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What is Neurotypical?

How many books on Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism have you read that begin with Chapter 1: What is Asperger’s Syndrome or Chapter 1: What is Autism? If you or someone you love is on the spectrum, then the answer is probably “a lot.”

The authors’ desire to start at the beginning is commendable but honestly I skip over these introductory chapters. I have the DSM diagnostic criteria memorized and I’m on intimate terms with the signs and symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Perhaps a more useful opening chapter for aspies would be: What is Neurotypical?

Neurotypical is a term that’s thrown around in the autism community like everyone instinctively knows what it means. If this is a new word for you (like it was for me not so long ago), in the ASD community, neurotypical is often used to refer to people who are not on the autism spectrum. It’s a mash-up of the words “neurologically typical” and is often shortened to NT.

A more correct word for someone who is not autistic is allistic. Technically, you can be non-neurotypical (neuroatypical) even if you aren’t autistic. Having clarified that up front, I’m going to go with the popular usage here.

How Can You Tell if Someone is Neurotypical?

So who are these NTs and how can you tell if someone in your family is neurotypical?

For starters, NTs make up about 99% of the population, so they’re everywhere. It’s very likely that you know neurotypicals and you probably have at least one NT in your family. While there is no widely accepted diagnostic test, NTs are fairly easy to spot once you know what to look for.

Perhaps the most obvious giveaway is an NT’s tendency to make “small talk” or to want to “chat” with you. While small talk appears to be nonfunctional, for NTs it serves a very specific purpose. It’s a good idea to humor them and participate to whatever degree you can tolerate. If you’re patient with them, many NTs will soon feel comfortable enough to move from small talk to more interesting, in-depth conversations.

Another common sign that someone is an NT? Touching. NTs enjoy all sorts of physical contact and often use touch to greet friends, family and even casual acquaintances. While it’s hard to fathom why your real estate agent or hairdresser feels the need to send you off with a hug, try not to be judgmental while fending them off. NTs are simply wired differently.

Sometimes NT behavior can be frustrating. For example, you may notice that NTs have a tendency to say something other than what they mean. If you get a new haircut and you’re not sure how it looks on you, don’t bother asking an NT. Most will tell you it looks great, even if you look like this:

"No, really, I love your new hairstyle!"
“No, really, I love your new hairstyle!”

Why? Because when a neurotypical woman asks her friend “how do you like my new haircut?” she isn’t looking for her friend’s opinion, she’s looking for validation. When her friend says, “I love it” she may mean I love your hair, but what she’s really saying is I love you and value you as a person.

So when your NT friend says “how do you like my new haircut?” and you, being your aspie self, reply, “It’s a little short in the back but I like it”, your NT friend hears I secretly hate you and think you’re ugly.

Confusing, I know.

And good luck getting an opinion out of an NT when you really need one. It may help to preface your question by explicitly stating that you’re seeking an actual, honest-to-God opinion but, even then, the NT’s dogged adherence to socially appropriate behavior may inhibit their ability to say what they’re really thinking. Try to remember that NTs were born this way and their natural sensitivity to what others are thinking and feeling often makes it hard for them to be completely honest.

Of course all NTs are different, much like all aspies are different, so these are just some general guidelines for recognizing the NTs in your life.

Offended Yet?

If you’re neurotypical, how did reading this make you feel? Offended? Stereotyped? Did you enjoy the patronizing tone? How about the sweeping generalizations?

What if it went on to talk about how some NTs are so socially adept that they get promoted into positions they don’t have the knowledge or skills for? What if it listed good careers for NTs (sales, management, counseling) and authoritatively added that you shouldn’t bother considering engineering or computer science because you’ll probably fail if you do?

Perhaps you’d like to read that your neurotype–the way you were born–will cause significant stress to your family or prevent you from having meaningful relationships? How about some unsubstantiated data on the astronomically high divorce rate among people of your neurotype or the alleged rarity of someone like you ever becoming a parent, let alone a good one?

Yes, We Can Read

My search for books about Asperger’s syndrome has left me surprised at how much there is about Asperger’s that isn’t directed at people who have Asperger’s. The majority of the books that I’ve read are addressed to parents, educators, caregivers and counselors. Which is great. There need to be resources for all of these people.

But there also need to be more good comprehensive materials that are written for aspies, not just about us. We can read. We’re eager to learn more about how our brains work. Why is it so hard to find authors who recognize that?

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More on neurotyipcals:

185 thoughts on “What is Neurotypical?”

  1. Well I LOVED this post and I’m an NT. No wait, I’m allistic or NT-NOS or neuroatypical or the completely useless, but perhaps more appropriate neurowhatthefuck. ๐Ÿ™‚ And until you got all serious on us in the final paragraph, which I still really liked and am glad you wrote because it is SO SO true (!) and no I’m not just saying this and this is all code for – I really really like you and value you and think you’re kind of over the top awesome – though that’s actually true too – I enjoyed the humor in the beginning enormously and this was the thought that kept running through my head…. oh this needs to be a book!! She needs to write this as a book. (Seriously.) โค

    1. I think neurowhatthefuck is my new favorite term.๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m pretty sure I blew all my material on this one short piece, but what an awesome book that would be. The Autistic’s Guide to Neurotypicals. If only such a thing existed.

      Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad you enjoyed the humor. Sarcasm is so dicey. I hope people take in the affectionate spirit that it’s offered – some of my favorite people are NTs.๐Ÿ™‚

      1. please write that book, There is source material all over try thinking about the NT responce to a reasoned answer about why you cant do this or that at work….how they say…….”i dont want to hear excues’s” And becasue they are the boss you can not smile and say ” Gee if my belly didn’t ache , I ‘d grow three pairs of arms and walk thru dememsnional portals to get that done for ya.”…..

          1. Yeah you should say stuff like that more often. As often as possible. I thought it was funny and also very interesting because it actually gave me to understand that real NT’s don’t even exist. I mean clearly those types of traits result from stringen’t early’ on-going socialisation and training occurring from a very young age and on-going through out adulthood until the NT finally begins their sad decsent as they fall helplessly into the abyss of dementia. Yeah… It’s learned behaviour to be NT. Some-one could even call it a skill (if dishonesty and false/flawed tact can be considered a skill and/or even polite. And if an NT needs to say “i love your hair” when they really hate it and they really mean “‘I’m scared to offend you or make you dislike me (or really I think it looks great…too good in fact, in fact it’s so good it’s making me really hate you…and there is no way i’m gonna tell you that!) and frankly this situation is making me anxious and stressing me out so please go ask some-one else! Oh…and while your there ask them if your bum looks big in those pants!”. After all Autism is a spectrum. We are all on it. The need for routine… natural! Being affected by loud noises…survival! Experiencing anxiety in many, many social situations 9to varied degrees depending on the situation and apparents spectrum postion…normal! (vital survival tools..check the behaviour of any animal. We would all die without the fundamental/natural traits that exist on the autism spectrum.

        1. I have asperger’s, and it isn’t an excuse for anything. It can make certain interactions and behaviours harder, but it’s our job to make that effort, it’s not other people’s jobs to help us.

