Breaking Down Misconceptions
Autistic communication differs from allistic communication in many ways.
Allistic communication is the way non-autistic people communicate with each other, whereas autistic communication is the way autistic people communicate with the world.
One of the biggest misconceptions about autistic communication is that it's broken and needs to be fixed, while allistic communication is seen as the "normal" way to communicate.
This is not only untrue but also harmful to autistic individuals.
Many people believe that autistic individuals only need to learn allistic communication, but the reality is that allistic individuals also need to learn how to communicate with autistic individuals, - if they want a real connection.
It's important to understand that both types of communication have their own strengths and weaknesses, and neither one is superior to the other or less valid.
Just like you will have to learn some Mandarin to truly connect with a Mandarin-speaking person, you need to speak some Autistic to form meaningful relations with an autistic speaking person. And just like learning any new language, learning autistic communication will broaden your horizon and bring new insights.
One of the biggest challenges for autistic individuals is that they are often expected to conform to allistic communication styles and translate their autistic communication til an allistic one, - which can be overwhelming and exhausting.
This can lead to the belief that autistic individuals are the ones who are incapable of communication.
However, the truth is that autistic communication can be just as difficult for allistic individuals as allistic communication is for autistic individuals.
Again, It is really important! to remember that autism is a neurodevelopmental difference, not a disorder. Autistic individuals have unique ways of processing information, communicating, and interacting with the world around them.
Autistic communication can be both literal and abstract, but it often relies on a different set of references and language than allistic communication.
Autistic individuals may struggle with allistic figurative language, sarcasm, or jokes that rely on a play on words because they may not understand the allistic cultural references, humour or norms.
However, the same can be said for allistic individuals who may not understand the references, jokes or language used in autistic cultures.
It is, once more, important to recognize that both forms of communication have their own unique perspectives and should be valued equally.
By making an effort to mutual understanding and not always expect only the autistics to switch communications styles, we can create much better connections.
Additionally, autistic individuals may have different ways of expressing themselves through non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language than allistics.
This can make it very difficult for allistic individuals to understand the subtleties of autistic communication.
For example, an autistic person may express comfort or happiness through stimming or discomfort in silence or sounds in a way that allistic individuals may not recognize as a form of true or intentional communication.
It can also be challenging for autistics to communicate their emotions through allistic forms of nonverbal communication, as they may not come naturally.
Some autistics are non-speaking and often rely entirely on primarily allistic interpretations of their communication cues. Mutual understanding is life-and-death-important to them, their survival and well-being.
Unwillingness to share each other's communications styles can result in misunderstandings, make it difficult for autistics to express themselves authentically and difficult to establish trust and mutual understanding.
Autistic communication is also known for being intense and passionate, especially when discussing topics that are of particular interest to the individual. Autistic individuals may have a deep and specialized knowledge of certain subjects and may want to share this knowledge with others in great detail.
Many allistics don't have the same drive for deep-diving into niches and struggle with keeping up interest and engagement in the conversation. This information-sharing is often an autistic way of showing care and relatability and it can be a very important part of forming connections.
Finally, allistic individuals may experience difficulties in engaging in small talk or socially expected chit-chat with autistics ;)
- Just like many autistics often struggle to understand allistic small talk, as it may not be relatable to their experiences. This type of conversation may feel meaningless or difficult to understand for anyone who does not share life experiences.
Some autistic individuals may prefer to have deeper and more meaningful conversations about topics that are important to them. However, it is important to note that lots of autistic individuals can still engage in superficial conversations from their unique perspective - just like everybody else, - if the conversation is relatable and relevant for all participants.
To gain a better understanding of autistic communication, it's important to engage with autistic culture and listen to the voices of autistic individuals.
Rather than default expecting autistic individuals to conform to allistic communication styles, allistics, this should be a shared effort.
Also, - Autistic culture is a vibrant and diverse community with its own language, customs, and way of life. It's worth it!
By immersing oneself in autistic culture, allistic individuals can gain a deeper appreciation for the unique ways that autistic individuals communicate and interact with the world.
This can help break down misconceptions about autistic communication and promote greater understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity.
And it can also give allistics a bridge to understanding of a whole new, and very giving, world of sensory euforia, infodumping-joy and happy flappy communication.
(It's important to note that this article reflects the perspective and experiences of one autistic person. Autism is diverse and complex and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We encourage you to seek out and listen to the many voices of different #actuallyautistic individuals, as their experiences and perspectives may differ from those presented in this article. /Janni)