Asperger’s and communication 3

Asperger’s and communication

As a person diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (or Asperger), I’ve had (and still do have), similarly to most people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), a great many difficulties regarding articulating my thoughts in a manner I should consider efficient inadequately describing whatsoever occurs to be going on within my mind. Whilst in a conversation, I always happen to have an unceasing feeling that my flow of thoughts could very well be expressed finer than I’m capable of. In other words, I find myself time and again incapable of keeping pace with my pondering, or rather, the verbalization of it. Besides this malady, I also see myself stumbling upon other issues which I attempted at listing within the article which you have just begun reading. For a great plenty years, the translation of my thought process has been to me an immense problem. It is only natural that, after ages of intricate introspection,  one shall come up with ways to compensate for these insufficiencies. Thanks to my passion for writing, I took to summarizing and clarifying the obstacles related to mine and also the verbal expression of plenty other people with ASD.


What influences the course of communication


All of the people with ASD I have met so far have little to no interest in talking about the commonly brought up themes that tend to evolve from the sentences “How are you?”, “What a nice weather it is today!”, “We have so much homework once again…” and so forth. However, I cannot state that no person on the spectrum will wish to talk about these matters, for to equate people with autism is as to equate neurotypical people. Should you line up a hundred of us next to each other, you would not find two completely the same. By this, I wish to express only that I have not yet personally met anyone on the spectrum who would enjoy such conversation. I do believe, that if such individuals exist, there will not be great plenty of them. Whensoever I happen to meet an Asperger friend, we never discuss the aforementioned banal matters. The sentences don’t even pop up in our minds. We usually do not even greet and proceed instantly to speak of things that are profound enough to maintain our curiousness. Common topics include philosophy, psychology, politics, economy, and others, mainly scientific matters.


Simply written, the more complicated the topic, the easier it is for me to speak of it. Should it relate to my special interest even, I can hardly stop my speech. One thought will summon another ten and soon my pondering forms a spiral of musings which I shan’t (nor wish to) escape from. You can often see an autistic person in such a trance. Now and then we may delve so deeply that we may not even notice you’re attempting to get our attention. If, however, I happen to stumble upon a conversation with someone who is erudite regarding my special interest, I mostly but meekly listen. Determining when I ought to and when I ought not to talk is also quite a quandary.

The person with whom I am communicating


The course and quality of the conversation are also, understandably, dependent upon who I occur to be conversing with. When I find myself in an unknown setting, I get spectacularly nervous, despite it not having to always appear so. See, it is a habit of mine which I have learned and perfected, the ability to maintain a serene mien. Still, my inward state is far and further from calm when meeting new people. That is greatly reflected upon my faculty to communicate in such situations. If people about me are plenty and loud, speaking one over another, never ceasing their speech, my concentration loses intensity while my nervousness grows. One can imagine whatsoever this does to my eloquent verbalization.


Even during one-on-one conversations, it is onerous to remain internally unnerved, if I do not know the person well. The finer I know someone, the finer I feel in their company, and the finer do I express myself. But each and every manner of conversation, however curious and however stimulating, drains my life energy. Surely, the less pleasurable the course of it, the worse its consequences upon my well-being. To pose an example, whensoever I come home from school, my mind lures me right into my bed, to sleep. Often it takes no more than an hour of sleep to rejuvenate. However, should I not be alone after my waking for at least three more hours, all feel uncomfortable. Solitude is, to me, of incredible importance. But it is crucial to state that this has more to do with my personality than with my autism. Since in a great spite of the popular opinion, not all people with autism are extremely introverted.


The environment


A person with hypersensitivity of the senses {which, as you may know, is one of the symptoms of ASD} finds it difficult to concentrate upon anything when continuously disturbed by outer stimuli. Our mind is similar to that of a child – it perceives everything as intensively as if it was experiencing it for the very first time. Besides this, in any hectic situation, a person with autism feels very unsafe. In an unpredictable environment, our interest and concentration burst all the where. Understandably, it is much more onerous to engage in conversations while in such chaos. I should wish to attempt at explaining this accordingly-



Imagine you are obligated to concentrate upon a conversation while walking through a neighborhood infamous for great criminal engagement. Your awareness naturally climbs up to the highest level. You notice each and every sound, every shadow hiding at the corner of your eye. Simply put, the conversation itself becomes an aspect of the present that you are unable to maintain fixed upon, for you are being emotionally disturbed.


An autistic person is pushed into this state of mind very easily. Basically, we live through this malady all the time. Calmness is available only sometimes – in a bedroom bed, a favorite place, etc. To appear calm outwardly is possible thanks to a possibility to accustom oneself to the never-ending tumult as our life passes. That also is why a great many of us, including myself, seek solitude.


I ought to consider you able to imagine that keeping attention on conversations, listening to all who are present, fulfilling all the expected social demands, and articulating one’s thoughts in between, is not very possible in the aforementioned state of mind. Some of us may learn to keep a calm outward mien, although we are all internally exhausted afterward. Often, Aspergers (including myself) fashion a social “mask“, which they present to the world instead of their true and real selves. As all people have their own ideal as to which people they would wish to spend time with, we create a new personality to evince before each and every person. This becomes quite a problem whenever we appear in the company of people who all happen to know us differently. It is enormously onerous and tiring to perform in such situations, to switch between our personalities, let alone to enjoy anything of this kind. After longer social functioning in this manner, the behavior becomes intuitive and the Asperger finds out that they are so capable of adapting to all the various people, they haven’t the faintest idea who they actually are. An intelligent Aspie surely notices which features and traits are valued, and which are not. Sometimes, one of us begins to mimic the behavior of a TV series or film character, or of our socially adaptable acquaintance.  Therefore, the older and more experienced the person with autism is, the “less autistic” they may appear – by the great influence of neurotypically dominant society, one learns to hide oneself. Yet, there are also individuals who are not able, or willing, to conceal in this manner… no wonder. Just imagine that your entire social life is one huge stressful act.


Asperger’s and communication 2
Aspergers communicate well when the enviroment is right



The consequences of social exposing


Naturally, an autistic person starts to search for other people with autism. In such a company, we can behave more freely. We can let go of social norms, which improves the quality of our communication and social relations drastically. However, the fact that one is on the autistic spectrum does not at all mean one will automatically fancy every other person on the spectrum. Neurotypical people also do not fancy being with all their neurological similars. Thus it sometimes occurs that an autistic person gets into a company of autistic people with who they do not relate and upon this stop seeking all other such communities with a clearly illogical thought that they will never relate to anyone. Here, it is necessary to use a rational discussion. A person with ASD concludes and reacts mostly (in some cases, only) to logic.


I should hope the reader has, in the least, partly, understood how onerous it is for an autistic person to manage problems regarding communication, and what it can, in the end, take. In the upcoming article, I shall attempt at explaining tips and suggestions which aided me in breaking the huge communication barrier between myself and others.


Text: Jakub Frnka, photo:

Projekt je realizován s finanční podporou hlavního města Prahy. The project is implemented with the financial support of the capital city of Prague.