          1. I’ve found that most people are happy to help when I ask and that life is easier when you can meet in the middle rather than putting the burden of doing all the work on one side of the relationship or the other.

            1. My employers have been commenting recently on how amazing the improvement in my performance has been since I disclosed my diagnosis and we worked out what reasonable adjustments / accommodations they could do to minimize my challenges and maximize my strengths at work.

              It’s really clear the difference it makes when I’m not putting huge amounts of efforts into thinking ‘on the fly’ when asked unexpected questions or ‘reading between the lines’ trying to interpret ambiguous instructions. With the materials provided in advance, some changes to the structure of meetings and project management, and everything broken down clearly in writing in a standard format, I’m getting massively more work done because I’m always clear what I’m doing next, what the requirements are exactly and when it’s due๐Ÿ™‚

              I have a communication impairment and need time to process information before I can answer questions intelligently, it’s in everyone’s interests to ‘meet me half way’ and make sure I understand everything so we can work together as an effective team. It’s no different to a deaf lipreading employee needing people to make sure they don’t cover their mouths and to provide written materials before and after meetings.

              1. Depends on whether your country has disability discrimination laws. In my country my employers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act. The autistic spectrum is explicitly covered.

              2. You can’t expect everyone to function at the exact same level in society when you have built that society to suit one group of people only, while everyone else has to put more energy into compensating.

                It’s easier when you build society to take people’s differences into account. Then everyone can put the same amount of energy into social interaction instead of constantly having to compensate.

                It’s in EVERYONE’s best interests if life goes that way.

                1. Dana said “Itโ€™s easier when you build society to take peopleโ€™s differences into account.”

                  THANK YOU for saying this, Dana! ^^^ Why is it that most people can not wrap their brains around the incredibly SIMPLE concept that PEOPLE ARE UNIQUE? Instead we try to force everyone to “conform”. I’m okay with SOME degree of conformity (we mostly all agree that murder is wrong for example), but why must being BORN different from the human next to you be an instant excuse for hatred if they take the slightest hint of PRIDE in their differences? Some “aspies” hate “NT” for being born that way, while some “NT” people take pride in punishing “aspies” for being born that way, and it’s just like every OTHER “hate war” throughout history. It’s petty and small minded and utterly childish. ACCEPT that people are different. Hell, CELEBRATE it if you like, but don’t PUNISH each other for factors that are simply a fact of life and entirely unavoidable. (Or perhaps we should all just agree on ONE human we like best and start cloning him/her unto infinity and the rest of us just die off so that he/she/it can be happy?) Society needs to grow up about some of these very basic concepts or humanity really ain’t all that likely to last too much longer as a race.

            2. You’re not really justified in exploiting the 1967 Americans with Disabilities Act with Asperger’s Syndrome. No accommodations are necessary for a person with Asperger’s.

              1. To be disabled under the ADA, there’s a general definition of disability that must be met. Some Aspies meet this disability and others don’t. Logically then, anyone with any disability who meets this general definition of disability is “exploiting” the ADA. To be covered under the ADA, one must have a disability that substantially limits a major life activity, such as walking,
                seeing, speaking, hearing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, sitting, standing, lifting, reading and working. Those are just some examples, not a full list.

                Someone with Asperger’s might need accommodations in the following areas:
                -Communications
                -Time Management
                -Impulsivity
                -Maintaining concentration
                -Organization
                -Multi-tasking

                Accommodations aren’t that big of a deal in most areas and easily done by the employer compared to the accommodations required by other disabilities. It could be as easy as allowing someone who has trouble with verbal communication to communicate by email instead, or providing color-coded folders for organization, or allowing noise-cancelling headphones if sounds in the workplace are too much of a distraction, or giving the employee one task at a time and providing checklists to make sure that task is done on time.

                1. I wasn’t making a statement about the applicability of the ADA, but the necessity for a person with Asperger’s syndrome to exploit it. A person with Asperger’s syndrome should be able to do his job without accommodations. Even if it might be a bit more difficult for him than it would be for other employees, he isn’t justified in deferring that difficulty to his employer.

                2. To Aviel Menter (“A person with Aspergerโ€™s syndrome should be able to do his job without accommodations.”). If it is relatively easy for an Asperger (or whoever) to accomodate to normal job requirements, you are right. But if it is quite difficult (i.e. stressful and potentially damaging for him (as well as for his work performance as a whole), and less difficult for his environment to accomodate to him, it is very logic who should be the one to accomodate whom.

                  Please ask yourself if your dogmatism could have something to do with your Asperger and your incapacity to judge in a particular case which accomodations from the workplace are necessary, and what could be required from the employee. And as you seem to have problems with seeing Asperger autism as the pervasive developmental disorder it is defined: how about getting acquainted with Piaget s and Kohlberg s concepts and in particular their difference between “conventional” and “post-conventional morality”?

                  That said it would be often good, if Asperger s would be a little bit more reasonable with choosing the right job (e.g. not judge or forensic expert, because judging people requires cognitive empathy and a post-conventional morality) and not be overambitious. Or as Penelope Trunk puts it: “part of getting along in the world with Aspergerโ€™s is accepting that not everybody has to have a high IQ job just because they have a high IQ.”

                  I am just wondering what “a high IQ job” would be for Trunk. Certainly not what it is for me: For me IQ tests are basically tests that Aspergers have developped in order to get high scores in them.

            3. No, it’s because Asperger’s isn’t a mental illness (but a syndrome) and doesn’t necessitate accommodations to allow a person to be able to do his job.

              1. You’re saying that the ADA only covers mental illnesses not developmental disabilities such as autism, learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities? That’s a strange distinction to make.

                Obviously those things do require accommodations, which is why they’re covered under the employment disability reasonable adjustment requirements for countries like the UK.

                I’ve had workplace accommodations for dyspraxia and sensory processing since 2007 (at the time the relevant law was the Disability Discrimination Act, changed to the Equality Act in 2010), and have been working with autism accommodations for the last couple of months with a huge improvement to how effective I’ve been at work, especially meetings and scheduling.

            4. I’m not saying the ADA doesn’t cover those things, I’m saying it’s immoral to use it for those purposes and shift your personal responsibilities onto the company for which you work

              1. Ah OK, well if you want to self-flagellate and struggle for reasons of ‘morality’, that’s your own personal choice. I’m pleased to learn that the ADA will actually help developmentally disabled people work to their strengths in the workplace though๐Ÿ™‚

              1. It *is* a developmental disability. The brain wiring that lets you navigate social situations is underdeveloped or absent in an Aspie. If you think that doesn’t mess up your life, either you’re not an Aspie or you haven’t noticed.

                Also, you’re a troll.

                Also, I’m realizing these comments are from May but wow.

              2. According to the CDC, whom I believe is better suited to determining such things than a random person on in a blog’s comments, Asperger’s is a developmental disorder contained within the larger classification of developmental disability. The currently recognized developmental disabilities are Fragile X Syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, hearing loss, vision impairment, Kernicterus, Muscular Distrophy, Tourette’s Syndrome and intellectual disability. ASD includes classic Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.

                http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/developmentaldisabilities/specificconditions.html
                http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html

      2. I stumbled over #tweetlikeaneurotypical today, and while I thought I understood what it was about I did a search for the term just to be sure. The search brought me here, and I grinned as I read your description. Perfect.

