Social Communication Survey

Take a Test Tuesday and our surveys are back! I had hoped to get them up and running sooner, but it’s been a hectic month. Better late than never?

This week’s questions are related to social communication. You can answer here in the comments or anonymously at Survey Monkey. Everyone who identifies as on the spectrum is welcome to participate.

Go forth and ruminate . . .

 

1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?

2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?

3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?

4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?

5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?

6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.

7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?

8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?

9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?

 

92 thoughts on “Social Communication Survey”

  1. 1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?
    No. In fact I probably have more trouble understanding animal’s nonverbal communication instinctively – possibly because I never had much to do with animals when I was little. I am fascinated by animal behaviour though, so I consciously learn a lot about it.

    2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?
    It sort of depends what taking things literally means, I guess. I can recognise and understand common metaphors, figures of speech, etc. Sometimes I am thrown by an expression I’ve never heard before, but I can generally tell from context that it’s supposed to be a metaphor. Sometimes I can’t work out what it actually means without help, though.

    3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?
    Yes. Often I feel like there is implied information in the question which I don’t have access to. So I either have to answer the question with lots of qualifying statements “Yes, if you mean X, but if you mean Y then maybe not”. Or I have to ask clarifying questions before I can respond “Do you mean X or Y?”.

    4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?
    Yes. I can understand some indirect communication like facial expressions and voice tone fairly well. But more complex and subtle things to do with relationships between people are difficult for me. I often have to ask people to explain why someone found a certain situation unpleasant or offensive or what is going on with people’s relationships.

    5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?
    I can understand common metaphors and idioms just because of rote learning. They no longer have a literal meaning when I hear them, but are instantly translated to their implied meaning. Unfamiliar things are distracting and take me a while to work out, and I sometimes need to ask what they mean. I don’t often use them myself. When I occasionally do, I only use the ones I am so familiar with that they don’t ‘feel’ like metaphors any more.

    6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.
    Sometimes. In most situations, I can automatically consider the wider context in order to interpret something. With social things (like understanding what someone says), it’s a bit less automatic – maybe because I’m already worker harder just because of the social element.

    7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?
    Yes, yes, and yes. I generally prioritise based on routine. E.g. “I always clear the dishwasher straight after breakfast, so I’ll do that first and my other chores afterwards”. When I don’t have routines to fall back on I can get stressed by trying to decide what to do first. I definitely have trouble making quick decisions. I get really angry sometimes when people are pressuring me to make a decision or express an opinion about something and haven’t given me enough time to think. I have to take a lot of time to figure out what my preferences and opinions are, and logically decide which choice is best. And yes, I have trouble resolving ambiguous communication because I don’t know how to work out which of the possible meanings the other person intended. I generally just ask very specific questions for clarification, even if they seem silly or very simple to the other person.

    8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?
    Yes! Because there are all kinds of implied meanings when someone asks a question, and if I don’t know what they are then I can’t possibly answer accurately. For example, if someone asks “are you hungry?”, I say “why do you ask?”. They might be getting ready to cook dinner; in which case I first need to know what they are planning to cook before I decide if I want any. They might be thinking of going out; in which case I need to think about whether I have any other plans. They might be offering me a snack; in which case I have to think about whether I am planning on eating very soon. My family have become very good at explaining their questions or telling me why they want certain information, so that I can answer properly.

    9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?

    No, I don’t have involuntary tics. I suppress (some) stims when I’m in public and I’m usually stressed and tired afterwards and have to stim more to compensate. But stims are semi-voluntary, not like tics.

  2. Yay! I’d missed this on a Tuesday.

    1. I often miss non-verbal signals from humans, although I’m much better at reading my wife than other people (we’ve been together about 12 years). My experiences with animals have been limited, but I did find it much easier to learn to understand our cats’ non-verbal communication than that of humans.

    2. Considerably less so as an adult because I’ve learned to recognize figures of speech much better. Still always “see” the literal meaning first, and if I’m tired I may not have the spoons to decode the intended meaning.

    3. Depends on how you define “often” 😉 Seriously, that is one thing above all that causes me problems when completing forms. I think the fault lies more in the lack of precision when wording the questions than with my literal interpretation. When there is no clear, definite yes or no then I will feel bound to offer context and caveats.

    4. I frequently struggle with the unwritten conventions of social interactions. Two reasons: missed non-verbal cues and literal interpretation of the what is actually spoken.

    5. Had a conversation recently about this. Proverbs and similar sayings tend to make literal sense. I have a good knowledge of metaphor and idiom, so I’m not often caught out, but I do struggle with examples I’ve not encountered before even if the meaning is reasonably clear from the context. The fact I have to divert my thoughts to try to interpret what I heard can often make me lose track of the larger conversation.

    6. I think I err towards considering things within the confines of their context rather than in more general terms. I don’t always see that something has broader application.

    7. Definitely yes.

    8. I don’t usually need to know why, but will often ask for clarification because the intent of the question is not clear.

    9. Humming: I often catch myself doing it at work and get slightly anxious in case I’ve been overheard. I used to click my pen when I was at school, but peer pressure inhibited that one (it irritated other pupils). I’m thinking that these are stims rather than tics, although they are not done consciously.

  3. my answers:

    1. Not really. I understand my own dog’s body language but I don’t think I’m especially insightful when it comes to animal communication in general. Although when it comes to humans, I’m hopeless so maybe fractionally better at animals.

    2. I definitely tend to take things literally first, especially if it’s the first time I’ve heard a particular piece of figurative speech. I’ve noticed recently that as my language abilities have declined, I’m more likely to first assume the literal/concrete meaning of a word (not just idioms and figures of speech but most words that have more than one meaning) and then if the literal interpretation doesn’t seem to fit, I’ll mentally search for a figurative meaning.

    3. Yes! I often feel like I need to qualify a simple yes/no answer with more details (giving exceptions, illustrating specific situations where my answer applies, etc). I’m also terrible at things like “favorite _______” where I’m only allowed a single answer. Like favorite color? Of what? Of a house or a pair of shoes or a sweater or a dog or what? How do people have one favorite color or food?

    4. Generally I need to have things communicated explicitly. I’m not good at inferring what people expect of me socially and will miss all but the most blatant cues.

    5. I sometimes find idioms annoying, even if I generally know what they mean. Like “raining cats and dogs” is completely nonsensical. I know that it means raining heavily, but what on earth is the origin of that? Something like “can’t see the forest for the trees” sounds more logical but I still find myself visualizing the forest and the individual trees any time I or someone else says it. In spite of all that, I do use a lot of idioms and analogies and figurative speech–though they’re often neologisms.

    6. Subjectively I find this question hard to answer but objectively I’ve been told by other people that I do this. I do know that I’ll often get momentarily ‘stuck’ in my initial perception and have trouble seeing something differently if someone else says, “but look at this other part of the thing you’ve missed”. I often need to know the ‘why’ of someone else’s thinking before I can shift my perspective to consider their POV.

    7. I’m pretty good at prioritizing but terrible at quick decision making. In my mind, the two aren’t especially related, which is likely the root of my decision making issues. Or perhaps I’ve developed a lot of prioritizing strategies out of necessity because my work requires me to organize my own schedule and work tasks. Decision making is often something that I have input on and so maybe not as highly developed and instinctive.

    8. Oh yeah. I will literally answer a question with “why?” or “why are you asking?” Context helps me understand what kind of an answer the other person will find most helpful. Without it, I may answer with a total non sequitur. I think my “why?” response is often self-defense against looking like a fool by answering in a way that is very different from what the asker intended.

    9. I have a lot of discreet replacement stims that I can use in situations where I can’t engage in the more obvious or distracting stims. If I’m in a situation where I feel the need to stim and have to totally suppress it, I feel like the top of my head is going to fly off and/or I want to flee so the replacement stims are a lifesaver.

    1. I have the same thing of not being able to answer “favourite ___”! People always think I’m being deliberately difficult or ‘contrary’ when I say I don’t have a favourite or can’t choose.

    2. I answered anonymously 😛 but yes, I forgot to mention “favorites”! Favorites drive me crazy. I have a huge difficulty ranking things in terms of most or least favorite, like what is your favorite food, color, least favorite, etc. I have things I like, and things I dislike, in many cases strongly, but I don’t rank them in order in my mind. I have the same trouble when people start talking about something like, “What is your most embarrassing memory,” “what was your most enjoyable vacation,” “when were you most sad/happy” etc. I usually just answer with the first one that comes to mind, but later I might think of one that actually qualifies more.

  4. anonymous answers from survey monkey:

    Q1: Yes. Animals are logical and don’t require facial expressions as much.
    Q2: Yes. Same as for jokes, literal meaning comes first and then I have to process the actual intent.
    Q3: Yes, it’s never quite right.
    Q4: Only some social communication, and I tend to ask more questions to clarify.
    Q5: I don’t have much trouble with idioms or metaphors and often use them.
    Q6: Yes. Instructions are complicated things because of this.
    Q7: Priorities are difficult, especially when there’s more than a few to consider. Instructions always make me ask a dozen extra questions for clarification.
    Q8: Depends on the situation.
    Q9: No, I don’t stim a lot at all.

  5. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes to humans. I feel very comfortable with cats though I am not sure I tune into them though maybe.

    Q2: I still fall into this trap a lot though I am sometimes able to think, “they can’t possibly mean that” and then figure out what they do mean or ask. Generalities like what’s it and thingie drive me crazy as I often do not understand what is meant. Apparently, I should be able to do so.

    Q3: It depends on the question. I often like to give yes and no answers as I don’t want to talk. On the other hand, if the question is important and content rich, a simple answer is not possible.

    Q4: Yes and Yes.

    Q5: Yes, this is what I was referring to in question 2. Common idioms, etc. as used consistently in the culture I get. I suppose I have learned these over the years. But the ones that people make up on the fly I do not usually get.

    Q6: Yes, this causes be some problems. Case in point, if I take a class or participate in an event (say biking) I am always trying to follow the rules while everyone else seems to easily be in synch on lots of work arounds that trouble me but seem OK with everyone else including the people who made the rules.

    Q7: Yes, every decision no matter how small brings on a flood of data (in my head) along with all the possible consequences and implications of every possible course of action. It takes time to work through this. Socially it is impossible. Needless to say my friends never ask me where we should go for dinner.

    Q8: Yes, information needs to be couched in terms appropriate to the situation so as to be fully relevant.

    Q9: No, I don’t think so.

  6. anonymous answers:

    Q1: At times.
    Q2: I tend to take hing Literally, and have to consider the figurative meaning.
    Q3: Yes.
    Q4: DThe POINT has to me Clear to me to undestand.
    Q5: Yes, I am distracted by them, and use them often myself.
    Q6: Yes, this is a problem for me, as I tend to be judgmental before considering all the influences on the situation.
    Q7: I make decision on an instinctual level, which works well for me.
    Q8: I need clarifying information a lot!
    Q9: Not really.

  7. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No – I don’t really get animals any more than I do people.

    Q2: I don’t so much take things literally literally, as in thinking “raining cats and dogs” means animals falling from the sky. It’s more insidious than that – a general tendency to take things at face value. Take looking for work: for me, that would start with the job ads in the paper or on seek.com, but most jobs apparently aren’t even advertised – they’re filled through networking and friends-of-friends and random social shenanigans. I know that, intellectually, but it goes against what I’ve been taught is The Way To Get A Job, so it really doesn’t occur to me as a thing I should be doing. (Even were I socially capable of it, which I’m not really.)

    Q3: Yes, I sometimes need to over-explain myself, probably because I have a history of misunderstandings. Crap, I’m doing it now, aren’t I?

    Q4: Depends on what else is going on – if I’m tired, stressed, in sensory overload etc I need things spelled out much more clearly and literally than

    Q5: I love language, idioms, slang, plays on words and general wordiness of all kinds.

    Q6: Yes, although I am getting better at putting things in context.

    Q7: Yes, but it’s mostly a practical executive function issue for me rather than a social one.

    Q8: Yes, because I can’t necessarily intuit the conversation they’re trying to have. Example: random at work asks about the weather expected on the weekend, but he’s not really interested in the weather at all, it’s just a hook to get into talking about what he’s planning to do on the weekend.

    Q9: Not necessarily, although the general stress of suppressing stims can lead to more stimming later. But not necessarily the same stims.

  8. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Animals don’t make sense to me either
    Q2: I often laugh at the literal meaning and have to stop and infer the figurative meaning
    Q3: OMG yes like this form for example. Love it.
    Q4: A little bit of both. I do better at work than at the doctors office for example.
    Q5: Yes. And I’m well known for making crappy metaphors.
    Q6: Yes
    Q7: Yes. My mom asked me to get a 12 pack of bud light the other day and the store only had 15 packs. I almost called to ask what to do but said screw it and went for the 15 pack. I was anxious about it the whole way home.
    Q8: Yes
    Q9: Yea

  9. 1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?
    I’m not sure how well I understand human non-verbal communication but I can tune into my pets’ communication reasonably well. Well enough to provide meals and treats on demand anyway!
    2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?
    I think I tend to do the literal meaning first but then pick up on the figurative one. But if it’s a figurative one that I’ve known for a long time then I’ve effectively learnt it and would get it straight away.
    3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?
    I think the fact that I couldn’t say yes or no in my head to this question pretty much gave me the real answer! I frequently (like pretty much always) feel the need to explain my answer and provide the various conditions that apply to it. I’d be hopeless at a lie detector test where you have to stick to yes and no 🙂
    4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?
    I hope I’ve learnt most main rules by now but if I don’t know them then I guess I just blunder through and bluff. Ideally everything would be nice and clear. Having said that there have been times when people have found something I’ve done offensive in some way and I’ve still no idea why, and equally there have been occasions when people have treated me in a way that I’ve not understood (a way in which I wouldn’t treat others) so actually maybe I don’t get indirect communication as well as I think.
    5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?
    A lot of them are absolutely barking. But I do use popular ones (I think). Cockney rhyming slang – totally pointless. Why would you use more words to explain something than the basic obvious ones? Like ‘up the apples and pears’ instead of ‘up the stairs’. Very weird. And raining cats & dogs – that’s a ridiculous metaphor / saying – I get that if a dog landed on your head it would be heavy but….. Surely ‘it’s pouring’ is clearer? It’s ‘daft as a brush’ – and I’ve no idea why a brush would be daft….
    6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.
    Yes, face value first, then wider context (hopefully). But sometimes, even though I think about the wider context afterwards, I’ll still go back to face value in my head. Especially if it’s a negative. Like if someone says something insulting – even though I may realise that they’re having a bad day and probably don’t mean it, I’ll still go back and dwell on it.
    7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?
    It depends. (You didn’t want a yes or no did you?!) If I’ve a list of jobs to do I might be able to pick one or two to immediately do. But if I don’t fancy any of them then I’ll struggle (but will get there). Decisions – I need to mull over the options and the benefits and drawbacks if it’s an important decision. Or even a less important one much of the time. There’s definitely an excess of thinking in my head.
    8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?
    Yes! (I’m having a proud moment at giving a one word answer but also twitching to explain myself!) I like to know what I’m answering – so I don’t land myself in something and so that I can clarify my answer correctly. 🙂 There is no such thing as a simple answer.
    9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?
    Not really but when I couldn’t stim in the dentist’s chair I did stim a lot on the drive home. There was a definite need there.

