Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language? It takes a lot of hard work. To be able to think in another language oftentimes takes years of practice. The same is true with learning “Aspergian.”Speaking “Aspergian” is a powerful tool in your relationship with someone who has Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s not so much speaking the language of your loved one on the spectrum as it is understanding theirs. With this understanding, you can neutralize everyone’s distress. When you’re detached from the emotional meaning of the communication, it’s much easier to guide the conversation to a mutually agreeable place.
For example, people on the spectrum don’t have empathy. They positively hate it when I say this but it’s true. If your “Aspie” doesn’t have all of the elements of empathy, it’s the same as Zero Degrees of Empathy as you well know. Your “Aspie” may have cognitive empathy or a rather flat logical understanding of the facts, but they struggle to connect it to the emotional meaning. Or they may be highly sensitive and cry at the drop of the hat, but be unable to speak about their feelings. Or they may care deeply about social justice or personal cause, but be unable to connect with others on the issue.
Disconnects between emotions and thoughts, no awareness of the intention behind human behaviors, using idiosyncratic words that carry no meaning for others, . . . these methods create a kind of language that can seem impenetrable. Autistic children seem to have a language of their own that no one can fathom. Autistic adults, even our high-functioning “Aspie” have the same unusual language patterns. Once we break the code, it’s much easier to communicate and relate.
If you’re not a member of our MeetUp group, Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD please join our group to continue our discussion.
Bring examples of the mysterious language of your “Aspie” for our discussion. Even if your “Aspie” uses a different code word than another person on the spectrum, the system they use is the same. But the real goal is more than understanding their code; it is also to reduce distress and find a way to connect with your loved ones.