      3. I absolutely feel that this is one of the best, most accurate, complete, and insightful essays I have ever read on the Internet about anything. I “swim” in neurodivergence in my work. Seeing something from another “side” is so refreshing to me. I agree, there needs to be a book. Please consider this a table of contents. Thanks for cheering me up and educating me at the same time!

  2. As another NT (most probably!) I had the same reaction as the first person to comment. Laughed at first but got bought down to earth by the closing comments. A brilliant (and humorous) way of making your very valid point.

      1. I agree, and yeah I felt the same way. Even the part that brought me down to earth was hilarious to me because, yeah you do have a point. When one paints pictures in broad strokes like that, the anecdotes always sound logically true, but there is so much more to life than those broad strokes.
        This may just be because I’m in the middle of my 20s, but I feel in between a lot of this. I feel like my ability to be socially adept in the manner you described is dwindling as more and more of my heart is worn on my sleeve. Not only am I not good at convincing others when I try to “fake it” (so I don’t do it anymore – no one I’ve had to connect with in the past few years appreciates the feeling of being swindled) but also, I’m starting not to see the point anymore when an issue could be addressed/fixed/or at the very least planned for. (Like if you hair is a little short in the back, maybe plan for that and get a good de-frizzing cream. Maybe it would help the person that I said something at all.) Yet at the same time I tend to feel really hurt if someone said that about me, and I’m not sure why other than the idea in the back of my head that the real reason they’re saying it is because I offended them somehow and they want to lash out at me in an equal way. I mean I hear it in the way people word things… the difference between the compliment “oooh you have a juicy booty!” when I’m dancing with friends, and the nickname “fat@$$” when I’m just hanging out at the condo. One might say I think to much or I read too much into it. Yet at the same time, I’m afraid that all of the mistakes or backfired attempts of things I tried to accomplish in the past few years have been due to a failure of forethought is some way or another. It’s all really frustrating to feel like the ability to function successfully is failing on all fronts. But I digress.

        I have read books addressed towards people with ADHD and not just people who have to deal with ADHD around them (teachers, counselors, parents). I’m thinking if they have those, I bet they have a few here and there for ASD people. I agree, it’s not always nice, the way they talk about ASD in books, and I wish they could come at it from an angle that makes it a lifestyle that one wields toward success rather than an impairment. However, I might mention that the ADHD books that I’ve seen manage that most successfully are the ones written by ADHD people who have found ways to turn it into an asset! So I might suggest that you write a book about it, because you know what you’re talking about and you’ve already shown yourself to be really good at this whole writing biz. I’d certainly read it if you did!

        I enjoy what you’re doing with this site.
        Cheers,
        Archana

        1. Thank you for the kind words–I love your positive attitude! I know there are a few really good books for people with ADHD and definitely people who actually have a condition are the ones who can write about it best. That’s why I enjoy books and blogs written by autistic people rather than those written “for” autistic people, which can have some icky language and ideas.

          I think as we get older, we have less incentive to “fake it” and tend to be more forthright or just not say anything at all for fear of offending. Also, the way we socialize changes as we move away from young adulthood, where social gatherings tend to be less formal, and into middle adulthood where the expectations and sometimes the social stakes are higher. I’m sort of coming out on the other side of that period now and am glad to be leaving it behind. I kind of envy younger folks like you who have learned earlier in life that they struggle with certain things and are proactively thinking about it. At your age, I felt like I was stumbling around in the dark a lot.๐Ÿ™‚

  3. This is the most refreshing piece I’ve read in a long time. I’m an NT, and I was laughing hysterically in the beginning. Then I got to the end and I felt that sinking feeling in my stomach (which always happens when I’m trying to follow something on a self-advocacy blog): uh oh, what you felt/thought instinctually was wrong, and you’ve misunderstood the real message yet again. I was glad to read your follow-up comment that indicated you did intend for it to be humorous in parts. I think you have the workings for a really great book that I’d love to read. It’s a refreshing way to understand our differences and I think it would be very successful.

  4. Pure brilliance. As the mom of a young son who was literally diagnosed last week as high -functioning ASD, I really, really appreciate your ability to put things into perspective, while letting me laugh and loosen up at the same time (something I haven’t done a lot in the last week). Beyond your witty approach, your insights are refreshing, extremely valid, and I hope many, many more people have the chance to read your work! (And to be clear, I learned a heck of a lot about aspergers from reading this – arguably more than I ever did reading a “what is autism?” chapter in a book. :))

    1. I can only imagine what a difficult week you’ve been having. Glad I could bring some laughter into it and shed some light on AS at the same time.

      Have you found blogs by parents of youngsters with ASD? I’d be happy to rec some that I enjoy if you like. Autistic bloggers like me can provide insight into your son’s way of thinking/seeing the world, but I think it’s also helpful for parents to share in the struggles and triumphs of other parents of kids on spectrum as well.

      1. Thank you so much – for your understanding and offer of recommendations. Right now, I follow the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism on Facebook, and they post a lot of great stuff (it’s how I found you!), but I’d love to know if you have any particular recommendations for blogs from other parents.

        1. TPGA is an excellent source. I was honored that they shared something I wrote.

          A few parent blogs that you may or may not have encountered:

          Raising Rebel Souls where Rebel Mommy blogs about her autistic twins, who she’s homeschooling.

          OutrunningtheStorm has a son on the spectrum and though she doesn’t post frequently, there are a lot of great posts in her archive.

          Inner Aspie and Aspie Writer are both Aspie moms who also have children on the spectrum so they bring a whole different perspective to raising kids with ASD.

          Ariane at Emma’s Hopebook writes about her autistic daughter and her own journey as a parent and sometimes she interviews autistic adults.

          Since I’m not sure how old your son is, I tried to include parents with children of various ages. Some are aspies and some are classically autistic, but I think a lot of the issues that parents encounter cross functioning boundaries so hopefully at least some of the writings there will be helpful or resonate as you make this journey with your son.

          1. You are fantastic! Thank you so much for that great list…not just for me, but for all the other parents that I know will see this. (I’ve already updated my RSS :)). Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. I loved this post, and what you say Aspie Kid is so true! They study us as if we are some kind of disease they are trying to find a “cure” for. I think we should study them (the movie “Planet of the Apes” just popped in my head). ๐Ÿ™‚ Just because there are more of them doesn’t automatically make their way(s) superior, just more common (and who wants to be common?). ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Humor is such a wonderful approach to much in life. And a sarcastic, dry wit is my favorite variety! A great read, great points and the time reading was well spent. I’m so glad you are blogging, you are a refreshing pleasure!๐Ÿ™‚

    p.s. For the book, I was sorta picturing in my mind’s eye drawings of different NTs, and the characters could be of different ages, they could be used as a visual reference for how to spot NTs/ For example, one drawing could be a teenager and arrows pointing to all the features you would see on an average NT teenager. One detail I can imagine is it would have on a shirt with the name of a popular store and there could be a description about how NT’s gladly pay to buy overpriced t-shirts advertising the name of clothing stores as something they do to fit into their NT groups.