    You should really have 10 questions – it’s a nice round, complete number.

  10. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I am pretty adept for an autistic at the communications of humans, but there are times it still goes over my head. Maybe it’s the fact that humans are more prone to lying that makes it more difficult than animals’ non-verbal communication.

    Q2: The literal language still comes up, yet when somebody told me what an idiom and a metaphor were, I have gotten much better at figurative language.

    Q3: I am much more inclined to give details in the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ arenas.

    Q4: I can learn the rules fairly well, though I prefer clear, explicit language.

    Q5: Once I learned what an idiom was, as stated above, I became a master at using them.

    Q6: I am also adept at things like wider context and sarcasm.

    Q7: Priorities are more difficult, though this has improved in recent years due to routines and what is important.

    Q8: I often need to ask clarifying questions, yes, which often bugs the questioner.

    Q9: I often tap my foot, and only do this when not thinking. It gives m some level of comfort.

  11. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Kind of? I spent a lot of time around animals growing up and not so much around people, so it wasn’t too hard to recognize a lot of traits between animals and people. I’m a portrait and comic artist, I’ve spent a great deal of time studying emotions, so between the two it’s kind of like just looking at a math problem. Eyebrow A + Frown B + Arms Crossed C = Time to make myself scarce.

    Q2: I take things much more literally, sometimes purposely so if somebody says something really absurd. I’m not the person you write to if you refuse to write in anything but chatspeak.

    Q3: YES! Very little is just “yes” or “no” and black and white. There are a lot of grey areas and circumstantial questions.

    Q4: I usually need a lot more information than what I’m given. In example, if somebody tells me to go to the store and grab taco stuff, I’m not automatically going to pick up ingredients for pico de gallo unless expressly told to.

    Q5: I speak in metaphor and cryptic phrases half the time. Although I have trouble with a saying I’m not familiar with and can’t tell immediately what it is referencing to.

    Q6: It’s not that hard to look at things from a different perspective, but I feel I’m turning into a robot. I think I’ve studied people so long I’ve just got a long list of algorithms in my head I keep checking them against and then make minor adjustments to so I don’t get caught. Even then they still don’t make sense, I just know the components line up correctly. I usually do pretty well with written instructions. I did great in school and with studying in general if I’m left alone with a book, but if I have to sit through a lecture, I’m lost.

    Q7: If I can make a routine, I can prioritize, unless it shows signs that it needs bumped up on the list faster. And then I have trouble picking up where I left off.

    Q8: YES. A lot of people are sneaky and manipulative, I want to know their ulterior motive before I give an answer. I never take a question at face value unless I know it’s something harmless like my husband asking what we should have for dinner.

    Q9: Just reading this question makes me tic! I do fidget and look away a lot, but what I really have to resist is flexing/clenching certain muscles, especially facial muscles, unless I’m by myself or nobody’s watching. Or is that a stim? It all runs together some days.

  12. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’m getting better at noticing it in (adult) humans, and if I’m looking for it, I can usually understand.
    I’m good at it with animals, and also children. Possibly because with them I’m always looking for it. Hmm… never thought of it that way before! Thank you, survey!

    Q2: I always did as a child. I very often do as an adult – people frequently think I’m joking when I’m genuinely confused. But other times I do get it, and I really am joking (which just adds to people’s confusion)

    Q3: HAHAHA! Um, you mean like the two questions above, that I answered with paragraphs? Or, for that matter, this one? Yeah, I’m going to go with a simple “yes”…

    Q4: I have never learned the rules. Or a second language. Why is it so hard for people to just say what they mean?

    Q5: Yes, I find them illogical and frequently confusing. Yes, even when I get what it is supposed to mean, it is still distracting. No, I rarely use any myself, because they are stupid.

    Q6: Always. Until I read this question, I would have thought that was normal.

    Q7: Prioritize: no, thats easy. Make quick decisions: yes, that is challenging. However, it is not immediately apparent to me how that is relevant to ambiguous social communication.

    Q8: I don’t “need” to, but I often prefer it.

    Q9: No.

  13. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Sometimes. Humans don’t always mean what look is on their face.

    Q2: I understand figurative language as an adult, but often had to think about the hidden meaning as a child.

    Q3: Yes. I often think I have to justify my answer of yes or no and explain why I answer the way I do. And I’ve noticed that I often end with “know what I mean?”

    Q4: Yes. If it’s not casual conversation, just say what you need, want or mean; then be silent so I can contemplate.

    Q5: I used to, but I use them all the time now with my kids, but I immediately explain the hidden meaning.

    Q6: Yes. I take for granted that everyone says what they mean, but often later when going over a conversation in my mind, I realize that there’s stuff between the lines that I didn’t initially pick up on.

    Q7: No. Never had this sort of problem, but I do procrastinate terrible.

    Q8: Yes. I think my co-workers secretly hate me for this. Lol!

    Q9: No. Never had this problem.

  14. 1. Yes. Particularly with “wilder” animals like cats, horses, foxes, etc, I have an easy time interpreting nonverbal communication. With highly domesticated animals like dogs, on the other hand, I find it a bit harder. I’m very often the person that animals who hate everyone take a shine to. I’ve had cats who hate people hop up on my lap and demand pets when even their owners get bitten for giving them attention as often as not.

    2. With unfamiliar idioms, I still take them literally. I’m unable to infer a figurative meaning from context in conversation (but if I’m reading, I can do it). With familiar idioms, I am still more aware of the literal meaning than the figurative, but I use my knowledge of etymology to make sense of them.

    3. Yes, and yes. I operate on a philosophy of “better too much info than too little,” as my answer to this pair of yes-or-no questions shows. XD

    4. Uh. Somewhere in between. The more upset/emotional I am, the more concrete I need people to be. I can deal with some unspoken rules, but for stuff like work expectations, I need it spelled out explicitly. And ideally in writing.

    5. I used to for idioms, but then I started studying etymology! Etymology makes sense of idioms very nicely. Some metaphors make no sense to me unless I remind myself that they’re metaphors or mentally insert a “like” somewhere (i.e. presented with “So-and-so is iron, hard and brittle.” I read it as, “So-and-so is like iron, hard and brittle.”). Similes have always made sense because the comparison is explicit. I do use some idioms, but not as many as a lot of people I know.

    6. Socially, I pretty much always take things at face value. In writing, I’m much better able to look at the wider context.

    7. Prioritize, yes, quickly make decisions, no. If that makes sense. As an example, given a to-do list of thing 1 through thing 10, I’ll usually start at the top and work my way down even if 8 is the most urgent. But if I walk into a room and see that the ceiling is on fire, I always know that the first thing to do is hit the fire alarm.

    8. Yes – it might be relevant. The answer to “Do we have [x]?” varies depending on whether or not x is needed for something and how new they need x to be, for example.

    9. I rock. A lot. Side-to-side if I’m calm-to-happy, or front-to-back if I’m anxious/upset. I also flutter my fingers and/or flap my hands depending on what I’m doing.

  15. 1. I actually think in general I am good at the non verbal communication of adults but sometimes I miss the mark. A lifetime of studying people has made me better at this and more understanding than my NT friends because it was almost an academic study for me. I do not get animals but once when I had a puppy for a couple months I did get it for awhile but as soon as we gave the puppy away ( too much sensory stuff) i diid not get animals again…but animals love me for some reason.

    2. Yes. Always literal first and often my biggest communication mistakes are because I take it literally

    3. Yes. But I have gotten better at this.

    4. Most of the time I prefer the blatant truth and meaning…and they say we have communication issues? What is with all the social games?

    5. My husband says I am hilarious and like Gloria on Modern Family with idioms ( I get a few mixed together or say them totally wrong.) People love this about me. But I really think they make no logical sense and the way i say them makes more sense…yet STILL I am wondering “why is this a funnier way of saying it when the original makes no sense either? Why is my way wrong when it sounds just as ridiculous?”

    6. I mostly try to be in context but when it is negative I tend to do this more until later.

    7. I am good at making snap decisions when it is something I want. Typically I make the decisions in our family. I am good at knowing what I want. However, I can not follow ambiguous instructions ever.

    8. Sometimes. Depends who I am with. If I am with someone who barely knows me I do want to know why they are asking.

    9. I actually don’t think so. My tics are moving my leg or just changing my position a lot. Most of the time that is just written off as ADD. So I don’t really have any other obvious ones when in a conversation. My body does involuntary start twitching ( my eyes and mouth) if I am stressed though or stressed in a conversation and that is pretty obvious and I can’t stop it. Generally NO, I don’t really have this issue.

    1. 1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?

      I do have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with most humans (more on that in a moment), but I don’t have any sense that my ability to understand animal communication is any better. In fact, it is probably worse.

      I say most humans because there are occasional exceptions, usually for people I know quite well. After several years of marriage and observation of my wife’s non-verbal communication, I can say that I understand her non-verbal communication at least reasonably well. In a couple of cases, I’ve designed non-verbal “tests” to add inductive evidence (in either direction) to my conclusions.

      For instance, if we are driving somewhere, and I place a hand on her leg, if she places her hand on top of mine, she is in a good mood. If she moves it or shifts her leg to force my hand away, something is stressing her out. After a couple years, I told her about this particular test, so now on the rare occasion where there is another reason, such as that her leg is sunburned, she will tell me. Most such tests I keep to myself, because I am nervous that if I tell her about them, they won’t work anymore, because she’ll be conscious of them.

      I also have a close friend who is on the spectrum, and find that I can read non-verbal communication there extremely well (and almost effortlessly). Autistics are constantly giving off non-verbal communication; it just doesn’t follow the same rules and expectations that neurotypicals use. I find learning another autistic’s communication rules to usually be very easy, because it tends to be very straightforward pattern matching.

    2. 2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?

      I understand some, but not all, figurative language. I handle this by essentially keeping an in-memory dictionary of common figurative expressions (including the use of “literally” to mean “figuratively”, which drives me bonkers). However, when I encounter something that is outside the general vocabulary to which I am accustomed, I often take the statement literally and have to be corrected.

      * – * – *

      3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?

      I can only answer “yes” or “no” with no explanation if I believe that the boolean answer is entirely honest. If, for whatever reason, I feel like neither a yes nor a no answer is actually an honest response, then I have to provide explanation to cause the answer to be a truthful one. It is very, very difficult for me to be dishonest.

    3. 4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?

      To some extent, it depends on how familiar I am with the indirect communication (see answer #1). My familiarity with the people and environments involved is directly proportionate to my ability to understand indirect communication within that scope.

      That said, even in situations where I am the most familiar, my ability to pick up indirect communication can charitably be described as “horribly bad”. So really the scale here is “bad to worse”. I need direct communication, basically all the time, from everyone except my wife and 2-3 very closest friends (whom I have devoted considerable time and effort to learning their unique rules and tells).

      * – * – *

      5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?

      Everyone uses at least some idioms, if for no other reason that we have some statements that are almost impossible to express without them. “It is raining” is an idiom (what is the antecedent for “it”?).

      With that said, I find some idioms very easy and some very difficult. I don’t have any real understanding on what makes a particular idiom fall into a given category, though.

    4. 6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.

      Yes.

      * – * – *

      7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?

      No.

      After more consideration: maybe? It depends on the decision. I can make lots of decisions very, very quickly. I think and reason very, very fast, and I am generally a very fast learner. However, if an instruction is particularly ambiguous, it can cause me quite a bit of consternation.

      Similarly, I have a very difficult time evaluating situations where I don’t believe I have all the information needed to solve the puzzle, and often times the puzzle in question will be ambiguous social communication. If I am unable to parse the inputs from a person, then often it is difficult to make a decision as to how to respond to those inputs. This can be a problem that continues for seconds (a trivial exchange in a conversation) or for days or more (figuring out how to address an interpersonal issue). A good example of the latter is situations where I am trying to comfort a distressed friend, where I want to “do the right thing” but am unable to determine what that is.

    5. 8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?

      It depends on my reluctance to provide the information or answer the question in the first place.

      As an introvert, that reluctance is often quite high, but if I am feeling comfortable and safe, then I am willing and able to answer questions much more freely. Usually the situation where this happens is around close friends. The other, more trivial, case where this happens is if I’m providing entirely uninteresting information. I’m willing to fill out my name on a form without thinking through why it’s being asked, for instance.

      * – * – *

      9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?

      Yes, and yes.

      I have a few stims that are socially inappropriate (even by my standards), and which have to be suppressed in public. I do this primarily by replacing them with other stims that are more discreet. This still requires some effort though.

      I’m also pushing the line on what I’m willing to do in public. I’m much more willing to fiddle with a stim toy if I’m around other people than I used to be. This isn’t because my doing so embarrassed me before, but more that it was originally difficult and frustrating for my wife, especially before she understood that stimming really is a critical thing for me. She has since decided that outside of the really socially inappropriate ones, that this is a place where the world should accomodate me rather than vice versa. (The other key place where this happened was the way I dress.)

