To lead or to follow?

I am probably the perfect example of the classic stereotype of autism. I am very, very solitary – through choice and also because of my quite complex social difficulties. Any involvement with others generally makes me uncomfortable. This experience might be similar for neurotypical introverts so I think that neurotypical introverts will also find this article helpful.

One major barrier to being this way is it makes it very hard to work with others in both leader (employer/manager/teacher) and follower (peer/classmate/colleague/team member) roles.

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Can your base social energy level be increased?

In sports science, there’s a theory known as supercompensation. It’s a way of improving your base level of fitness. The way to do this, it proposes, is by putting yourself through more exercise just after you’ve recovered from your previous workout. The time of the next workout is absolutely critical – you have to do it after you’ve recovered but you can’t have too long a gap.

This blog article was inspired because the way I weight train is very much through supercompensation methods. My base level of fitness increases regularly. It made me wonder whether this idea could help someone increase their base level of social energy. Let’s look at it in more detail:

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Familiarity vs predictability

I’ve been thinking about what makes a situation easier for me. One aspect I talked about recently was how immediate a situation is. I debated whether doing something very soon is sometimes easier than planning it ahead of time. Something else I think makes a difference is how predictable and how familiar something is. Let’s find out more.

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Unresponsiveness and lack of communication in ASD people

One of the reasons that having friends is hard for me is because I am not very communicative. My friends (before they understood my condition) would contact me but my responses would always be minimal and would not encourage further communication. For example, I might answer their question but then say nothing further. I’m sure many of you will be familiar with the following sorts of interaction:

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10 positives of autism – autism awareness

Here are 10 positive things about autistic people. Always remember that everyone is a unique individual and that these are general findings. No one will identify with all or every positive feature of autism.

1. Autistic people are usually highly dedicated to, and interested in, their interests

I suspect that although everyone can have a hobby, an autistic person may have greater interest in and dedication to their hobby than the average person is to theirs. This can give us very indepth knowledge, it means we’re very skilled at what we do, and what we produce is high quality. Continue Reading

What is empathy and do ASD people have a lack of empathy?

I think there is some misunderstanding of what empathy actually is, which I will explore in this article. There are various definitions of empathy but the one that I use and how I think about it is that it’s being able to share the feelings of another person.

A good way to visualise what empathy is is being in a crowd watching a football match when your team scores a goal – the whole crowd cheers because everyone is feeling the same thing and reacting in the same way.

There is a common view that people on the autistic spectrum do not have empathy. Lots of autistic people think they have lots of empathy. I want this article to look at these views in more detail. I hope you see things in a more educated way after reading this article. :)

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How to feel more connected with the world

Lots of people on the autistic spectrum feel very lonely and isolated. There are lots of reasons for this which I talk about extensively in my books and in my blog but to summarise, some of the reasons include:

  • preferring own company
  • wanting to connect with others but not having the social skills to do so
  • difficulty maintaining friendships
  • suffering from social anxiety
  • difficulty relating to most people and vice versa

I have been thinking about one way that a person might be able to feel more connected to the world. There are

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Planning in advance vs spontaneous activities

It has come to my attention that although I generally say that I like to plan things in advance and know all the details about situations before I agree to them, in practice, this is not always the ideal way for me to do things. There is a big problem with planning in advance and agreeing to things ahead of time, and that problem is, that it allows anxiety to accumulate and often means that I end up panicking and cancelling. Let’s have a look at this in more detail and consider in which sort of situations planning in advance might be helpful vs when it might not be.

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