    1. Sarcasm/satire has always been my preferred mode of humor. When I was 12 I had a special interest in MAD magazine. My gifted class teacher used to bring in back issues for me to read as long as I promised not to tell anyone. Guess he didn’t want to get blamed for corrupting my impressionable mind.

      The poor status-conscious NT teenager. I always kind of felt sorry for them back in high school. Also, there would need to be an illustration of the women who spent 15 minutes discussing the merits of various brands of blow dryers in the locker room this morning. Talk about an obsessive special interest . . .๐Ÿ˜€

      1. God bless my short hair, haven’t had to use a blow dryer in over a year!!!! And, LOVED MAD and Alfred E. Newman. Oh, those were the days!

  6. Love love LOVE this. I hope that as a NT mother to two little boys on the spectrum that I can keep this in mind from now on when I blog. Thank you so much for sharing this๐Ÿ™‚

  7. People seem to be declaring themselves, so to start, I’m autistic. And I have to confess that I started reading this post earnestly, like I was going to learn something helpful about NTs. Then I gradually got the humour and the guy with the hair? Very funny. (also, kind of cool) But otherwise, yeah! I’m really, really smart and I compute data waaaay faster than just about anyone I know and understanding psychology is not difficult for me and I reckon that there are thousands of autistic people, verbal and non who are also tremendously bright and who can also read and so yeah, where are the books for us? Wonderful blogs like this one are my fodder, my brain devours everything I can read about folks like me. In fact my current ‘thing’ is the autistic surfer Clay Marzo. I watch endless videos of him surfing and hunt down every second of a video with him speaking. Why? because he is one of the very few people out there who is autistic and shown to be living a wonderful life. I don’t personally know any other autistics (except my very elderly, undiagnosed dad) so seeing people who are LIKE ME is incredible. (And I live a wonderful life BTW, married, 1 child, own business and an artist) Of course for NTs there are people like them everywhere. And if they want to see autistics there’s always Sheldon (ugh) or that guy off Community or some other made-up person. So. Rambling on. We autistics should get together and write a book for us about NTs, it would be a blast. I would really love to read one done in the same voice as this post – ie; analysing NTs like they analyse us. I could write quite a long chapter about how much I love my daughter but how difficult it is to try and parent an NT and how I feel really sorry for the things she is going to miss out on, being an NT. Like how she will never know the joy of an all-consuming interest, how she will need other people around her all her life, how she will have to think so slowly, all the wonderful minute details in life that she will never see, her stunted pattern recognition abilities, her need for social acceptance. (oo sarcasm, thought it was an NT thing?!) Anyhoo, this blog is THE BEST. Thanks for taking the time to write it, I love it.๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment. It looks like someone has already written the book everyone is mentioning here (as Nat has helpfully linked to below). I’m the mom of an NT daughter as well and we are night and day when it comes to personality, etc. as well. That seems to work out pretty well though, since we can go to each other for advice in our weak areas.

      I don’t know any other autistics in person either or if I do, they aren’t out. Hopefully this will change at some point because I’m learning a great deal from other autistic bloggers and commenters.

      1. I have exactly the same kind of relationship with my daughter. She has spent some time as a support worker for autistics who need a lot of support and was the first one to recognise the traits in me. Being all grown up tho, she tends to try and mother me now! Also, I find the blogs great and am thinking about perhaps starting one myself. I only got a diagnosis recently, so I am still on this mad journey of (new) self discovery.

        1. I guess it’s inevitable that our grown NT children will want to mother us a bit. Payback and all.๐Ÿ™‚

          You should give blogging a try. I highly recommend it as a way to explore identity, etc. and people do seem to find it helpful, which is a great bonus. The more of us talking about this, the better!

    1. I haven’t read any children’s books yet (though I have read a few for teens) so this looks like a good one to start with. Thank you for reccing it here. I’ve also heard good things about “All Cats have Asperger’s” but haven’t seen a copy.

  8. So, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to laugh or not. I’m non-autistic or allistic or neurotypical or non-neuroatypical… But I did laugh. I laughed a lot. You’re right, most books are written for people who are not on the Spectrum. I wonder if there are any books about Asperger’s written by people with Asperger’s… Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank goodness you laughed. This was very much meant to be a tongue-in-cheek look at how NTs come across to me.

      There are quite a few books about AS written by people with AS. I have some on my resources page and there are a few more that are on my “to read” list.

  9. To think I just found out that I am allistic.๐Ÿ™‚ This is brilliant! Being NT – or allistic – I was not offended at all. It made me laugh so hard to see myself through your eyes. I thought “No wonder my daughter (who has aspergers) gets so annoyed with me sometimes!” This was a wonderful way of getting your point across. My also daughter really enjoyed it – and I’m pretty sure she views NTs pretty much the same way you do.๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Allistic is a fairly uncommon word, but one that is becoming more commonly used in the ASD community. Congratulations on confirming your status.๐Ÿ˜‰

      I’m glad you and your daughter enjoyed the post. I’m the aspie mom of an NT daughter, so I’ve had lots of experience with translating between the two worlds as I’m sure you both have too.

  10. The “haircut-question”… That’s a good example!
    I really want an honest answer when I ask someone for an opinion. And it’s definitely okay when they add “I like you, but this thing on your head is disgusting!” Got lots of the “It’s wonderful”-answers, and I at some point began to mistrust compliments etc. It’s not that I don’t get a diplomatic answer, they are okay with me too. I understand what you write here, on some level, but I completely fail to understand the motivation/evolutionary or not necessity of the behaviour. But I guess it could be worse.๐Ÿ˜‰
    Thank you for the blog entry!

    1. I have no idea what to do with compliments. They generally make me really uncomfortable, perhaps for the reason you mention here – who knows if they’re true!๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure understand the motivation necessarily, but I can see the need for building group cohesiveness among our ancestors who had to take down giant wooly mammoths for dinner.

      1. We still have some egalitarian societies and the necessity not to brag or show superiority was key.
        It’s interesting that in ranked and stratified society that we’ve participated in thusfar we still need to exhibit this egalitarian behavior. Maybe it’s a part of friendship. (I will mention, on the other hand, that my close friends may still tell me that my hair cut is odd in the back or something, but they’ll find the nicest way to say it that shows me that my face is still ok. Perhaps this weirdness with compliments comes out of our own insecurities? We don’t want our haircuts to suck because we don’t want to be ugly on the outside.)
        However I did hear a good quote the other day that I think is relevant. “Always accept a compliment graciously – even if you suspect that it is untrue/false – because then you have something to live up to.”๐Ÿ™‚ See? We can just keep getting better and better. (I honestly believe that we can always improve ourselves and our world.)

        1. I honestly dont quite understand the enthusiasm of many people commenting on this particular post. I mean it is good to turn the tables, and the post is quite well-written, but it is not THAT original either, and there are far more interesting posts here, at least they are far more interesting for me. Most of all I was irritated that so many people say that they have laughed so much when reading this post.

