Are you a teenager with Aspergers? Then this message is for YOU:
Living with Aspergers has been described as being born on the wrong planet, because people diagnosed with this disorder have to learn to live with “Neuro-Typicals” (i.e., people who do not have Aspergers). Those with this syndrome display intense interests at the cost of socialization skills.
Here are some tips on how to develop social skills:
1. Consult a psychologist, licensed social worker or a psychiatrist to learn more about Aspergers. As therapists they develop a treatment plan to assist with daily living.
2. Use the treatment plan to develop social skills. Some of the things practiced may include how to converse with people in different social situations.
3. Learn when it is appropriate to touch people. Practice what you learned and try to follow the treatment plan recommendations.
4. Learn which specific aspects of Aspergers give you the most trouble, and try to work around them.
5. Try to behave in a manner that is seen as acceptable. Allow enough of your uniqueness through to intrigue people, but try to keep most of it under control.
6. Talk “with” people – don't "talk at" them. A good ratio in a one on one conversation is to listen about 60% of the time and talk about 30%. Try not to talk for more than five to ten minutes at a time. Let the other person, or people, set the pace of the conversation.
7. Memorize people's behavior when they are distressed. Ask friends how actions may have caused distress. Ask friends how to prevent causing distress in the future.
8. Join some clubs that feature activities of interest. People with Aspergers tend to be interested in a few narrow activities, and uninterested in anything outside of them.
9. Maintain eye contact, but do not stare. The best way to achieve eye contact is to look at their left eye briefly and then shift to their right eye.
10. Remember, some agencies have special social and support groups for people with Aspergers. Look around to see if there is one around you and join one! This will give you a safe place to make friends and learn social skills.
- Do not discuss sensitive topics. Again the treatment plan will discuss how to approach sensitive issues.
- Learn to play cards, chess, or other popular games, and join people who can play them.
- Find someone to tutor you in a game.
- Practice social skills while learning how to play the game.
- Learn how to "lose" a game in such a way that it is not obvious that it was intentional.
- People may sometimes think you are lying, even when you are being truthful. The best way to avoid this is to always tell the truth to the best of your ability. For example, if you do not know the correct answer to a question, respond accordingly.
- Since you don't always pick up cues about other people's feelings, it's smart to ask if they are interested or have time to listen before you launch into an involved discussion of your favorite topic.
- When someone is talking about a problem in their life, they don't necessarily want to know how to solve it, even if you have the answer. Instead, ask them how they feel about the situation or what they have already tried or are considering. Asking lets them know you care and respects their ability to solve their own problems.
Good luck! You can do it!! I’ve got faith in you!!!