  16. 1) I seem to have less issues understanding animals than humans.
    2) I took things extremely literally as a child and I have improved as an adult but it is still a challenge, especially when I am tired.
    3)Of course I need to go into more detail! There is never a simple yes or no answer. If you were to ask me for example, “do you like swiss cheese?” I find that to be a loaded question. When i was a child I did not tolerate swiss cheese because the flavor was too strong. However now I love swiss cheese. I like the texture and it does not taste as strong, probably because my taste buds have naturally dulled due to age and coffee abuse. I especially like swiss cheese melted with ham or turkey with mayo. Otherwise I go with provolone. I don’t have american with ham anymore though, too boring. Just Roast Beef, but i would never have swiss with roast beef. Swiss is my 3rd favorite cheese of the 3 I can tolerate(YELLOW (not white) american, provolone and swiss). I give swiss cheese a 8.5/10. I forgot to mention that I believe in situational use of parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella.
    4)I definitely prefer straight forward information, less time trying to figure it out.
    5)I don’t use idioms. I’m not pulling your leg either. Sorry I spilled the beans on the last question. I should keep an eye our for when I ramble too much. I’ll put a cork in it now.
    6) I try to understand the whole situation rather than taking everything at face value. Something i learned to do.
    7)The mess in my room makes it apparant that I have decision making challenges. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see my executive function issues.
    8) I don’t like to give out information unless I know why i am doing it. Defense mechanisim from being picked on in childhood. I don’t like to say anything that can be used against me.
    9)No, I just pace a lot. I rarely stutter though.

  17. 1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?

    I find understanding animals very easy but I find understanding humans non-verbal communication very hard. I have read a lot about body language so some things I notice. But overall, just by looking at someone I have no idea what they are up to or what they are thinking. One time my boss came up to me and said, “Come with me.” I thought I was getting fired. Turns out I just got a raise and needed to sign the paperwork.

    On the other hand, I am very good at getting a vibe off of people. I usually know instantly if someone is shady or a liar even before they start talking. But I can’t tell you how I know. It’s just something I feel.

    2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?

    I still take things literally but I have learned from experience and can usually catch myself before the person notices. Or at least I like to think they don’t notice. Every time someone says, “Hey, what’s up?” I start to look up and then catch myself. Don’t look up. Don’t look up. It’s a trap. And then pull out the approved response, “Not much. What’s up with you?”

    Every time someone says, “How are you?” I start to answer and then catch myself. It’s not a question, it’s a greeting. Say, “Fine! How are you?”

    This one guy at work would always ask me questions that didn’t make sense. I would be in the break room with a cup of coffee, playing on my phone and we would come in and ask, “Working hard, or hardly working?” And I’d reply, “No, I’m on break.” He looked at me like I was the dumbest thing on the planet. I thought he was dumb for asking if I was working in the break room. Then I remembered this was one of those things people say.

    3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?

    I seem to be the opposite of whatever the questioner is expecting. If they ask, “Hey, everyone is coming over to my house this weekend, want to hang out?” I will answer ‘no’ because I hear that as a yes or no question. But it seems answering yes or no is inappropriate. A ‘no’ is considered rude, and a ‘yes’ leaves the other person feeling awkward because they are waiting expectantly for more words.

    If the question is what appears to be a clear yes/no question, I often feel the need to answer with many details. “Is there milk in the fridge?” “Yes, but it’s on the door shelf instead of on the top shelf because I didn’t have room on the top shelf. There’s about a half cup left in the bottle. If you’re asking because you want to drink some with your dinner there’s probably not enough there.”

    4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?

    I’m not sure what the question means without an example, so that probably means I need clear, explicit language to understand.
    5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?

    The common ones we use in English I am familiar with so I can understand them, but I still find them odd and confusing and have to translate it each and every time. I will use the expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs out there!” Even though I think it’s a completely senseless thing to say.

    I do find it distracting when people use idioms and metaphors because it still stops me in my tracks while I process what it means. I think I do it very quickly so it’s not obvious that I am silently scratching my head, but to me it feels like a long delay while I make sense of what the other person just said.

    6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.

    I think I am more likely to take things at face value and only look at the bigger picture if something about it upset or confused me. Then I would obsess over it, trying to make sense of it and in the process would start looking at the bigger picture, hoping to find some clues.

    7. Do you find it difficult to prioritize? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?

    I am horrible at prioritizing. On days where I don’t have a clear schedule of where I need to be I end up getting nothing done. I waste more time thinking of all the different orders in which I should complete a list of tasks. I consider the pros and cons of each option. Rearrange them in my head trying to find the perfect, most time efficient schedule. At the end of the day I haven’t gotten anything done.

    8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?

    Absolutely. Why, why, why. I always need to know why. Sometimes just for my own peace of mind, more often so I can answer the question correctly. I have found that the question is never as clear as it appears to be and asking ‘why’ is necessary to answering the correct question.

    9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?

    I have quite a few that I first started to notice within the last year or two since I have been learning about ASDs. I wonder how many more that I still don’t notice. I rock a lot and until I learned what ASD is I worked very hard to suppress it because I thought only crazy people rock. I tap my fingers on my desk and keyboard. Play with my pen, either tapping it against something or chewing on it. I stopped using click pens because I can’t control myself to not click. I make squeezing motions with my hands (like making fists) while I am trying to figure something out. I slap/tap my face and head while I am talking to someone on the phone and having a hard time understanding what they are saying. My leg is always bouncing. Vocally I notice that I copy sounds I hear, like the beep on my phone at work when a call comes in, I will beep back at it. I notice I tend to make motor noises and make faces if I am bored. I clear my throat often and I notice I tend to squint and make squeezy faces often, for no apparent reason.

    1. A combination of taking things literally and involuntary movements: I am very fidgety. Can’t sit still to save my life. When I was little and someone would ask my mom what was wrong with me because I was so squirrelly she would say oh she has ants in her pants. At hearing this I would start screaming an ripping my clothes off tryin to get away from the ants. She learned very quickly not to use that phrase around me.

  18. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes
    Q2: As a child,but not as an adult. I tend to be aware of both simultaneously.
    Q3: Yes
    Q4: I’m much more comfortable with the former but can cope with the latter to a limited degree
    Q5: I understand and use them, but I think I’m more aware of their strangeness than most people
    Q6: Yes
    Q7: Yes to all
    Q8: Yes
    Q9: Yes

  19. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes
    Q2: yes and yes
    Q3: yes and yes
    Q4: prefer clear, explicit, direct and concrete language
    Q5: yes. even when I understand them they are still distracting. Yes I use idioms and take delight in the literal meanings behind them
    Q6: yes ‘face value’; secondary environment
    Q7: yes difficult to prioritize. yes difficult to make decisions quickly. Yes extremely difficult to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or instructions
    Q8: Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?
    yes must know why. yes must clarify context
    Q9: yes have physical tics. yes suppress . yes when alone

  20. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Perhaps but until I am able to communicate with animals I’ll never know if what I interpret is what they are actually communicating.

    Q2: Still having problems with this at the age of 57. It’s embarrassing at times and people who don’t know me often think I’m a bit dim although I have a moderately high IQ.

    Q3: Yes, I find the need to explain how I came to the answer just in case I have misinterpreted the question. This happens to me quite a bit.

    Q4: I’m not sure what you mean by ‘social information’.

    Q5: Depends on the context. Sometimes I get it right away, other times it takes me a moment. I do use idioms.

    Q6: Yes, as I have said previously, it usually takes a minute or two before things ‘click’. Sometimes I have to ask my husband what he thinks because I just don’t get it.

    Q7: Again, it depends on the situation. But most definitely, ambiguity is a problem with me. There are so many ways you can take some things.

    Q8: Oh, yes! To both questions. This is a contentious issue with my husband and me.

    Q9: No, unless you count being extremely expressive with my hands when I am talking about something I am passionate about. I never really thought about this as being a tic but now that I think of it…

  21. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Used to. Not sure about now though.
    Q2: I take things too literally even in thirties. I’ve gotten better, but it’s still problematic.
    Q3: I hate yes or no questions! Hate them.
    Q4: It depends. I’m better with social cues when I’m watching others interact than when I’m the one interacting.
    Q5: They don’t make sense at first, but once I understand them, I’m okay.
    Q6: Face value. It takes effort to bring everything else into the equation.
    Q7: Yes, it’s difficult. I can make quick decisions if there’s no pressure. But if people are waiting on me to make a fast decision, I can’t.
    Q8: Yes, I need the reasons.
    Q9: Not that I’ve noticed. Though I tend to not know what to do with my hands when I’m talking with someone new.

  22. 1. Non-verbal communication humans / animal – I’m not too bad with people unless the non-verbal doesn’t match the other communication. I like to think I understand animals, but who knows – maybe they are thinking “why is she scratching my ears, I only came in for a snack…”

    2. Do you often take things literally? – I don’t have problems with understanding the implied meaning, but I will always think of the literal meaning too.

    3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? – Yes…

    4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language? – it’s much easier for me if it is. Otherwise I do sometimes fail to take a hint, or misunderstand an invitation.

    5. idioms, metaphors and sayings – I generally do understand these, even unfamiliar ones. For clarity I wouldn’t generally use them, but I might use one that I like eg. get my ducks in a row, but not without visualising a row of recalcitrant ducks. I have a strong objection to over-aggressive IT management metaphors – why we need to talk about “scrums” and “war rooms” I don’t know. And macho management expressions such as “heads will roll” or “there will be blood on the table” don’t play well with my OCD unwanted thoughts, as discussed last week.

    6. Think of things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole – I don’t find this a problem – but signs do make me laugh if there is a humorous literal interpretation.

    7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? – I can prioritise fine in advance, but I find it stressful to re-plan on the fly. I have got better at making quick decisions.

    8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? – definitely – I think I see possible answers that are not apparent to others

    9. Do you have physical or vocal tics – not tics especially, but I have noticed as I have been working both in an office and at home recently, I am hugely more productive at home when I can jiggle, pick and pace at will, especially pacing the squares on my kitchen floor.

  23. 1. • yes. Indeed!

    2. • I understand figurative language now most of the time, but the literal picture will flash in my thinking first.

    3. • This also is a big yes for me. I absolutely need to give more detail than others, and more detail than others want. It happens a lot.

    4. • Yes I need social information clearly and have trouble with this on a regular basis.

    5. • I read a fair amount, and started reading when I was really young so that has helped. But if I could control other people I’d make them mostly stop using metaphors and sayings and idioms. I do use them in very specific circumstances.

    6. • Yes. I have practiced though, and feel that when there is time for me to think about it, I am good at analyzing what people have been telling me..

    7. Oh my yes. And decisions are for me like untangling several yards of string; and even then I take a long time. I am very slow at social situations, communication, and verbal instructions need to be clear. Just today someone was waiting for me to do “the obvious next thing”, and I didn’t get it, and then they told me, and I did what they were wanting me to do. It is embarrassing, but I try not to worry about it anymore as I’m in my fifties.

    8. • Yes I need to know the “ethos” in which the question is posed. I want to give the best possible answer, so I need the right amount and quality of information.

    9. • Occasionally I wave my arms around, I often flick my fingers, and mess around with my hair, pick at the skin on my fingernail edges, and I talk to myself. I pace when on the telephone, and when having to wait. Try not to do any of this anywhere but at home.

  24. 1. Not that I’ve noticed.

    2. I’ve gotten better at this as an adult, but still struggle. People sometimes have to explain the figurative meaning to me.

    3. Oh, goodness, yes. Just today, someone asked me a question, then paused and said, “I don’t need all the details.” I’m terrible about this. But how can they understand if they don’t have all the context? It’s a mystery to me.

    4. Sometimes I pick up on this and other times it is totally missed. Depends on context, and how well I know the people involved and the situation. I have learned some of the rules, just not very well, and they are sometimes unreliable.

    5. My mom is the queen of metaphors, bromides, pithy sayings, idioms, etc. etc. etc. So I don’t have trouble with them generally. I think it was trained out of me at an early age.

    6. Yes, I do this. I’ve gotten better at backing up and considering the “big picture,” but it’s a deliberate act, rather than something that comes naturally.

    7. Difficulty prioritizing? Check. Everything is important and everything needs to be done, so does it matter what I work on? Um…… yes, it really, really matters. I’ve learned to ask for lots of advice so I don’t get in trouble later for working on the wrong things. Difficulty with quick decisions? Sometimes, depends on the decision. I’ve learned that people don’t often have a preference, they just stab at something and see if anyone objects. So I do that too. (i.e. restaurant for lunch, what movie to watch.) More complex decisions, no, I won’t choose until I know what I want and have considered all the aspects. This can take a while. With ambiguous instructions, I like to ask questions until I know what is going on. This can annoy people but at least we’re all clear.

    8. Yes, yes, and yes again. The answer can be so very different depending on the perspective the question-asker has. “Why do you ask” is also a very common answer for me. This depends on who the questioner is, also. I can read some people much better than others, and thus pick up on their intent more reliably.

    9. Not that I’m aware of, but now I’m thinking. My stims are not super-obvious or terribly distracting so I don’t often have to put them off.

  25. Great questions! Great survey topic!

    1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?

    I have difficulty understanding some non-verbal communication with humans (especially group communication) and ability to tune into some animal non-verbal communication signs really well, but I don’t know how that measures up to “all there is to tune into”.

    So in other words I get some non-verbal communication with both humans and animals (well, since humans are animals too, technically… nevermind), but since I don’t know how much there is to get all in all, I can’t really evaluate how good I am to tune into either.

    (Unfortunately this is turning out to be one of my typical answer = “I can’t answer because the premises are not clearly defined, so I am not sure what I am answering to” = complications)

    That said, I tend to notice and point out to other humans signals of animals I am familiar with, such as dogs and horses, trying to read them… and few other people seem to do that to the same extend. But I think that has to do with interest: I tend to be more interested in the non-human animal’s feelings, perceptions and behaviour’s than in fellow humans.

    2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?

    I’m aware of literal meanings first, so I get a little fun animation in my head first and wonder why the person talking is not making any sense, then realise that it probably isn’t literally meant and switch to figurative mode.

    3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?

    Yes… because often the assumptions/premises/context aren’t clearly defined, so I am not sure what precisely is being asked about, so my default reaction is confusion, running through different possibilities as to what the question may be about.

    I do also tend to be quite detailed in my answers. I often feel a need to explain my assumptions/premises/context so the person who asks knows what my answer means.

    4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?

    I presume that what is meant here is that clear, explicit, direct = verbally, and indirect = body language. Based on that assumption:

    I prefer direct communication when it comes to talk, but I am good at body language and guessing based on context when people are clear and direct in their body language, and I either know them well so I know their context and typical body language, or the context is for some reason obvious (such as traffic: the traffic rules set the context that everybody operate within in the specific situation, and so I interpret all moves and expressions in relation to that). So I’m definitely very capable of dealing with complex non-verbal communication.