          Then I realized that it must have something to do with their being on the spectrum and not being that much accustomed to “putting themselves into other people shoes”. I am always doing this kind of mental exercise, and more intensely when I see people being denigrated or confronted with something which is difficult to swallow for them. It happens so naturally, that even if I wanted I could not think without it. I also always imagine the kind of mind in which a text must have been written, and could not laugh, or at least not wholeheartedly, even if the story is quite funny, when I know that the person has written in a not so funny mood.

          I remember also how someone reacted with disbelief when I commented on this side that, if there were a neurotypicity spectrum, I would be quite low-functioning and that in some aspects which are typical Asperger strengths (visual memory, eye for detail and structures in music), I feel pretty disabled myself.

  11. Excellent in so many ways!

    “So when your NT friend says โ€œhow do you like my new haircut?โ€ and you, being your aspie self, reply, โ€œItโ€™s a little short in the back but I like itโ€, your NT friend hears I secretly hate you and think youโ€™re ugly.”

    Oh, boy! That explains a lot for me. No wonder I have hardly any “real life” women friends. Lol!

  12. Fantastic mate – I work in this ‘field’ and have often wished someone would do what you just did… Well done.

    1. That website is brilliant! I work with someone who has classic Staff Personality Disorder. This person often comments on my Aspergers and believes that Sheldon from Big Bang Theory is an accurate description of an autistic. Next time she makes some mildly derogatory comment I will just quietly remind myself that she has undiagnosed SPD (pronounced ‘spid’).

      1. Sheldon is a pretty accurate representation of a person with severe Asperger’s and OCD, and those have a high comorbidity rate. I understand that people find him unflattering, but like I said elsewhere on this site, if an accurate description is unflattering, it’s not a problem with the description, it’s a problem with the thing being described.

      2. “Undiagnosed” anything is, for all intents and purposes, nothing at all. The only way we can no anything, including whether or not a person has a specific condition, is via the scientific method, in this case exercised by a professional diagnostician. If it’s undiagnosed, then as far as any non-professional knows, it doesn’t exist.

      3. SPD is actually the term for Sensory Processing Disorder (http://www.spdfoundation.net/about-sensory-processing-disorder.html). My son has it. haircuts used to be a nightmare until he started speaking and he was able to tell us it felt like his neck was on fire from the clippers. Even the breeze from an open window used to drive him nuts. After working with him and teaching him how to realize when it’s happening, he can control his reaction to it much better now at 5.5yrs old. We can get through an entire haircut without a single break and no tears.

        Really just pointing this out because it could become confusing to use SPD as a moniker for Staff Personality Disorder when it has another official use. SPD is also often an additional complication of individuals with Autism or Asperger’s although my son does not appear to have those conditions in addition to his SPD.

        1. Thank you for pointing this out. We were just having some fun, but I’m aware that SPD is actually a serious thing, in case people land here from Google looking for info on the real SPD.

          I have some significant sensory issues (which I’ve written about on the blog), as do most autistic people. Mine, like your son’s, are most tactile and mostly unchanged from when I was a child.

    2. Also Katie: that site is bad for the same reason I’ve been going on about. The author doesn’t like _accurate_ descriptions of people on the autism spectrum. He says he doesn’t like his emotional affect described as flat and doesn’t like to be told he lacks empathy. Those are symptoms of ASD whether he likes it or not. Rejecting scientific evidence bcause you think you’re better than what is suggests is the height of arrogance.

  13. Thank you for this. I’m an NT dating a man whom I suspect has Aspergers. He goes in for a diagnostic test tomorrow, and the past few days he’s been having issues with it. Many of them are coming from the fact that his friends and family keep telling him that he doesn’t have it– because he can function in society. One of his friends even seems to be conflating having Aspergers with being a sociopath (“but you have feelings! You’re fine!”). So much of the literature is discouraging, because it does paint with such a broad brush, as you say. Aspies aren’t all child-hating hermits, but you wouldn’t know that if you read about them.

    1. There are so many myths about adult Asperger’s/autism and many of them are being spread by the “experts” who I think deal mainly with the people who are the most impaired. So much of what I’ve read in print about AS is discouraging and frustrating in the way it portrays the adult experience. Yet so many of the adult autistic people I’ve encountered online are getting on with their lives like everyone else, dating, getting married, raising children and generally muddling through.

      Your gentleman friend (I can’t refer to adult men as boyfriends!) is lucky to have someone like you who understands and is seeking out information that goes beyond the stereotypes. I hope his diagnostic test goes well.

  14. Um.. please finish this book so I can give it to my Autistic family, so they understand me better… kind of serious =P
    Also my fiance wants to write a chapter and thinks it is a genuinely brilliant idea.
    I do too!!!
    oxoxox

    1. Thank you! Much to my relief, someone has already written a book like this (link in the comments above). I realized after getting 2/3 through writing this that I definitely don’t have a special interest in NTs and couldn’t write nearly as much about you guys as I can about autism.๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. ๐Ÿ˜€ Knowing that non-NTs can carry on relationships well enough to hitch up and have kids is definitely a giant relief. I was beginning to think I was going to die alone because who would want to wake up next to this mess every morning?
      It can’t be the death of my love life. Love prevails, that’s what I’m seeing here with you and your audience๐Ÿ˜€
      (Hopefully with me too someday!)

  15. Honestly, my strongest objection to this article was that NT was used as a noun. This is problematic, as “neurotypical” is an adjective. If somebody can find a way to comfortable conjugate that into a noun, then great, but until then the acronym should be something like NTP (for NeuroTypical Person).

    By the way, I liked the haircut. Not because it was good, but because it was funny.

    That said: as far as I’m aware, the description of symptoms of a neurotypical person were rather accurate. I understand the author’s point about descriptions being patronizing and rude, but if _accurate_ descriptions are patronizing and rude, then perhaps that indicates a problem with the thing being described rather than the describer.

  16. Ha-freaking-larious!

    I am NT and I totally understand what you mean. This is why I avoid saying “How are you doing?” as a greeting. If we were being honest, I don’t give a rat’s patoot how you are doing. I just meant to say, “Hi”… so now I say, “Hi”. Ever try answering, “How are you doing?” with a real answer? You will piss a lot of people off that are probably short on time.

  17. Reblogged this on Wata-wata Humba-humba and commented:
    this blog led me to buy a Kindle version of “A Field Guide to Earthlings: An Autistic/Asperger Point of View on Neurotypical Behavior” which both remind me of this quote:
    “I would never talk just to be social. Now, to sit down with a bunch of engineers and talk about the latest concrete forming systems, that’s really interesting. Talking with animal behaviorists or with someone who likes to sail, that’s interesting. Information is interesting to me. But talking for the sake of talking, I find that quite boring.
    Temple Grandin
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/temple_grandin.html#UZMH5L2TbvEvcblD.99

  18. I showed your blog entry to someone, and they said “The link that you attached to your blog from ‘Musings of an Aspie’ has been more helpful than anything I have read about Autism. It has given me a much greater understanding of our (name private) behaviour..and more importantly…what he needs or rather doesn’t need.” Someone else told me that “I agree with Morag about how helpful they are, and the educational aspect is invaluable. I think this will lead us to greater understanding of (name private) and his future development.” Thank you for your blog entries. They help me too.

