Today I was reviewing some of my favorite autism blogs (a hobby I haven't had time for in MONTHS) and came across this segment of an interview on self defense for Aspies:


Q: Interesting indeed! Does ADD/ADHD mean that you have difficulty learning the general unwritten rules, difficulty spotting situational cues or both?

A: Actually it's more of a kind of "Why?" problem. When you are surrounded by people who when they come to a hallway intersection -- [NTs] automatically "turn left." When you ask "why" they best answer you can get is something along the lines of "because there is no other way to go." It is a kind of mental blindness. It isn't just that they can't explain why, but they can't see the three other ways you can go.

Whereas a person with ADD sees not only the left turn, but that he can go straight, turn right or go back. But there is no automatic sense of the left turn is the "best" way. (Which incidentally ISN'T what the [NTs] have, they really don't realize there are other ways to go.) So the person with ADD, tends to go down the other hallways to see what's down there.

This tends to get people who believe the left is the only way to go...a wee bit upset with us.


While they're talking about ADD in this snippet, this difference in thinking can be a fundamental problem for Aspies- NTs know instinctively to turn left (or, if they don't know, they observe everyone else turning and don't question, just follow...). For many Aspie that I work with, it doesn't make sense to turn left without having examined the options. It's frustrating to just do something because everyone else is, or for some "unwritten" reason the Aspie can't fathom. Even if the ultimate answer is, "I'm going to turn left because that's the way everyone is going and I'd prefer to travel with the group rather than take the more direct route of going right, then up the stairs, then back down again," there is satisfaction in having researched the issue and applying sound logic. And an Aspie who would expect that those turning left would have already done such research, might be genuinely surprised that the NT hasn't stopped to consider the other options, and then baffled at the NTs frustration at his desire to do so. Just something to think about.