    Unfortunately a lot of people are ambiguous, unclear and complicated in their body language and other non-verbal communication, and I am also not good at face expressions. Most of the non-verbal signals in casual group communication also seem to completely bypass me, probably because I’m not good at knowing who to focus on in any given moment, so I’m feeling confused most of the time in casual group conversations/mingling (if the noise doesn’t already put me off) and find it really stressing. So with groups I want the communication to be as verbal, specific, explicit and direct as possible. That will never happen, and I really don’t like casual group communication at all.

    5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?

    Yes, and I also find many of them visually comical even though I understand that isn’t what the talker means to imply, and the fun illustrations in my head may distract me in a conversation even though I fully understand the intended serious meaning and discarded the literal visualisation right from the start. Especially if the conversation is boring, and my imagination’s version is more entertaining.

    I use a lot of metaphors and idioms myself though, so I am very unfair on this point.

    6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.

    Yes.

    7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?

    Yes. My default problem solving mode is Confusion, so I need to activate all the modules of my late-installed Problem Solving Process Thinking Mode before I can make any decisions. Sometimes it is fairly easy, and at other times impossible (and often somewhere inbetween).

    I find that sensory overwhelm has a lot to do with: I find it impossible to make even very minor decisions in noise or overwhelming surroundings with many instructions (unless I go by a fixed script, like [if X is present and a decision is required about Y, always chose Z]), whereas it is much easier to prioritise and solve problems without distractions.

    (Thoughts and feelings can be distracting too)

    8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?

    Yes!

    9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?

    No.

    1. and now to my habitual typo correction comment. Where I wrote:

      I find it impossible to make even very minor decisions in noise or overwhelming surroundings with many instructions

      I meant:

      I find it impossible to make even very minor decisions in noise or overwhelming surroundings with many distractions

      so distractions instead of instructions. (the words do sound very alike! They have a similar rhythm)

  26. I answered on SurveyMonkey, too, but I’ll just post the answers here as well:

    1: Not sure.
    2: I take things literally a lot more often than most other people I know, but having had a big interest in literature and language growing up, I’m pretty good at detecting metaphors. I don’t remember whether I took things literally more often as a child.
    3: Yes, I often worry about being misunderstood if I don’t give all the details.
    4: I need explicit communication – I can sometimes sense that someone is trying to tell me SOMETHING indirectly, but I rarely get what the message is.
    5: They distract me and sometimes bother me. I use some myself, but I’m always very aware of it when I do so.
    6: Yes.
    7: YES.
    8: Yes.
    9: No involuntary movements that I know of – I do tend to automatically bounce my leg when I have to talk to people, but I can stop if I feel like I have to. I don’t feel that suppressing the movement increases my urge to do it.

    1. I just realized that even though I answered that I feel the need to give more details to “yes or no” questions, I answered several of these questions with just a “yes” – so I guess it’s not in all cases.

  27. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: I still do, but understand more often when things are not meant to be literal than when i was younger
    Q3: Yes
    Q4: Yes
    Q5: I understand, I don’t use them a lot personally
    Q6: I understand context and the big picture, but not when it’s a social setting
    Q7: Very much so
    Q8: Always, nothing is simple, but everything is black and white given the information that i need to answer a question
    Q9: I bounce my leg up and down, I usually don’t try to hide it

  28. anonymous answers:

    Q1: YES. totally. i can understand the more extreme cues, and i’ve learned how to identify disinterest (with varying degrees of success because i think EVERYONE is always disinterested in me)

    animals have always been a special interest for me, so i know a lot about their body language.

    Q2: i’m rather good with non literal language, metaphors and whatnot don’t get confuse me. but, i think this is related, if someone says something like “i need you to clean the bathroom–the mirrors, the counter, etc” then i’d take it as “alright they want me to clean the mirrors and counter” not “they want me to clean the whole bathroom”

    Q3: not really, i say as i probably just answered my own question. yes. they are difficult for me to answer, and i feel like i need to give more information because i don’t feel like i can properly say what i want to get across with just one word.

    Q4: yes and no. i mean i CAN get along with people just being how they are, but it makes things SO much easier for me if people were more direct

    Q5: no, and yes. i love using idioms and metaphors, however half-baked they may be, as a way of trying to relate the scrambled thoughts in my head into a way other people can understand.

    Q6: definitely.

    Q7: yeah, right now my main priority is taking a part of this roleplay group rather than finding a job.

    i HATE making quick decisions, i end up panicking and blurting something out which is often the opposite of what i want.

    yes, totally.

    Q8: no, unless i don’t trust the person or the situation seems sketchy, i’m usually pretty open about things. i like to ask clarifying questions, though, because a lot of the time i’m unsure as to what it is in particular they’re looking for.

    Q9: yeah, i have various twitches that may or may not be accompanied by yelps, but this is probably due to the antipsychotics i was on for a while. i try not to do them in public, but it’s really hard to control.

  29. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: Yes I still take things literally.
    Q3: Yes
    Q4: Both some I have learned but some has to be laid out for me.
    Q5: Depends on how frequently I hear them. If they are used frequently I get used to them. And yes I do use some.
    Q7: YES. Very much so.
    Q8: Yes. And yes.

  30. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Sometimes. I can’t really tune into rabbits as well, but I can understand some squirrels, rodents, cats and dogs. I want to understand bunnies more, though. They’re cute.

    Q2: I understand some figurative language, but sometimes I need to ask people if they’re being serious or not. It also depends on the person, as some people are more transparent about their use of figurative language than others, while other people might actually mean whatever they were talking about literally after all. There’s been at least one situation where people were actually using figurative language literally, but because I had learned that that language was figurative, I couldn’t apply it as literal, and then I got confused again.

    Q3: Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?
    Sometimes they are. If something just doesn’t apply to me at all, then I can very easily say “no”, and if I get the impression that the other person doesn’t really want to hear much detail, I just tend to not elaborate. Sometimes if it’s something that I’m really passionate about, then it’s hard to hold back, though, even if I kinda get the feeling that the person might not care.

    Q4: The majority of the time, I need things to be expressed relatively clearly. That said, I have some ability to understand indirect communication, but it always requires active thought on my part and drains my energy very quickly. I also have a tendency to sometimes misinterpret this as well, or perhaps read too much into “indirect” things because they’re not clear to me. Sometimes when I’m low on spoons I lose the ability to understand indirect communication at all, though.

    Q5: A lot of them really don’t seem to make much sense, but not all of them bug me. That said, I don’t really use them, but I don’t particularly mind when other people use them, even if it does take me more time to parse what they’re saying or it’s distracting to me.

    Q6: Yes, I do. Sometimes I spend a long time dissecting even small things said to me out of their original context, and I end up over-analyzing a lot of things that people end up saying. Sometimes I don’t even notice the environmental cues in the first place.

    Q7: Yes, it’s very difficult for me to prioritize. There are some days where I end up getting nothing done, except for spacing out and staring into my computer screen while maybe listening to music. I also have a harder time with making decisions, but that’s actually gotten a little better with time, since most of the decisions that I have to make are relatively short-term and involve choices that are largely inconsequential. I’m terrible at making life decisions though, so I tend to just get stuck in situations where I’m miserable because I also lack the resources to get out of those situations. Sometimes I have to just leave ambiguous communication unresolved, because sometimes I’m not sure of how to approach it – and I don’t want to pick the wrong approach and end up alienating someone. Ambiguous instructions often end up just frustrating me, but I often end up putting something together last-minute so that way I at least have something, and that generally seems to kinda work, but ambiguous instructions are still problematic because they cause me a lot of stress.

    Q8: It depends on the context. I don’t have any issue answering questions like these, but I can often deduce the context and the intent when something is in text. I don’t really ask why information is needed and sometimes I can overshare, but sometimes I do have to ask a lot of questions in order to give a yes or no answer.

    Q9: Sometimes I bite my hand a lot if I see something that’s really cute or something that makes me really happy, or sometimes really sad. I also jump up and down, but I’ve slowly noticed myself starting to do that a little less in favor of other forms of self-stimulation. I had to actively suppress the jumping when I was at college, though, and sometimes I’d get really stressed out as a result. If I got the chance to do it, then sometimes I would do it, but since I wouldn’t always get the chance to, sometimes I’d just have to hold it back. Sometimes I just shake my leg a lot to get rid of it, but that doesn’t always work. I have a few other ones, but they’re less frequent.

  31. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’m not that good at nonverbal human, but I’m pretty good at Dog. I don’t really understand most other animals though I think it’s just lack of inetrest.
    Q2: I learned figurative language like I learned most of my vocabulary, through context textually. I still process the literal meaning but I never had problems with using or understanding figurative language.
    Q3: Sometimes people will ask a yes or no question that doesn’t fit a yes or no answer. Otherwise, not really.
    Q4: I’m not really good at social stuff at all. Most of my interaction is loosely scripted or blatant infodumping.
    Q5: I use idioms. They confuse me when other people use them, but I normally understand them. I learned to understand them through context like any singular word
    Q6: Wait, I’m supposed to do that? People do that?
    Q7: Yes and yes. This has been a huge problem through school for years.
    Q8: Sometimes.
    Q9: Nope. No tics.

  32. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, I have no difficulty with non-verbal communication.
    Q2: I am able (like a nt person) to understand both figurative language and literal meaning, but often the figurative language takes some prompting.
    Q3: Yes. I also cant simplify essays and such.
    Q4: I am actually not very socially affected. I understand the rules of indirect communication, it just takes me a bit longer and I have to apologize later.
    Q5: I use idioms, metaphors, sayings, and dry humor often. I have no problem with understanding them, as I am not a logical person at all.
    Q7: relating to executive dysfunction, i have all these problems, but it doesnt affect me socially.
    Q8: Definitely! My teachers actually imposed limits on how many questions i could ask per day (it ranged from 3-5).
    Q9: i have muscle spasms around my shoulders and neck that are semi-involuntary and these only happen if im not stimming currently, so they happen a lot in a social situation. It’s almost less noticeable to just stim.

  33. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I do have dificulty understanding human non-verbal communication which makes me anxious with acquaintances and strangers – I have difficulty knowing what to expect. With animals, I think they are less complex emotionally and easier to get along with. Besides I can let out my inner child (never far away) when I am with animals. I am not sure that I am better at reading them, just that they are easier to read.

    Q2: I understand figurative language, but I am sometimes/often distracted by the literal meaning. E.g. my boss talked about “people going overboard” and I was smiling at the mental picture of someone standing in a boat, teetering wildly and trying to avoid falling in. Because I often have a (usually silly) mental picture when I hear figures of speech, I can smile at “inappropriate” moments.

    Q3: I usually have to spill the whole interconnected story before I can stand back and see the full picture, and see how I could have answered more briefly. So, yes.

    Q4: It usually helps a lot to have information spelled out – or let me ask questions about the bits I don’t understand. Otherwise, I am likely to be anxious if there is any ambiguity about what I am supposed to do or know. Don’t hint – tell me directly.

    Q5: Some idioms do distract me or leave my mind blank. E.g. a discussion board I know has a thread called “The Black Dog”. It is all about depression. I have two lovely black dogs and I don’t associate black dogs with depression _at all_. It just doesn’t make sense to me. It feels wrong. Black dogs are wonderful. If a black dog was following me around I would not be depressed, I would want to play with it. I can never get used to that idiom.

    Q6: I think so. I often look at the grammatical possibilities when I see notices – e.g. “In case of fire do not use elevator”: to me, that sounds a bit like “Just in case an undetected fire is already burning, you should never use this elevator”. What they really mean is “During a known fire do not use this elevator”.

    Q7: Yep.

    Q8: Yes.

    Q9: Not tics. There are certain stims that I will wait until I am alone to do (e.g. rubbing my face vigorously), but I cannot think of any physical or vocal tics.

  34. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: Yes
    Q3: Yes, very much so. Often there’s descriptive details that help with the answer.
    Q4: I prefer things to be made clear but at age 40, I am pretty good at guessing.
    Q5: I find them confusing even though they have been explained. I dislike them in general but do use them sometimes to try to fit in. My husband has always joked though that I mix up metaphors and don’t seem to “get” them.
    Q6: Yes
    Q7: I have to think for awhile to make a decision. Same with prioritizing. I have to think it out. I suppose that extends to ambiguous things too.
    Q8: Yes to both. I like to know reasons and have things clarified.
    Q9: No.

  35. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes
    Q2: still aware of literal meaning first
    Q3: yes and no. (that’s funny)
    Q4: I understand indirect communication
    Q5: Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?
    they distract me…I do use them
    Q6: Yes, I do
    Q7: I have to think about the situation for awhile before I prioritize. I make quick decisions.
    Q8: Yes, I do.
    Q9: No

  36. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I have difficulty with non-verbal when it involves me.
    Q2: I took things literally until I was about 40. Since then I’ve learned to take a moment to find other possible meanings to what was said. This includes rhetorical questions and sarcasm as well as figurative language.
    Q3: I need more information.
    Q4: I learned the rules, but not like a second language.
    Q5: 1/2 of one and six dozen of the other.”
    Q6: Yes, see answer to question 1.
    Q7: I can prioritize and I make decisions quickly. I don’t regret the decisions I make.
    Q8: I need to know more info before answering a question. Sometimes I qualify the answer.
    Q9: No physical or vocal tics.

  37. anonymous answers:

    Q1: So-so on both; worse (a) and better (b) than other people.

    Q2: Usually as a child; still do a lot of the time as an adult, but catch on a bit more each year. Yes, definitely — I recognize the use first, then understand.

    Q3: Heavens, yes. I’ve told my friends for years to tell me if their questions are yes/no questions, and to just interrupt me (pleasantly, I hope) if I don’t get to yes/no in a reasonable amount of time.

    Q4: I started learning this in my late 30s/early 40s, but do prefer the details…just to make sure that I’ve parsed the info correctly.

    Q5: Most people don’t get/follow my use of idioms, which I’m usually at a loss to explain to them. Generally, when other people talk this way, I still over analyze.

    Q6: There’s still that nanosecond of shifting gears, remembering what I’ve learned over the years. It never feels natural.