  19. I’ve learned that I can’t really combine my need to be honest and keeping my mother’s self-esteem at a decent level (she’s pregnant so…) whenever she makes some comment about her size I just say “Mom. You. Are. Pregnant. You can’t expect to maintain your figure AND be pregnant. Okay?”

    There’s probably a double meaning somewhere in that, but… I think it works for now.

  20. While it is understandable that people feel the need to point out that somebody with Asperger’s and without may have different ways or seeing things or thinking in general, actual, real life people cannot by categorized so easily. The post only applies to some individuals, the manner in which people think spans over an incredibly wide spectrum.

    For example, a significant amount of people one might consider “neurotypical” would be perfectly honest about the haircut, and will give an honest opinion if you simply ask (even it may cause hurt feelings); there’s nothing hard about it. There are just as many “neurotypical” people who don’t care for small talk and prefer people get to the point, or don’t feel any sort of need to touch others or even like it.

    As popular of a buzzword for those with Asperger’s or who think they have it is to toss around, individuals cannot be summed up so easily. People should be taken on a case by case basis.

    1. Which is exactly the point of this post. It’s a sarcastic spoof of the way people assume everyone who is autistic fits into one narrow model and can easily be described with a uniform set of characteristics, but using stereotypical NT characteristics in place of the commonly stereotyped ASD characteristics.

  21. Other than my daughters blog, I have never read a public posts from start to finish!!! My darling, highly intelligent, always honest, world traveling, 23 year old daughter is just now realizing that the lame diagnosis’ she received at 9 years old were not an accurate representation of how her brain actually functions. Long story short, the more she learns (and relates to ASD) more her anxiety levels have dropped and the more she can embrace all that is unique about her. She can now look at the character of Mr. Spock from Star Trek and with no embarrassment at all proclaim that she may actually be Vulcan!

    I have 5 children ages 10-28 who range from NT to ADHA to ASD, I myself have traumatic brain injury as well as fetal alcohol brain damage, my husband has dyslexia and ADD. On paper we look like a mess but if you ask those around us, they have no clue unless we share these things. We are not the sum total of a diagnosis. What we are is successful because we push through boundaries, move around obstacles and recognize our limitations without feelings of guilt or embarrassment. How? HUMOR! Your blog post was fantastic!!! Anyone who was offended is just taking themselves waaaaay too seriously:-/

    P.S. My day job as well as church “job” is to work with special needs students of all kinds and to top it off I am a middle and high school drama director where my interactions with young people spans that gambit of “functions” . I love what I do:D Thank you so much for doing what you do. I am going to share this with my daughter so that she doesn’t feel quite so isolated! Woo hoo…..

    1. Wow, what a wonderful compliment! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. It’s had mixed reactions, for sure.

      It sounds like you and your husband are great role models for your children. Working with what we have and playing to our strengths are our best weapons. It’s good to hear that you’re taking such a dynamic positive approach to life and passing that along to your kids.๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I appreciate your feedback:D I shared your blog with my daughter who is living in Moscow Russia (teaching English) and she immediately got your “book”.

  22. Thank you for this post and thank you to all the commenters. I have a little boy with an ASD diagnosis and reading what you’ve written really shocked me when it changed tone. But it was a shock I needed to have because you’re absolutely right – how many NTs write or speak about Aspies like they’re somehow stupid or lesser? The last thing I ever want for my son is for him to read these “statistics”, written by an NT and feel diminished or limited or lacking. I’m going to look for that book, check out the blog links and hope that we will gradually see and read more about Aspies who are living wonderful, fulfilling lives, doing whatever they’re passionate about. That’s what I think (hope) pretty much every parent wants for their children, whatever their neurowhatthefuck.

    1. Slowly I see that the world is changing and I hope that by the time your son is my age, an ASD diagnosis will truly be treated as something that makes a person different but not less. I think a big part of bringing about that shift is autistic adults stepping forward to say: this is what our life is like, this is who we are and–surprise–we’re your neighbors and relatives and we work in your community and we’re as happy and fulfilled in our lives as the next person. And parents advocating for their children for the kind of treatment they’d like to see, not just what they’re handed by the system.

      Thank you for reading and commenting! It’s always great to hear about parents who see the positives along with the challenges. And I love that you used neurowhatthefuck! I’m on a personal crusade to get that into common usage.๐Ÿ™‚

      1. There’s an NT streak in my family, on both sides. I started exhibiting quite a few traits when I was younger but they seem to be fading quite rapidly over the last couple of years.

  23. Hi,
    I’m a senior NT who just found out that he was raised by two undiagnosed ASD parents (a father and stepmother) and have not seen the surviving parent (father) in more than 40 years (though we communicate by email!)
    I was emotionally damaged as a child (lived with my emotionally damaged NT mother for 2 years before being placed in three successive foster homes and then at age 7 moving in with my 2 ASD parents who I lived and struggled with for 13 years) and have spent most of my life trying to recover!
    Presently I’m in therapy with a pschologist who has worked with patients and family members with ASD and is sure that my father has ASD, based on my recollections and is verified by a cousin who had close contact for extended periods of time with my father in the nearly 60 years that she’s known him.
    I believe that my father either has no clue that he has ASD or has been “in the closet” all these years and what I looking for is two things:
    !. to finally reconciliate in person with my Dad and get a big hug!
    and 2. Finally finish repairing the damage and learn how to more appropriately communicate with all kinds of people including women both ASD and NT!
    I hope I’m communicating in the right place and that what I have said is appropriate to this blog and comments area and just for the record, I appreciate this blog being here to read and communicate on!
    Thank you, very much.
    Treebeard Bruce

    1. Yes, your comment is fine. I think that a lot of NT-ASD relationships are like cross cultural relationships so you kind of have to learn a second language to communicate well across the NT-ASD divide. It sounds like you have solid goals and I hope you’re able to reconcile successfully with your father. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. It’s always great to hear from new visitors!

  24. i’m an aspie, and i learned to tell white lies in order not to hurt people’s feeling, but i’m lousy at it and hate it.
    i can usually tell another aspie by the look in the eyes. i’ve seen some pictures on forums, and if i can tell who’s an aspie by that faraway, dreamy look, then i can tell who’s nt as well.
    i can relate better to other aspies than nts, but only met one in real life and others in forums. love your blog.

  25. My cousin (63 years old) is seeing a therapist and trying to get an Official diagnosis of Aspergers. His whole life his family has made him feel like a black sheep. They figured it was all the drugs he did in the 60′s that made him who he is today. He is fluent in 5 languages and teaches when he can find work. He’s been married and divorced 3 times – but I think it is because no one understands him. He totally fits the Aspergers description. Now – all I have seen makes sense! I have a whole new perspective on him. Reading this helped even more. It put me in HIS SHOES. I can not imagine walking around for 63+ years and wondering “whats wrong with me” – he says NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ME – it’s all of you that has the problem! So I get that! Now, I really get that!
    Victor’s cousin

  26. Lol. I don’t have a problem with small talk I see it as the preamble to the good stuff, like saving up money for something special. The hair comment is so true but I’ve learn to say “It’s nice,” and leave out it’s a little short part.

    And thanks for the serious paragraph shift in tone. A lot of the serious Aspergers writing I’ve read is scarey and negative.

