with Asperger’s will understand this literally. They will understand it as a statement that you are not allowed on the escalator unless you are carrying a dog. Because, it does say that dogs must be carried on the escalator. So, their interpretation of the instruction is completely valid. It’s actually quite odd that more people don’t take it literally.
For them to properly understand, the sign needs to say, “If you have a dog with you, please carry it when using the escalator’.
If you think about it, it is actually very odd that those without Asperger’s ‘assume’ a lot of ‘unsaid-ness’ around them. Signs and instructions, and body language all need to be far more explicit and specific. Then we’d all understand them together.