    Q7: Prioritize I can do; interrupting that priority list is…difficult. I call my way of making decisions “checking out all the contingencies;” my friends call it annoying.

    Q8: One of the things that drives my wife crazy is my need to clarify information. I call it the “multiple-answer questions” problem: I’m always off on a variant answer before I read the offered selections, or the end of a spoken question. And, yes, why something needs to be asked is very important to me.

    Q9: No, altho I am restless. I stuttered a lot as a kid and still do as an adult if under pressure to answer a question or am stressed by a need to explain why I have done what I’ve done.

  38. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes, we have rabbits, and they have really subtle bodylanguage, but I always know what they are about to do.
    Q2: I still take things literally, but I am better, if there is something I have heard before I know that they are not being literal which helps.
    Q3: Yes, I always do, because for other yes and no are never really just yes or no, they may be yes but they are saying no which is confusing,
    Q4: If I am in a new situation or with new people I need things to be clear.
    Q5: I use idioms, but wrongly. I can say don’t throw stones in a glasshouse because I will throw them back which always confuse other people, but make more sense to me than the original.
    Q6: I am not quite sure.
    Q7: Yes, very much so. My to do list is long, sometimes I know to prioritize, like calling to check why I have been billed double before paying the other bills so I know I have enough for the first bill.
    Q8: No, not often.
    Q9: No, but sometimes when I talk to other people and am stressed I have to swallow in the middle of my word which is very disruptive and unconscious. I have no idea why I do it, but when I am stressed I do it alot.

  39. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No – I think I’m equally inept at both!

    Q2: I had an experience when I was very young that made me realise that I shouldn’t outwardly take things literally, but I have always been aware of the literal meaning first. I love it when people use figurative language because I treat it as a game to trace it back to its roots.

    Q3: Yes. There aren’t many situations where I’d choose to give just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer

    Q4: I understand indirect communication as a second language and I have a small network of people who I can rely on to translate when I’m not sure.

    Q5: Yes – I always question these things, but I find them interesting more than annoying.

    Q6: Yes, my first response is always to take things at face value. I try to make my communication as clear as possible and I expect the same from others, although I know I won’t always get it.

    Q7: Yes, I find it difficult to prioritise. I will often ask lots of questions so that I can prioritise effectively, and I like to research my choices well. In the past this has meant that I’ve got stuck in a loop of researching and refining my options to the point that I’ve not been able to make a decision, but now I pick someone I trust and model my decision making process on what I think they would do.

    Q8: Yes. I always want to know the context so that I can give the most accurate answer.

    Q9: No, although I do itch a lot for no reason.

  40. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’ve always had the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication very well and gotten along with them well, such that initially I thought the problem with human communication was that they didn’t just use non-verbal but used confusing verbal communication. When I was younger I described myself as preferring non-verbal communication for this reason. I also included writing in this when I could write because it’s much clearer for me than talking. However when I got older I found there was a lot of non-verbal human communication I didn’t understand. So I think I was really good at the animal kind of non-verbal, but terrible at the human kind. The human kind fascinated me because I didn’t understand it, though, so it became an interest of mine to study it, also because when I tried out some of the human non-verbal communication things I’d read about in scientific descriptions, people reacted to me differently, and I decided that this might be one of my problems that I could actually work on (this was before I even knew about Asperger’s). So studying non-verbal communication became an interest of mine, I even minored in it in college. I still find it very interesting, but I still do better with animals. The human side of it I have to learn scientifically and apply conciously, so while I can do that in many cases if I am thinking about it or have practiced it, I am not very good at interpreting others, or not doing certain non-verbal things that send incorrect signals to others. To other people they think that this human non-verbal communication is “natural” like the animal kind, and if someon does something it MUST mean what they think it means, but to me it’s like a foreign language that must be learned, and as I know certain things don’t naturally mean what other people think (with me), I don’t always assume that with others either.

    Q2: When I was a kid I took it all literally. I still remember the moment it finally dawned on my what ‘sarcasm’ was when my mother made some comment and said she was being sarcastic, and I realized that this tone of voice had meant all along that she meant something else. It was mind blowing. I think it was considerably later in life than most kids learn this, because she didn’t believe that I didn’t already know. I had a lot of trouble understanding figures of speech as a kid now, I’ve simply looked up and learned the meanings. As an adult, I am aware of the literal meaning first, and then I work to find out the figurative one. I find that other people often don’t think of the literal meaning at all, so they might say something that literally is hilarious but they don’t find it at all funny when I try to make a joke out of it because they meant it figuratively. If I don’t understand figurative meaning as an adult I usually ask, but I still often take things literally or I’m not sure if someone is “joking” or speaking literally.

    Q3: Yes, I have a hard time with a simple answer because there are always so many angles and other bits of information to consider. I dislike grey areas but I find many things fall into them so I analyze them a lot to figure out which way to go. I give a lot of detail supporting my opinions, generally more than anyone wants to hear. I also ask other people to explain themselves more than they want to because I want to understand the reasoning behind their answer if I don’t agree.

    Q4: I like it to be direct. If someone wants to do something or doesn’t want to do something, I really prefer that they say so directly instead of beating around the bush or “softening” it because then it is confusing to me. I don’t feel I can walk away and repeat, for example, “bob doesn’t want to do that” if bob gave me one of these vague answers that said one thing but implied something else. So I will often keep asking until I get a clear answer. If someone seems like they are answering one way but their body language indicates otherwise, I will try to interpret that and ask them about it. But sometimes it turns out that they answer one way even if their body language indicates the opposite (and they truly feel the opposite as it turns out later) which is confusing. Eventually I can get to the bottom of it if I keep asking but this annoys people, and if I don’t, I am still often unclear. I also tend to express myself very directly (except with lots of supporting info to explain why) which people seem to dislike because they want it softer. Sometimes they say they “get it” and they don’t want me to keep explaining, or they am offended by me being too direct. I consciously try to soften and use “nicer” (vaguer) language in an attempt to be less “blunt” in my workplace feedback because it requires me to point out people’s mistakes and many times people feel it is too blunt. Another way I try to soften it is to mix in casual language, especially if I am speaking, because formal sounds more blunt (so I have sort of a mixture of slang and formal).

    Q5: I find a number of them confusing or illogical but have figured them out over time for the most part. Learning the literal meaning/history behind these figures of speech is interesting to me and helps me remember the figurative meaning. I think of them figuratively but like an analogy. I often use analogies myself that just pop to mind when I’m talking to try to help people understand what I’m saying, but some people have told me I use them too much. These are usually analogies that are not already set up in the language, such as replacing two things in the current discussion with two other things which makes it very plain in my mind, and seems to help get my point across. I use idioms that I have learned the meaning of that are either funny to me or seem appropriate to the situation because I like to use interesting language. Sometimes I make them up and use them like sayings. The ones I still dislike as an adult are ones that paint really gross pictures because when I hear someone say something, I immediately picture it. So things like “flogging a dead horse” or “so and so has a stick up his butt” are just revolting and I don’t want to hear them or picture them. I made a list of the ones that gross me out because of picturing them literally and try to ask people to stop using them.

    Q6: I almost always take it literally/face value, and I don’t even always think of any secondary meaning. When I am reviewing the situation later I sometimes become aware of the secondary meaning that I was oblivious to the time, and that causes some embarrassment or regret after the fact, or questioning what the person really meant. It was only a few years ago that I became aware of the “tertiary” level of meaning which is, why the person chose to say such and such or what message they are trying to send. I’ve heard about this before but didn’t realize what people were talking about. For example if I put on a certain shirt, or we saw someone else with a certain shirt, my mother might make some comment like, “what message is this person trying to send by wearing that?” and my response would be, what are you taking about. I don’t try to send a message with my clothes, I just like the clothes. If there is any message it is what is printed on the shirt. Or, someone might say to me, “why would you want to say something like that.” and the only reason would be because I thought that. I have to work really hard to figure out situations where a person said something not just because they thought that, but because they specifically calculated saying that particular thing at a particular time to have some further meaning. But the further meaning is obvious to everybody around me so much that they don’t even think about the actual literal meaning of the words, it’s irrelevant.

    Q7: I have an extremely hard time making decisions because I have to consider all the pros and cons and reason out the right course of action. I don’t want to regret it later. Even if I make a mistake, I want to be able to think that I made the best choice at the time with the information I had. It takes a long time of thinking about ambiguous conversation or instructions. In the case of instructions, as a kid I often would simple not do the thing if I couldn’t figure out what was wanted because I didn’t want to mess up. Now, I’m more likely to just ignore the instructions if they don’t make sense, and figure out a better way myself (or I might ask someone else to see if they understood). Prioritization is also difficult, if I’m given tasks to do I try to ask which ones are most important because usually this is not communicated, I’m just supposed to know. It seems to annoy people when I ask so I don’t that often, unless it becomes clear I can’t do both in the allotted time. On my own, I make lists and order things either due to importance or efficiency, for example, I order all my errands if I have prepared well so I can go from a nearby place to another nearby place. I have a lot of to-do lists. I procrastinate, so often priority is determined by running out of time or those things that are time sensitive.

    Q8: I ask a lot of clarifying questions because oftentimes what the person is asking doesn’t seem to be what they are really asking. For example, if someone asks me, “are you free this weekend?” I need to know what they want me to do. I have to drill down until they explain what it is they want and when, then I can answer if I can do it or not. I don’t understand why they don’t just say, “Can you help me move some boxes at 2 on Sunday?” or something clear like that. If I can, I will, and if it’s an important thing I will move other stuff if necessary, but I will be able to give them a straight answer, whereas it’s impossible to answer a question like “are you free this weekend” when I don’t know if they want me to take a trip this weekend, or go to dinner on a particular evening, or really need help at a certain time. I generally have some things to do even if they are just chores, but I can rearrange in some cases. I also spend a lot of time thinking about my reasoning on various decisions, so I can go on and on about them past the point of anyone else being interested, if they inquire. I find other people’s reasons interesting but they generally don’t find mine interesting.

    Q9: I am not sure I can consider them involuntary if I can suppress them in public, but I do have things I do that I try to refrain from doing in public (unless I don’t think anybody’s looking) and then do in private, like blinking my eyes really hard and rolling them around (I associate this with my contacts being dry/feeling funny, but actually I also do it when I’m wearing glasses instead of contacts). I also purse my lips and rub them against the end of my nose, fold my tongue backwards and suck on it and run my tongue around the perimeter of my teeth, stretch, etc. I fidget a lot, and some of these things I suppress around people and then do when they leave, like if I’m in an elevator, as soon as everyone else gets out, I do it. However I do a lot of fidgety things around people too, but more avoid those that look particularly odd (like the eye thing) or get weird reactions (scratching, stretching excessively, etc). I used to do this weird breathing/noise thing with my throat all the time, until I decided it was similar to a bad horse habit called ‘cribbing’ and worked to stop it, which was extremely hard, but eventually I stopped.

  41. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes when people let me down I feel I am on the same level as my pets
    Q2: I cant uynderstand jokes or sarcasm
    Q3: yes
    Q4: yes
    Q5: yes
    Q6: I believe what I am told initially even if it is a lie
    Q7: yes very and it is hard to organise things
    Q8: yes people are annoyed by it
    Q9: no

  42. 1) I have a lot of problems with human non-verbal and I only get along with calm animals. My parents raised me around animals but mostly they scare or worry me if they become vocal or animated. IE I don’t know if the dog wants out, food, water, her ears rubbed or what when she whines, so if my BF isn’t around to tell me I just go thru the list (and she still whines and bounces and gets me upset).

    2) Everything is literal first, then I understand figurative mostly through stopping the literal in my head and actively recalling similar conversations from my own history or a fictional situation that seems to fall in the socially acceptable category.

    3)I always feel like I’m missing the subtext and tend to seek clarification. I also try to tell people if you don’t want to know the full answer ask a smaller question or tell me it’s yes or no. Otherwise it comes out as reasons for yes and reasons for no, and only me seeing my logic for which one I’m choosing.

    4) I have learned very few social rules that I can rely on, most seem to fluid to me. Most all social info, if unexplained, I go with out. I know it’s there somewhere in the situation, but I can’t see it and I am often unsure how to ask with out offending. Example: Our neighbors have a new room mate: I can’t figure out if it’s now a 3 person relationship, she’s a friend/coworker down on her luck or if she’s family. And I don’t know how to ask.

    5) I try to use idioms and metaphors that make sense to me which my few friends always think are funny/strange. Most are confusing and distracting, taking a few minutes to figure out.

    6) Everything in wider context first then narrowed down. Stopping at stop signs while walking before remembering that it applies to cars and that no one cares on a dirt road if a pedestrian stops.

    7) I can make quick decisions only if I forcefully remind myself that making a mistake isn’t world ending and having a back up plan (or 7) ready incase I am making a mistake. Also several plans for if I’m right or partly right as well, though I tend to worry more about what to do if I’m wrong.

    8) I always assume people are as curious as I am so I tend not to need the why before I can answer but asking questions and over explaining something someone else sees as simple will happen hourly if I don’t keep my mouth shut. And I tend to give direct literal answers to simple questions: friend: “What are you doing?” Me: “Standing in my kitchen with all my cabinets open trying to decide on diner. ” (Apparently the answer is supposed to be “making dinner”)

    9) I have to be careful controlling tone and speed, or I will speak to quickly and softly. I have a few other stims I can’t do publicly with out drawing negative attention, but I can get by with scaled down versions. But I don’t have to catch up on my required quota on anything when I’m alone.

  43. 1. I have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, I don’t understand my wife’s cats, dogs confuse me and I don’t know if they are being friendly or aggressive unless I know the dog.
    2. I took things literally when I was a child but have learned to do this less over the years. I am to some extent slightly fascinated with figurative language (have only just understood it) and like to use it in ridiculous ways to get a laugh
    3. Everything has context, everything has nuance, there are very few simple yes/no questions. My wife says, correctly, that I answer nearly every question with a question
    4. I find it very helpful if communication is clear and direct. I can understand indirect communication to some extent but it is harder work and more likely to go wrong.
    5. I understand idioms, metaphors and sayings but tend to be distracted by the illogical aspects.
    6. I find I have to make a conscious effort consider things in a wider context and even then I struggle. When I manage to do it communication works so much better as I can phrase things to suit the audience – this does not happen that often but I am ridiculously pleased when it works.
    7. I have always thought that I could prioritise and make decisions but have realised this is really a facet of having narrow obsessive interests.
    8. I need to know context and background to answer a question well. At work I have colleagues who know I am autistic who help me, sometimes I need just a few sentences of context to be able to respond to an email appropriately.
    9. I have lots of different finger movements – touching the pad of each finger to the thumb, running the pads of each finger round the thumbnail, running the pad of the thumb around each fingernail – I think only those who know autism would spot this so I don’t restrict at all. More obvious stuff has to wait but I have never noticed that this makes things worse.