    I think if people were more understanding of other people being different whether they had aspergers or not life would be better for everybody. I feel like I’m the one who is always making an effort to do things to please people and not offend them. One of the reasons I like being on my own is that I don’t have to please people. I was interested by the respondent who said they could tell aspies by their “dreamy look”. I don’t have many problems with looking people in the eyes because when I look into people’s eyes for the majority of the time I’m not actually focusing. An alien could change their face with a face swapping ray and I wouldn’t notice.

    1. Notbrush said: “I think if people were more understanding of other people being different whether they had aspergers or not life would be better for everybody. I feel like Iโ€™m the one who is always making an effort to do things to please people and not offend them. One of the reasons I like being on my own is that I donโ€™t have to please people.”

      THANKYOU for being a person with REASON and SENSE! SO rare these days. I fully 110% identify will all three of these sentences, and as far as I know I’m not autistic, yet by virtue of being one of billions of unique humans I find myself forced to go out of my way to tread on eggshells around all the other unique humans who are trying their best to pretend they’re all exactly alike and that if you’re even a little different, then you’re somehow “a broken person” that needs to be “fixed”. It’s good to hear another human admit to being unique and suggest that it’s normal.

      1. Thank you for your kind comment:) It’s hard to feel unique when what I thought was my personality is a list of aspie traits. I do think “normalness” is a narrow definition and lots of people are making themselves miserable trying to fit it and what is considered normal (and abnormal!) keeps changing.

        1. “I do think ‘normalness’ is a narrow definition and lots of people are making themselves miserable trying to fit it and what is considered normal (and abnormal!) keeps changing.”

          AMEN, two thumbs up, and hurray for logic and reason! That’s why the best policy is just to be proud to be yourself and learn to get comfortable in your own skin! ;~)

          “Itโ€™s hard to feel unique when what I thought was my personality is a list of aspie traits.”

          Doesn’t matter how much you may have in common with any given group of humans, as you’re still uniquely you.

      2. In the 80s there was a t-shirt that said “Y B Normal”. That has been my mantra ever since. I’m not an Aspie and I am not an NT. I’m my own weird combo of in between and as an adult I am happy about it. I’m uncategorizable. I love that. I don’t fit into their little boxes. I function and I appear to fit in but I don’t. I tend to gravitate toward others like me – whether it be not quite Aspie, not quite bipolar, just the uncategorizeable.

  27. Reblogged this on Pieces and commented:
    happy day!!, words of wisdom, words I understand – words I can laugh with! Until I knew I was most certainly a female Aspergers, I had never allowed myself to say that ‘I THINK WE ARE SO FUN AND INTERESTING AND FASCINATING! I’ve had to contend with like as If I owed it an anpology for being too much or wrong or wierd…but No, I dont! and I’m no longer suprised at the fact that when I stammered trying to fix my existence so as not to ruin theirs – They never seemed to recognize what I meant…..I only recived a vauge and semi uncomfortable emotion that would just waft away looking for a home…’

  28. I loved your post and think it is very thought provoking. In fact incredible thought provoking. I think one of the reasons there isn’t a book on Aspies for Aspies is unfortunately … money… You take a subset of the population and then segment that further into the people who actually want to read it. You have a very small market. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just means you will have to find someone who will write it knowing they aren’t really going to make the money back. Again, loved the post, just thought I would address that last issue.

  29. LOL! I’m likely a NT, just a very odd one. I score in the 20s on the AQ test, I got 4 on the AQ10 etc. I’m in the 40s% when the threshold seems to be in the 50s%. I thought this was funny because as an odd NT, I don’t get why they want to touch everyone either. I’m Catholic and I dread the part of the Mass where people hold hands… WHY? The Lord will pray for everyone whether or not you are comfortable touching strangers. Sometimes I’m kind of jealous of that touchy-feely skill, it seems like it would help me get ahead, kind of like brown-nosing but less obnoxious. My mom has it in spades, so does my boss. Neither one is American, maybe we are just repressed. Regardless, I’m really bad at touching people. I have gotten good enough where I don’t jump up when they touch me!

    I am fabulous at what my BFF and I call being superficially social, I don’t mean I am shallow but I am not about to invite someone over nor am I going to ask someone if they are available for something. I’m terrible at keeping in touch and I NEVER ask if my new hair looks good. I know if I have made a mistake or not with my looks but I will tell other people they look fabulous. I won’t point out their hair is a giant frizzball but I’m thinking it. If you want small talk I’m your girl – EXCEPT at a party with strangers. I don’t like strangers until they become non-strangers.

  30. I love this. I just sight-translated it into German so my boyfriend would understand. Really, really good, and I’ll share it… even among said NTs.๐Ÿ˜‰

    ((You might want to edit this next part out of my comment))

    Spotted some little typos on the final paragraph. Thought I’d just let you know, so if you include something like this elsewhere you won’t copy the mistakes.๐Ÿ™‚

    “But there also a need for more good,/b> comprehensive materials that are written for aspies, not just about us. We can read. Weโ€™re eager to learn more about how our brains work. Why is it so hard to find authors who recognize that?”

    1. Thank you for the kind words and catching the typos.๐Ÿ™‚ I have a missing word problem that I’ve talked a lot about so no need to worry about pointing that out. I will go and fix it now that you’ve mentioned it.

  31. An Asperger friend shared this article with me. I’m so glad I read it! And I didn’t even realize it was patronizing until you pointed it out! Then, when you flipped your point, and showed how NTs can patronize in their writing about Aspies, I saw it. Your writing is such a help to me as I seek to be helpful to my Asperger clients and readers.

  32. I know this is supposed to be parody. I really seriously think its on to something. Oh, there is so so much to support NT as being dysfunctional. I’m working on writing a blog post, and I’ll try to remember to come back and post the link when its finished (which could be a while, I’m afraid).
    In the meantime, heres a short one thats very related I wrote yesterday: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-downsides-to-empathy.html
    In short, the hallmark of NTD (neurotypical disorder), reliance on social approval, has lots and lots of well documented, and often tragic, negatives, and essentially no positives. It made sense 400,000 years ago when humans lived in nomadic tribes of about 50 and being outcast could mean death, but it has no value in modern society. The only reason it isn’t recognized as a disorder is because it is the norm.
    But being overweight is the norm too (at least in the US, it is more than half the population), which doesn’t make it healthy or preferably to being fit.

  33. Okay, I’m 11 right now and I still understand and agree with everything of the in this passage. I was diagnosed with AS a few years back and this post helped meunderstand (and laugh my butt off) “Neurotypicals”. I would say I’ve just about become a Neurotypical but after reading this, I ‘m dumbfounded to find how far I am from becoming one. Now it never was my goal exactly to become NT, but it certainly seemed like it could benefit me in my future social life. But after reading about NTs, I proud to say its rather unlikely I .will be (cured) of my ailment/gift in my mind.
    I would say that maybe 95% of current population is NT opposed to 99%. The reason I say this is because I know quite a few Aspergians.
    And my final note on this is that I see one more trait to Aspergians; They’re like balancing scales. Think of any aspie right now; Your boss, your landlord, it really doesn’t matter who. Wellthat aspie probably has a super-talent and a super-not-so-talent . As for me (and I’m not making this up) I can pick up just about any musical instrument and start playing it. And I’m pretty bad at sports and have a high dislike of them.

    And honestly I wouldn’t trade that ability for being NT.

    (A note from mom: at this point, I can’t even remember what prompted us to look up “NT” in the first place, but when we read the NT description we were both laughing (our butts off). It is so true that most books about AS or ASD don’t actually help you know how to help your child or loved one. The one thing I remember hoping when we first learned about AS was that he would come to be comfortable in his own skin. When he wanted to post on this and I let it go exactly as he wanted, I teared up – thanks to many people and greater awareness, I believe he is comfortable with exactly who he is with no compromise. And I think his post is absolute proof. If we could all be so confidant in who we are.)

    1. What a great comment, Liam! I agree that we tend to have both super talents and not so super talents. In fact, I think I have quite a few of both and wouldn’t want it any other way. I’d love to have your super talent of being able to play any instrument, though. I’m quite the opposite when it comes to anything musical.

      I also totally agree with you that the percentage of people who have Aspergers/autism is likely higher than 1 or 2%. There are lots of adults like me who weren’t diagnosed in childhood and maybe don’t even know that they’re on the spectrum. That means lots of people who are getting counted in the official numbers.

      I’m glad you commented on this – it’s great to hear from someone who is so confident in themselves and honest and insightful. Keep on being your awesome self!

  34. So funnyish! I have noticed that there are so many books written for people who have to interact with those with Aspergers but only a handful that are written for those with Aspergers. My husband just calls himself a low functioning NT. He does live with three (myself and both our littles) aspies. He is quite knowledgeable. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. This is brilliant! how did I miss this post before! I tend to want to throw the book across the room when it starts out so patronizing yet there are some good books with those beg chapters…I too skip over them and it is unfortunate! thank you for addressing it with clever humour! I love this and can’t wait to read your book (which I have already pre ordered!:)

    1. This is a really old post and one of my favorites. I’ve pretty much given up on reading anything related to autism anymore because it’s so often infuriating.

      Yay for preordering the book! I just finished reading over the proofs (and of course finding a million things I’d change if I could) and it’s on its way to the printer this week.

  36. Reminds me of when my grandmother got a bad haircut. Only one or two people genuinely liked it, but most of us didn’t. My answer was her favorite. “It doesn’t suit you.” Who says we can’t be diplomatic?

  37. Still not sure whether I’m autistic, but reading your description of NTs made me think I definitely am! I know those people, and they are certainly not me or any of my immediate family!

  38. I’ve been googling that myself trying to understand how neurotypicals brain works because I don’t understand but so far I have found like nothing well this blog came up. I’m so confused. I only realized recently that I am different then other people because my normal was that my normal. I almost wish I could still in ignorance and not have to know every day that people perceive me differently and that people think differently then I do. I didn’t know that for the longest time. I thought everyone thought the same way as I did well at least till I was 18 and then I realized that some people didn’t suffer from depression and did not want to kill themselves now I am realizing that I have sensory issues that other people don’t and I assumed everyone has a hard time in crowded situations because there is so many people talking at once, I don’t even know what normal is anymore or how other people think. It’s frustrating and googling how the NT brain works doesn’t work I tried.

  39. Just found your blog and loved this post – “neurotypical” is a pet hate of mine.
    Loved the humour in this post๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Q : Are There Any Treatments For NT?

    First what Is NT?

    Neurotypical syndrome is a neurobiological disorder characterized by preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity.

    Neurotypical individuals often assume that their experience of the world is either the only one, or the only correct one. NTs find it difficult to be alone. NTs are often intolerant of seemingly minor differences in others. When in groups NTs are socially and behaviorally rigid, and frequently insist upon the performance of dysfunctional, destructive, and even impossible rituals as a way of maintaining group identity. NTs find it difficult to communicate directly, and have a much higher incidence of lying as compared to persons on the autistic spectrum.

    NT is believed to be genetic in origin. Autopsies have shown the brain of the neurotypical is typically smaller than that of an autistic individual and may have overdeveloped areas related to social behavior.

    And… there is no known cure for Neurotypical Syndrome.

    Have a look here : isnt_dot_autistics_dot_org

    Couldnโ€™t stop laughing

    1. Thank you for the reassurance. I have an absent-minded, stubborn, over-bearing stay-at-home-mom (By anyone’s standards. I mean, she has her moments, but…) I can usually deal with it, but I sprained my wrist, and my parents aren’t used to me yelling and swearing. (In modern English. I get creative. Basically, I can speak Tolkien Orkish and Rowling Magic, and I mix the two during my meltdowns. Yep. I have a soft voice and I always feed my pets afterwords.)

      I like people. Just not crowds I have no reason to be in. I’m told I’m like a savant. It seems facetious (if you’ll exclude my french).

      I also like change and subtle shifts as I perfect a routine, how to dance to the theme everyone plays in their head. I don’t like talking on the phone, as I prefer hand-written letters.

      People really like my emails. Perhaps because I just like writing them?

      Heh.

  41. Great post!

    I’ve seriously started to think of NTs as a step behind on the evolutionary ladder. A lot of NT behavior really makes no sense, even to other NTs. If they can’t understand each other, how can they expect us to understand them.

  42. I’ve read so many of your posts and they were very informative. MMy youngest daughter (32 in November), is neuroatypical. Beyond that, she’s mildly mentally retarded and has significant emotional pathologies. We adopted this little cutie when she was 18 months old and we provided every thing medically/emotionally possible to help her live a normal, productive, and happy life. Didn’t work, folks! Despite our family’s efforts and hers, she remained significantly atypical and as an adult, lives on total security disability and medicare for her health care.

  43. “Yes, we can read” …thank you for that (for all of your blogs, really). As a newly self-suspected aspie, I’ve sometimes felt alienated reading other articles on this subject, but was never able form a coherent thought as to why. (It’s because they were written for NT people, of course.) Thanks for the shift in perspective.

  44. OUCH TJ. I understand the authors humor. I’m not considered neuro-typical by anyone other then the ASD community. I have multiple mental health and learning disabilities. There is speculation I have PDD-NOS. My brother has Asperbergers. I have been there for him since as long as I can remember. By third grade, I had the responsibility of cleaning his locker, making sure any school notes got home, fought bullies and people who made nasty comments – I felt more affinity for the outsiders then the insiders. At home, it was run to suit my brother from meals to tv-programs to keep melt-downs to a minimum. My mother had issues too and I had to help there. I learned that my wants and feelings didn’t matter a hill of beans. I love him, please understand TJ that everyone is dealing with something. Some people let it all hang out and say what they feel, some whether “neurotypical” or having Aspies or ASD or other disorders wear masks and don’t let the differences show for self preservation. Those of us with disabilities and challenges need to work together as we share much more common traits, needs, hopes, and fears. We are all outsiders and marginalized. If we could all come together we could really finally make headway for our rightful place in the world. The vast majority of us don’t want a handout. All we want is a fair seat at the table to show all we can offer. Us viewing ourselves as better or more intelligent or more compassionate well more or less anything defeats this and is just as counter-productive as when the other side does it.

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