  44. I have been having more trouble typing lately so I will give one big answer for all of the Questions.

    I understand *my own* animals and children quite well, but not other peoples, as for the other questions I think that I can answer “Yes, to varying degrees”. I am definitely able to use my intellect as a replacement for social intuition however that is exhausting and only works on good days. Like others I have the funny literal cartoon running through my head (grasshoppers knees anyone?) even as my brain is telling me, “No, that’s not what he meant.”

    I also experience these things more intensely when my reserves are already low. My speech slows noticeably as my ability to process diminishes. I end up needing more information in situations and I come across as slow. I’ve never been a very overt stimmer but I find discreet ways to stim when I am out (palm scratching) and then rock allot once home. Also when I’m a bit stressed I start doing sub-vocal echolalia.

  45. anonymous answers:

    Q1: It depends how well I know the person. Non-verbal communication is easy to understand if it’s with someone I know very well, but more difficult with people I don’t know. The only animals whose communication makes sense to me are cats (probably because I’ve lived with cats all my life)

    Q2: I learned at a pretty young age to understand figurative language, but my understanding has never been automatic.

    Q3: Yes. I often fell as though I’m leaving out information. However, if I’m very overwhelmed and am having trouble with communication, yes/no questions are a lot easier to answer than open ended ones.

    Q4: I’ve forced myself to learn a lot of social rules, but my ability to understand them varies depending on my mental state.

    Q5: I’ve never had much trouble understanding them, but I do find many of them illogical. I use metaphors occasionally, but I hardly ever use idioms.

    Q6: Yes, but this doesn’t affect me as much when I’m reading as it does when I’m listening to someone speaking.

    Q7: I have a lot of trouble with this. I’m unable to make quick decisions during social communications, especially when things are ambiguous.

    Q8: Yes. I feel like a can’t probably answer unless I know the context of the question.

    Q9: Yes. I tend to twitch and make “meep” noises. But I try not to do this around people who do not know me well because I’m worried they will react badly. I frequently have to excuse myself to the bathroom in social situations to make up for suppressing my tics.

  46. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I do have difficulty with non-verbal communication with humans, except for certain people I know really well. I’m good with non-verbal with cats, but I haven’t spent enough time around other animals to be able to “read” them.

    Q2: Yes, I often take things literally. I am familiar with some figurative language, so it depends if it’s a phrase I know or not. I find for me it helps to know the origin of a phrase.

    Q3: Yes, because I find that giving more detail prevents misunderstandings.

    Q4: I am able to understand indirect communication, but it takes me longer to get to that point. The “second language” analogy makes a lot of sense to me. Each social group or setting is a different language, and I can understand some of those languages but not others. It helps to have social info expressed clearly in new situations, but I don’t always know how to ask for that, so I tend to sit at the sidelines and observe until I learn the rules.

    Q5: I understand them but still find them illogical at times. I usually try to find out their origins to help understand the meaning. I do use idioms, but not often. They can be distracting.

    Q6: Yes, I usually consider things on their own, rather than part of something bigger.

    Q7: Yes, definitely. It often makes me feel overwhelmed if I have a lot of things to do, especially if they are inter-related.

    Q8: Sometimes. The circumstances can really change what my answer will be.

    Q9: I hum and sometimes i tap my lips. They aren’t very noticeable or offensive, so I don’t bother trying not to do them in public. I don’t know if they count as tics. I don’t think they are involuntary per se, but it is definitely unconscious. I am usually not aware that I am doing it unless someone points it out.

  47. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I typically don’t have issues with non-verbal communication from humans UNLESS what they are saying doesn’t match their body language. For instance, if someone is lying to me or hiding something I cannot tell. I will always trust their words and miss any non-verbal cues. This might be because I’m too busy processing the verbal communication that I cannot process anything else.

    Animals are straightforward. They have no secret agenda. Thus, I completely understand their communication.

    Q2: I always take things literally. It takes a lot of processing to focus less on the literal words and more on the intended meaning. It gets exhausting.

    I have learned to use humor as a way to pass. A lot of my humor is literal, so it’s easy to slide a joke or one-liner into a conversation (based upon the way someone said a thing) because that is my first, natural, reaction. Unfortunately, this often turns into awkward silence and annoyance on the part of the other conversation members, so I end up feeling rejected and ostracized. But when it succeeds… oh man, it makes me look like the quirky fun social guy.

    Q3: Yes, which is ironic considering my black-and-white absolutist thinking pattern. You’d think a simple yes/no would be perfect for someone who doesn’t think in grayscales, but you’d be wrong. It’s agonizing to just stop at one word, mostly because I’ve felt I have to explain (or apologize for) myself for my entire life.

    Q4: Oh yes. Unless things are thoroughly spelled out for me, I feel like I miss a great lot of what is intended to be said.

    If it’s put into writing, even better! I can analyze, re-analyze, and over-analyze to my hearts content that way. It’s the only way I ever come close to fully understanding what’s being communicated.

    Q5: I used to have trouble with idioms and metaphors. The way I got over that is to learn what is really meant by the idioms. They’re kind of a “social shorthand” for getting more complex ideas across quickly.

    All I had to do was approach it as a second language, like a subset of English or technical jargon. As soon as I had my translations, I was good to go.

    That said, it still irks me whenever I hear idioms in a conversation. Almost like a, “How dare you make me use my pocket idiom translation dictionary?”

    Q6: YES! I struggle mightily with going beyond face value statements and considering the full meaning and context. This ties directly into my answer 2 above. It’s really a matter of being literal by default, then only after a lot of processing expanding to the figurative placement of the literal words.

    Q7: Priorities are not generally a problem for me. I can make a list of those, which is a strong-suit of mine. However, the choices that go into that…

    Making decisions (regardless of quickness) is ALWAYS a problem for me. I try to incorporate all available information into the process, mull it over, and pick the “perfect,” or “correct” answer. Executive functioning mess to the max. Good luck getting a dinner suggestion out of me before it’s time for a breakfast choice.

    This totally makes it difficult to resolve ambiguous input, especially in a live, conversational setting. I want to be right and not have to revise later. I want to be at peace that I made the perfect or least-worst call, otherwise I will over-analyze the decision until it drives me mad.

    Q8: I always ask why the information is needed, if only to provide a context for my answer. I refuse to answer questions without context, as blindly answering questions has caused major issues for me in the past.
    Again, it goes back to trying to find that perfect answer every time.

    Q9: I don’t have any conversational stims, as far as I can tell.

  48. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Humans, a lot; animals, somewhat
    Q2: Probably. But also if someone makes a vague or ambiguous comment, I am often left obsessing over what they really meant.
    Q3: Sometimes.
    Q4: Both. Worse or harder when tired.
    Q5: I don’t like ones used in the wrong context. Shudder at “touch base” etc.
    Q6: A bit. This door is in constant use demands to be changed to frequent.
    Q7: Usually decisive if a logical problem. Hate interpersonal conflict of any sort.
    Q9: I have a head shaking tic when very tired or stressed.

  49. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I think so. I’ve become much better at understanding non-verbal cues from people over the years, but it’s always a conscious process. With animals, especially dogs, it’s much easier and I rarely have to think about it as much. I grew up with a “pack” of three husky dogs with very diverse personalities in the house and spent a lot of time interacting with them throughout my childhood, so I think that May have given me a more intuitive understanding of their body language than many people have. Also, it helps that animal body language is often simpler and more dramatic, and that it almost never lies.

    Q2: I very occasionally take something too literally, but I am pretty good at detecting when something is meant figuratively. I do often see the literal meaning and the intended meaning of a phrase at the same time, though.

    Q3: Yes. I probably drive people crazy by answering “simple” questions with “probably” or “yes, but…”, or “not necessarily…”.

    Q4: I probably still miss a lot more indirect communication than would be ideal, but I am usually aware enough of unspoken rules and non-explicit signals to get by without making a fool of myself (also, I often refrain from acting in a situation if I’m unsure of what to do or if I sense that I might be missing something that other people know).

    Q5: Illogical and strange, yes, but I do understand them and I use them myself fairly frequently. Sometimes when I hear one, I’ll think to myself, “That’s a really bizarre expression. Who on earth thought of that?”, but they don’t really distract or confuse me.

    Q6: I might have an innate tendency to do this, but I’m very conscious and meticulous about taking environmental/situational clues into account before judging anything too quickly. Sometimes an ability to easily consider things outside their immediate context is very useful, but I’m usually very careful not to take things out of context in the first place.

    Q7: Absolutely. I have a terrible time trying to make decisions quickly, and I’m probably not very good at prioritizing either. I might be aware that something is of relatively higher importance than something else, but my sometimes-non-existent executive function and short-term memory mean that I often manage not to take that into account when I actually act. This does make it seriously difficult sometimes for me to act on ambiguous instructions or unclear information. It doesn’t factor into social situations very much for me, but that might just be because I don’t do very much socializing.

    Q8: Yes. See answer to Question 3. I think it’s because I feel that my automatic answer to a question will be something strange, or that I’ll give a completely unrelated and confusing answer if I’ve misinterpreted the question, which I often have. Sometimes the actual meaning of a question can be a lot more than just the words, and I’m not always confident that I understand what someone actually wants to know when they ask something.

    Q9: I have one thing that I think might be a vocal tic or something similar: sometimes, if I feel really awkward or like I’m becoming “exposed” in some social situation, I’ll catch myself automatically starting to say something like, “It’s cold in here” to myself, even though it’s usually not cold at all. It’s very strange and completely involuntary, and I really have no idea why it’s particular phrase.
    I also have a nervous habit of brushing the side my nose with my thumb, but I try not to do it very much.

  50. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I wish I could. I like animals a lot better than humans, but I find their non-verbal communication as mysterious as I find that of humans.

    Q2: I occasionally still take things too literally now, especially when I’m tired, but definitely less than when I was younger. I tend to be aware of the literal meaning first, but sometimes I understand the literal and figurative meanings simultaneously (never the figurative meaning first).

    Q3: Yes, although I try to start my answer with a yes/no (in the past I’d ramble on a bit before saying “so yes/no”.

    Q4: To some extent, I’ve learned the rules like a second language, but I find that a lot of the time, I have to ask a good friend to ‘translate’ social information.

    Q5: Most people find idioms illogical (even if not distractingly so). I enjoy looking up their history/meaning. I do get very distracted by them, but I also use them myself. I also use ‘memes’ a lot.

    Q6: Always. Can people actually see things in their wider context right away? I’ve never been able to. I didn’t realise this was a thing, but it sounds pretty cool.

    Q7: Yep, which is becoming a massive pain in college where I have to prioritize doing my assignments and also where assignment instructions are vague and I have to figure out what to do. If people say something ambiguous in conversation, I sometimes just ask them to clarify or I repeat back what they said to them in a questioning tone (or with a question mark at the end of it in writing).

    Q8: I do need to know the reason why information is needed before I can answer a question, but this isn’t an autism thing. I learned to be careful because my parents would take things I told them and use that information against me. As for clarifying questions, yes, I tend to need to know specifically what information the other person wants before I can give it to them. I don’t always know what they’re asking the first time.

    Q9: I do have tics where I move my body involuntarily, but I’ve never had to do it a lot more when I’m next alone, and I strongly suspect it isn’t an autistic thing.

  51. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, not with animals or humans. It is their verbal communication that I have trouble with. Jokes, flirting, obscure phrases and lines pulled from tv shows.

    Q2: I am 56. I sometimes take things literally even now, but I am much better. Even if I do, most often my brain will quickly switch gears and help me out.

    Q3: Hell yes.

    Q4: No, I need clear, explicit and direct for sure. I have learned many rules, but I am still not good at filing in the blanks with any confidence.

    Q5: I find metaphors endlessly confusing. Idioms I have picked up very well over time, because I am a big reader of fiction. I do use them, and find them fun.

    Q6: Yes, most definitely.

    Q7: Sometimes it is obvious, and that ability to prioritize was a long time in learning, as my brain is pretty scattered. I don’t like to make any decision quickly. It does make it very difficult to resolve social communication or make quick decisions.

    Q8: Mostly yes.

    Q9: I have a number, but for example my nose. When I am nervous I sniff and rub my nose. If I catch myself with this I stop and substitute or try not to do anything. Once alone though I am going to rub my nose. It will be like it is itchy.

  52. 1. I’m not sure. I know I miss at least some non-verbal communication with humans, but I do have a friend with whom I use a lot of non-verbal communication. I don’t know if i learn everyone’s non-verbals individually or if I learn to compensate for that lack with most people.

    2. I definitely took things more literally as a child. Now I’m aware of the literal meaning either first or at the same time as the figurative meaning but I often end up laughing or reacting to the literal meaning before reacting to the figurative one.

    3. Considering my instinctive answer was “it depends on the question” simple yes/no questions are probably difficult for me to answer. Thinking a bit more about this, I usually need either to give more information or to request more information.

    4. I’m not quite sure what indirect communication is, so… i guess I probably do need social information to be expressed clearly and directly.

    5. Um… idioms and figurative language that’s embedded in the English language, I’m usually good with (like “pick up” meaning going to a person’s location to transport them, rather than literally lifting them). The ones that are more figurative (like “drinking the koolaid) can be confusing at first, though I can learn them. I still see the literal meaning, though, so I guess I get distracted. I use idioms embedded in English, but not usually ones that aren’t.

    6. Definitely. I also read words in phrases to mean something different than their intended meaning. Like the other day, I was reading over a friend’s homework and came across the phrase “juvenile files”. At first, I was thinking these were files that weren’t full grown yet. Then I realised that he’s taking a class on juvenile crime and that these were files about juvenile criminals.

    7. Prioritisation is a little difficult but not too much. Quick decisions are much more difficult. I’ve never thought about this relating to ambiguous instructions or social situations, but I can see how it could.

    8. Definitely. If I don’t know why the information is needed, I’ll end up giving the answer to every possible meaning that question could have.

    9. Hmm I’ve never thought about that. The only completely involuntary movement I can think of was when I was spending several hours a day learning Muay Thai and thinking about a kick would cause my leg to twitch. Other physical tics are semi-vountary, like if I’m comfortable where I am, they’re involuntary but if I’m not comfortable, they’re voluntary and I’ll usually suppress them. I’ve not noticed whether or not I do them more when I’m in a comfortable setting again.

  53. 1.Yes. I think someone was trying to talk to me today and I just didn’t pick up on that cue.

    2. Yes.

    3. Yes, because I don’t know what that means.

    4. Yes. Moving to this new location seems to help it some; there’s less of the subtle social rules to figure out.

    5. Yes.

    6. Yes. I don’t remember context.

    7. Yes. If it were up to me I’d talk my way through that one, but as of now it’s still considered socially unacceptable.

    8. Yes.

    9. Talking to myself is a big one. If you watch me carefully you’ll see me mouth words. Yes.

  54. 1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?
    I have a lot of difficulty understanding human non-verbal (NV) communication and very often miss things that other people would apparently understand. I think I do a lot better with animals, although they of course can’t correct me if I’m wrong so it might just be that. I think animal NV signals are easier because they are simpler and more consistent. Eg a person might look the same way (to me) if they are being genuine or sarcastic, but an animal is only genuine. Often I can notice a small change in my pet’s behaviour and then investigate to see what’s wrong. People are so varied this approach is impossible.

    2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?
    I do sometimes take things literally now but less than as a child. I always see the literal meaning first and then work out the figurative meaning after. I find a lot of humour in this that other people don’t tend to get. I like words and the different ways they can be used.

    3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?
    Yes, I often need to clarify my answers. Maybe because of my rich history of misunderstanding, maybe because I take time to work things out and sometimes speak out my thought process if a verbal answer is required.

    4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?
    I have learned to recognise some indirect communication, but only if it is very clear and follows exactly the pattern I have learned. I can’t generalise across situations and can’t guess at implied meanings if there isn’t a clue that there is an implied meaning. I can only do it with people I know well, and when I’m feeling on form. I frequently feel frustrated at people being annoyed with me for not doing something that they didn’t ask for. It feels totally unfair. Apparently other people would have understood. I can’t even tell what it is I’m missing.

    5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?
    I understand them because I’ve learned them and I sometimes use them. I often find them funny and/or confusing at the same time as knowing what its supposed to mean which is distracting, and often get sidetracked into wondering about the origin of the phrase instead of the current conversation. Words are like objects to me, fascinating in their own right, separate from speech as a whole. It sometimes makes me seem insensitive or distant (I think).

    6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.
    Yes. This seems likely to be an executive function deficit issue. Also I tend to see details rather than the whole.

    7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?
    Yes to both, again this is probably due to executive function deficits. I have a default answer of “I don’t know” because if I’m asked a question while I’m thinking about something else I find it very hard to switch quickly, so in that moment I don’t know. I need to write everything down to prioritise and plan things.

    8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?
    Yes, although I’m often unable to ask the right questions so just default to “I don’t know”.

    9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?
    I don’t think I have involuntary ticks. I have movements I do without consciously deciding to, but I can suppress them so its not involuntary. I can only suppress fidgets, or what ever you call it, for so long before needing to escape and move as I please (often retreating somewhere to jump up and down and wave my arms about like a kid). The more demanding and stressful a situation is, the more I want to fidget. I find that if I have knitting with me I can manage for a lot longer. It keeps my hands busy and helps me relax and concentrate and I don’t get that building pressure feeling when I’ve been “being respectable” for too long.

  55. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I don’t think I can tune in to animal communication any better than anyone else.
    Q2: Yes. To both questions.
    Q3: No I like yes no answers. I can’t stand confusion get open ended contradictory questions.
    Q4: What is social information? Like, who your brother is? Nah. ..
    Q5: I usually ignore them. People say them to fill in time. They mostly meaningless.
    Q6: I rarely think of things as part of a whole. I don’t ‘remember that persons life situation’.
    Are you (the person who wrote this)Autistic?
    Q7: Yes I can’t prioritise. I don’t think it’s related to ambiguity. It’s relayed to resources; space, time, peace and quiet, information, distraction, stuff needed to complete the tasks.
    Q8: Sometimes. Depends on how tedious the task is. I have to understand the functionality of the task in order to complete it to a high standard.
    Q9: Not aware of tics.

  56. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Sometimes.
    Q2: I understand figurative language now, but when stressed or rushed will still focus on the literal words instead and have to backtrack to understand
    Q3: I seem to give too much why with my answers, even as simple as do you want this food for dinner
    Q4: I think i have the rules mostly down now (at age 38), but as i now travel internationally for business, still make social errors in other cultures
    Q5: I find them silly, but do use them with others as it seems to easily translate sometimes complicated answers
    Q6: Yes. I tend to be literal and have to make an effort to consider alternate meanings
    Q7: No
    Q8: No
    Q9: Yes i have tics, no i don’t seem to need extra release if i need to suppress for a while

  57. anonymous answers:

    Q1: no
    Q2: yes
    Q3: yes
    Q4: need very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or I end up doing something wrong and I don’t undrestand why its wrong
    Q5: I find them illogical but funny. I like hearing people use them though it gets me distracted from what their trying to say. Don’t really use the myself, makes me feel unclear
    Q6: yes
    Q7: Extremely
    Q8: I always need to know why and can never seem to answer simply….gets a lot on other people’s nerves
    Q9: age I’ve gotten better at supressing some tics but wil often replace my usual tics with a less obvious version in public…..in private i don’t really realize if I’m doing them but they do seem to increase after a long day out.

  58. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: Learned not to as a young adult. Have a pretty snarky sense of humor now, but others tend to take me too literally, as though I sell it too well or they don’t expect me to be intelligent enough to be making a joke or utilize irony.
    Q3: Yes.
    Q4: Depends upon the situation/people I’m interacting with.
    Q5: I use them.
    Q6: I’m better at that now, but it was an issue when I was younger.
    Q7: I don’t feel at the time that I am having trouble prioritizing in a situation, but kind of feel silly in hindsight at some of it.
    Q8: Yes, often, and this offends people.
    Q9: Yes, but this is in stages. My tics are never vocal, and I go through times when I seem to have none that I am aware of.

  59. Q1: Yes, definitely. I’m pretty good with cats and dogs, but I usually don’t even notice non-verbal communication with humans.

    Q2: Always. I’m really trying to guess the “true” meaning of what someone said, but it’s usually totally off. Being kind of a language nerd who knows the origins of most words (and frequently doesn’t get that the current meaning is way off) doesn’t help at all.

    Q3: As you can see from my answers, yes! 🙂

    Q4: I need very precise and direct instructions for any kind of social interaction (what’s appropriate to say or do, what I can say to whom but not to others, etc.). My wife is trying to be really helpful in that regard, but when I’m on my own, it’s overwhelming.

    Besides, to me every language is a second language. It takes the same amount of mental power for me to speak in my native language (German) as speaking (or writing) in other languages, such as English. Also, my “internal” language is way richer and more complex than any external language that I know, so it’s frequently difficult to say what I think, regardless of language.

    Q5: Yes, they are for me. I have the biggest problems with sayings that can be interpreted in different ways, because I usually “pick” the interpretation that no-one else understands. 😉

    I often use figures of speech, which I usually make up as I go (as part of translating from my “internal” language to whatever “external” language I’m using). Most of the time, my peers find them funny or at least interesting, but I’m not sure if I’m able to get across what I mean.

    Q6: Most of the time. It seems that I fail to make any sort of connection between language and the possibly existing social context. Maybe that’s due to me not being a native speaker of any language but my own.

    Q7: I cannot prioritise for the life of me. I can quickly make decisions when the potential outcomes of the alternatives are very clear to me from the outset. It’s really difficult for me to even decide what to make for dinner, as my wife or the kids might not like my choice or because it’s not the right season or whatever.

    Q8: Always, which is especially annoying for my coworkers. But I feel that I cannot give an accurate answer until I’m really sure that I understand what’s asked (usually by prodding the other person to commit to an unambiguous, clear question instead of the vague gibberish that everyone else seems to use for language).

    Q9: Yes. It’s very difficult for me to not stim (mostly by rubbing my fingers over the fabric of my shirt – I always wear t-shirts, regardless of the temperature, because thicker, rawer fabrics don’t work for me). When I have to suppress that (because it may be inappropriate to the situation), I need some time to myself later on to “catch up” on my stimming.

  60. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yeah
    Q2: Figurative can still get pretty muddy sometimes. I rely heavily on the literal meaning of words and don’t do well with expressions.
    Q3: Yes and no!
    Q4: YES
    Q5: I use idioms that I have created and are comfortable with but I prefer to omit them when possible because it’s just extra fluff to sort through.
    Q6: Wow I read this question like 10 times and still can’t dissect what it means.
    Q7: Yes, Yes, and YES
    Q8: Yes to both. It could be that I need to know why they need the information because I may choose to leave something out or add in more details depending on the need /situation and I ask a ton of questions for simple questions.
    Q9: Yeah I suppose I do

  61. 1. Do you have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans, but have the ability to tune into animal non-verbal communication really well?

    I have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans and dogs. Cats, I get. Go figure.

    2. Do you often take things literally as an adult or is this something you did as a child but learned not to as an adult? If you understand figurative language now, are you still aware of the literal meaning first?

    I will occasionally take things literally now, or get distracted by some extraneous detail (for instance, if someone looks in a certain direction when they’re talking to me, I’ll tend to look where they’re looking, and misunderstand or mishear what they’re saying to me). I did it far more often as a child, but I’m sure it was forgiven far more easily then. I really identified with Amelia Bedelia as a child and did not find her funny at all until I started reading the series to my son.

    3. Are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions often difficult for you to answer? Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?

    Yes. I feel like giving a lot more detail. I guess this would fall under the descriptor “pedantic.”

    4. Do you usually need social information to be expressed in very clear, explicit, direct and concrete language or are you able to understand indirect communication due to learning the rules like a second language?

    I can understand indirect communication, but I find myself sorting it into more concrete language. For instance, if a set of instructions is sent home from school concerning teaching my daughter to read, I read it a few times and organize the key points into a sequential list in my mind. If I have to reread the instructions later, I know exactly what parts to skip and what parts are necessary.

    5. Do you find many idioms, metaphors and sayings confusing or illogical? If you understand them, do they still distract you when people use them? Do you use idioms yourself?

    As a writer, I find them fun. They give life a bit of flavor. When I hear a new one, I enjoy mulling over it a bit and even googling it to make sure I understand its meaning.

    6. Do you tend to consider things outside of their wider context before you think of them as part of the whole? E.g. first considering something someone has said at ‘face value’ before remembering that person’s life situation; or considering the instructions written on a notice as words alone before considering the cues from the environment or people around it.

    I read an article recently that stated that regular readers of fiction are more compassionate than nonreaders. And I have observed that with myself. I feel like I am always aware of a person’s “life situation” when I am speaking to them. It’s an invisible presence that protects them and me, really. I try not to unconsciously offend or hurt others with my words. I am very sensitive to context. Someone mentioned on another post that they are a bit like Jane Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, and I tend to be that way too. I like to assume the best of people. So words are never just words to me. I’m not sure if this is something I’ve learned or always lived with.

    7. Do you find it difficult to prioritise? Or difficult to quickly make decisions? Does this affect your ability to resolve ‘ambiguous’ social communication or ambiguous instructions?

    Yes, and yes. And yes. I hate roping myself in to social obligations, even when I really like the person who is trying (or gently implying, as adults do) to get me to do something. The thinking is something like, “Oh, no, now I might have to spend a few hours frantically cleaning my house before she comes to visit.” And I can’t do things halfway. I have to be hospitable, or not. So I prepare food, etc. So when I feel like this expectation is hanging there in the air, and I don’t acknowledge it, I get a little guilty and then I act weird, a little distant I guess. I’m not sure if others pick up on this at all.

    8. Do you often need to know the reason why the information is needed before you can answer a question? Or do you need to ask several clarifying questions before you can give a simple answer?

    I find myself doing this with my children. “Why do you ask?” “Can you tell me the sentence the word is being used in?” etc.

    9. Do you have physical or vocal tics where you move part of your body involuntarily, have to exert effort to not do this in public and need to do it a lot more later on if you spend time suppressing them. For example, if you tend to click your tongue or twitch your nose but try not to do this around other people, do you have to do it a lot more when you’re next alone?

    No. I do talk to myself but it’s not an issue in public. Sighing is something I have to work not to do at times, when I am feeling very tense.

  62. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I can read cats really well.
    I can read people as well as anyone *IF* I am paying attention and focusing on doing it. If I am wrapped up in something, I’ll miss everything.

    Q2: I am aware of the literal meaning, but pick it up as geeky humor. Here in Washington, we have road signs leading into the mountain pass that say “Use right shoulder to install chains.” My first image was trying to put on tire chains with my shoulders. I laugh, but when I explain the joke, people don’t really see it as especially funny.

    Q3: Yes.
    *smile*

    This isn’t the question you were asking, but I often push people into answering “yes” or “no” when I’m trying to sort out something complicated with them.

    But if there is nuance in my thought, you are going to hear it.

    Q4: I think I learned the cues over time, and by reading books, but have never found it easy and natural.

    Q5: I use analogies more than idioms, and tend to quote lines from popular culture (movies, books) and make my own.

    But I also like precise and clear communication, and find the use of metaphors and euphemism annoying because I know there is more there.

    Q6: I don’t know. It depends. If it is familiar context, then no. I am driven to understand “how things work” so tend to deliberately seek out wider context. I also see similarities where others see differences. Probably not what you were asking about though.

    Q7: Yes. Yes. Yes.

    Q8: Yes to all.

    Q9: I don’t think I compensate like you describe.

  63. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes, I am better at non-verbal communication with humans now but only when I know them well enough to recognise their facial expressions. With animals, I understand them really easily and always have.

    Q2: I don’t take things as literally now but I am still quite literal, I often have to second guess people or myself. Often my difficulty isn’t with specific words so much as with whole sentences, so I cope quite well with figurative language I’m aware of but if it’s new I go towards the literal meaning suggested by the words.

    Q3: Do you seem to need to give more detail than others?
    I never know how much detail is needed and always feel like I need to explain my reasoning. I think it’s because I would like reasoning to be explained to me but it may be confirming to myself that it’s the right decision and justifying it to others.

    Q4: Considering I have no clue what this means I am not sure if I struggle so much that I am oblivious or if I get on well enough not to notice it. I have had discussions with friends about how to do small talk and why various things like that are used, and I have some friends who I know so well that I can predict their actions but others who joke so much that I never really know if they’re being serious or not

    Q5: I’ve often been ok with idioms, only struggling when they’re used in a different context to what I am used to or expect them to mean. New idioms are really difficult for me though because I have to try to find the possible meanings and work out which one if any is right. I use some idioms regularly but often prefer more direct language, sometimes when they’re used around me I find myself pausing for a moment to look at the idiom.

    Q6: If I know there is a whole then I try to remember that it’s there (personal situations, etc) but often I find myself responding to things in relation to my feelings at the time before remembering that there might be a good reason for what they said. Often with instructions I cross check with the item in question so as to put them into context. If I don’t have anything tangible to check against they are just words that have no real meaning and I often can’t understand the instruction unless I at least have a good mental image of what is being referred to.

    Q7: Unless the importance is obvious I find it very difficult to prioritise tasks, and even if I see the task as important I might still do it after a series of less important tasks. I can only make decisions if I can think them through logically or if I have strong feelings about them. Otherwise I feel like I don’t have enough information or I might make the wrong decision. I have often delegated decisions or tried to choose the one that corresponds to what the other person might want to do. Ambiguous instructions are really difficult for me. I can spend hours looking for all the pieces of equipment so as to put off the task and trying to work and rework the method because I am uncertain of what I am supposed to do and what order to do it in. It makes me feel like someone is going to come up and ask me why I’m doing it wrong.

    Q8: This tends to depend on the question or the subject matter. If the question is about physics or certain things that are going on in my PhD whilst I’m working on them: then I can usually answer the question quite easily (probably with lots of side tracking). If the question is in a different environment then I often have to understand why the person wants or needs to know the information before giving it. I am terrible at telling people my name because I think it’s private information that people don’t need. I also struggle with certain questions my supervisor asks and I have always struggled with exams because I don’t know what answer is wanted – whether the question is about one aspect of the situation or another. With simple questions I always feel like I’ve missed something so can’t be thinking of the right answer, or my brain automatically goes to a more complex answer that isn’t the one that’s wanted. I often need more information to be able to cement the correct answer and remove the dark sea of improbable answers that were floating around it.

    Q9: sometimes I twitch my head and I had a period in high school where I had several tics that just felt like they needed to be done, my whole body was moving me to do them. I think they come out more when I’m stressed so I often don’t have to do them later on if I suppress them and they come and go. But they can come up in any situation. I have certain repetitive noises that I make when I have been around people and I often say a specific word in response to stimuli (colour and click are my most common). They seem to be my immediate mental reaction to the stimulus and whether it’s a continuum or a distinct thing. This may be related to my increased brain fog this year.

  64. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes
    Q2: more as a child, but literal meaning is the first thought for me, then i move on to other meanings.
    Q3: yes and also yes
    Q4: i can understand indirect communication to a point but its like not ever fully learning a language that is needed to fully function in some area of existence
    Q5: i do not use them very often. i understand some and the rest seem crazy to me.
    Q6: yes
    Q7: sometimes, no, yes
    Q8: both
    Q9: im not sure

  65. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes, this is very true. I can tell if my cat companion is hungry or wants to be scratched behind the other ear. My husband- I have to constantly ask if he’s angry or not.

    Q2: I have created shorthand in my brain for the most commonly used ones. ‘That’s the way the cookie crumbles’ for example. If I’m exposed to a new one- I have to ask the person what it means. Then I can replace definitions. I will always think of the literal first. It’s like an entry in a dictionary: Crumbling cookie- 1. Cookies crumble because they are made of granular mixtures. 2. Sometimes things fall apart because of how they are built.

    Q3: Yes, with at least three metaphors, examples and possibly a simile if I have time.

    Q4: Depends on the day for me. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed and need everything spelled out for me in very concrete language. Other times, especially if I’m in an environment that is heavily scriptable, I can do quite well.

    Q5: They confused me when I was younger. Some are illogical until you learn the meaning behind them. I try to create and explanation for them that makes sense to me and connects to the ‘real’ saying.
    Some ones like ‘white as snow’ confuse me, because snow IS white- but that’s not what they mean. They’re really talking about an extreme of brightness or of purity. So it takes a few more spoons to figure out which one they mean.

    Q7: I prioritize easily and quickly- just that what I think is important isn’t usually the things NT people think is important. Stopping a horrible noise comes far before curtseying and being ammenable to someone talking to me.

    Q8: depends on the question and the person. My Mom- yes I have to know more about why they want to know. My Husband- no, I can just relax and answer him.

    Q9: “have to” might be a bit strong. It’s not like I need to do a movement X many times- it’s more if I don’t do X I will end up doing Y instead. It’s like a child’s cobbler toy- push one peg down, another pops up.

  66. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes. I worked out from an early age, with the help of the Doctor Dolittle books, that animals have their own species-specific and interspecies-specific ways of communicating. Blinking at dogs and cats – differently, of course, as appropriate – since childhood. It’s funny to see dogs being surprised, having recognised a ‘hello’.

    Q2: Yes. I avoid using words and descriptive terms I’m uncomfortable with, and this discomfort is most often based on their literalness.

    Q3: It depends…

    Especially difficult if in joking-around situations I feel outgunned by a comment about what I’m doing, and explain the actual situation.

    Q4: Learning the rules has been a long, difficult process, but I catch on quite quick these days.

    Q5: Yes. See 2 above,

    Q6: Yes.

    Q7: Yes. I find it hard to know the right time to start doing things. I pitch straight into conversations, for example, and on the other hand wait around for cues in pre-dating situations, etc.

    Q8: Yes. This is essential.

    Q9: Now middle-aged, I’ve grown out of most of the compulsions I’ve had in the past. I do a couple of things still, like stretching my arms out, raising myself up on my toes and hum when nervous or happy.

  67. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes

    Q2: I take everything literally, but often recognize after the fact that I shouldn’t have.

    Q3: Wow, yes. Similar thing as “What is your favorite…?” How do you answer simply to that??

    Q4: I’d like to think that I’ve learned the rules over time. I think I get agitated though at times because it gets tiring to have to process and translate.

    Q5: I often find myself looking up what things mean. I may understand how it’s used in context, but if I actually think about what is being said it’s confusing.

    Q6: I may do that, but I think I go to the next step fairly quickly. I’m a computer programmer so I tend to look at everything as a sequence of events. What happens next?

    Q7: Prioritise, yes. Decision making, it depends. If I let myself begin to think about every variable in a decision it could take me a long time. I’ve learned to just pick a random choice, although maybe an “educated” random choice. In a work setting I often have to get more information on requests because I’ll pull apart what’s been said.

    Q8: I often find myself giving an answer and then quickly saying, “Or did you mean blah blah blah?”

    Q9: No.

  68. anonymous answers:

    Q1: no

    Q2: yes

    Q3: sometimes. depends on context

    Q4: some days are better than others.

    Q5: lots of them are illogical, but I’ve learnt them with their meanings. I do use them self, and this distracts me more than when other people use them.

    Q6: I’m not sure.

    Q7: prioritising I’ve practiced loads with my mum, but I struggle to stick to the order assigned, but making decisions quickly can be problematic (wondering sainsburies for an hour and a half because i can’t decide what to buy for lunch.

    Q8: yes. often at work i find i ask people to explain the whole situation before i find i can give an answer to what appears afterwards to be a fairly simple question.

    Q9: no.

  69. I realize this was posted quite some time ago, and I am also aware you (the blogger) are taking a break from posting anything new (I read this in a comment on another post). However, after reading your newest book and both enjoying it thoroughly as well as finding it helpful/informative, I decided I would follow your blog also. Perhaps, then, you will see this when you return. Even if that doesn’t occur, I thought completing this questionnaire and likely the others that follow it would be a fun thing to do.

    Background information: I am a seventeen year old female and was diagnosed in November of 2014 (age 16). I live in Canada.

    Q#1: Yes, I have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans. I’m not sure whether I understand animal non-verbal communication at a level superior to the average, though I enjoy talking to my pet rabbit much more than I enjoy talking to most other people.

    Q#2: (I will take “adult” in this question to be my current age.) I understand some figurative language and sometimes I’m able to sort out when something is sarcasm during a conversation. I do this by considering how plausible the statement is if it’s taken literally, and if it’s implausible then I know it’s likely sarcasm. I still think of the literal meaning of colloquialisms like “pull up your socks” and “waiting for the other shoe to drop” first (as evidenced by the fact that the former makes me think of the latter), but I can quickly correct myself in remembering that they actually are used figuratively.

    Q#3: I am either of two extremes, or so most people tell me; either I say “yes” or “no” and nothing else when people are expecting me to elaborate a little, or I’m verbose. In my diagnostic papers the psychologist calls me this. The area where I seem to have the most trouble is in giving just enough information.

    Q#4: There are times when I know tiny bits of the second language, but in general I’m very poor at using this knowledge and am certainly not bilingual (in this sense of the word). When people are speaking to me, especially if giving instructions, I need them to state explicitly what is meant. This is why I love science and mathematics, I think.

    Q#5: Yes, I find them illogical. Sometimes I can understand them, much in the same way I discussed in my answer to question # 2, but it takes me a few seconds (or potentially a lot longer) to remind myself that the person does not actually mean what he is saying. I do use them occasionally.

    Q#6: Yes, except I rarely take the second step and remember to consider the wider context. Usually I just think of things people say “at ‘face value’ ” and the instructions are words providing instructions. I very rarely think to consider the rest.

    Q#7: I find it difficult to prioritize in every area except when doing mathematics and physics problems. Because I find it so difficult quickly to make decisions without first weighing all the options and considering the efficacy/consequences of each (and then dwelling for an excessive period of time), I often just let my mum, father, or grandparents (the people I see regularly) make the decisions. For instance, when left to feed myself during mealtime, I fret over the options for an hour or so and usually end up not eating or eating ice cream.

    Q#8: I don’t always need to know the reason the information is needed, but I do ask several clarifying questions before I can give a simple answer.

    Q#9: I rub at my nose when concentrating, sometimes to the point where I get a sore on it. I also click my tongue sometimes, and fidget by wiggling my legs when sitting. I usually can’t stop myself from doing these even when in public because they are completely involuntary. Sometimes I’m able to prevent myself from wiggling my legs, but I find if I do that then tongue clicking and nose rubbing worsens. When I was little I would wiggle my fingers beside my head and look really closely at things (this was involuntary), but now I find my body tends to tense in a manner than sometimes gives me a headache and often makes me feel awkward; I still look closely. None of these are stims, I do not think, because they aren’t particularly soothing and I’m often not aware I’m doing them.

  70. I realize this was posted quite some time ago, and I am also aware you (the blogger) are taking a break from posting anything new (I read this in a comment on another post). However, after reading your newest book and both enjoying it thoroughly as well as finding it helpful/informative, I decided I would follow your blog also. Perhaps, then, you will see this when you return. Even if that doesn’t occur, I thought completing this questionnaire and likely the others that follow it would be a fun thing to do.

    Background information: I am a seventeen year old female and was diagnosed in November of 2014 (age 16). I live in Canada.

    Q#1: Yes, I have difficulty understanding non-verbal communication with humans. I’m not sure whether I understand animal non-verbal communication at a level superior to the average, though I enjoy talking to my pet rabbit much more than I enjoy talking to most other people.

    Q#2: (I will take “adult” in this question to be my current age.) I understand some figurative language and sometimes I’m able to sort out when something is sarcasm during a conversation. I do this by considering how plausible the statement is if it’s taken literally, and if it’s implausible then I know it’s likely sarcasm. I still think of the literal meaning of colloquialisms like “pull up your socks” and “waiting for the other shoe to drop” first (as evidenced by the fact that the former makes me think of the latter), but I can quickly correct myself in remembering that they actually are used figuratively.

    Q#3: I am either of two extremes, or so most people tell me; either I say “yes” or “no” and nothing else when people are expecting me to elaborate a little, or I’m verbose. In my diagnostic papers the psychologist calls me this. The area where I seem to have the most trouble is in giving just enough information.

    Q#4: There are times when I know tiny bits of the second language, but in general I’m very poor at using this knowledge and am certainly not bilingual (in this sense of the word). When people are speaking to me, especially if giving instructions, I need them to state explicitly what is meant. This is why I love science and mathematics, I think.

    Q#5: Yes, I find them illogical. Sometimes I can understand them, much in the same way I discussed in my answer to question # 2, but it takes me a few seconds (or potentially a lot longer) to remind myself that the person does not actually mean what he is saying. I do use them occasionally.

    Q#6: Yes, except I rarely take the second step and remember to consider the wider context. Usually I just think of things people say “at ‘face value’ ” and the instructions are words providing instructions. I very rarely think to consider the rest.

    Q#7: I find it difficult to prioritize in every area except when doing mathematics and physics problems. Because I find it so difficult quickly to make decisions without first weighing all the options and considering the efficacy/consequences of each (and then dwelling for an excessive period of time), I often just let my mum, father, or grandparents (the people I see regularly) make the decisions. For instance, when left to feed myself during mealtime, I fret over the options for an hour or so and usually end up not eating or eating ice cream.

    Q#8: I don’t always need to know the reason the information is needed, but I do ask several clarifying questions before I can give a simple answer.

    Q#9: I rub at my nose when concentrating, sometimes to the point where I get a sore on it. I also click my tongue sometimes, and fidget by wiggling my legs when sitting. I usually can’t stop myself from doing these even when in public because they are completely involuntary. Sometimes I’m able to prevent myself from wiggling my legs, but I find if I do that then tongue clicking and nose rubbing worsens. When I was little I would wiggle my fingers beside my head and look really closely at things (this was involuntary), but now I find my body tends to tense in a manner than sometimes gives me a headache and often makes me feel awkward; I still look closely. None of these are stims, I do not think, because they aren’t particularly soothing and I’m often not aware I’m doing them.

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