Living with Aspergers (high functioning autism) is not something to shy away from. You can run – but you can't hide. So, if you think you have Aspergers, or if you have had it for a while, the following tips will help you in multiple areas of your life (i.e., spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, financially, and vocationally):
1. Be self-aware. Go online and read all about Aspergers. Folks who have it tend to be outspoken, and can have overall issues with the natural 'flow' of communication between two "normal" folks. Once you start to notice your own differences, you can actually adjust them.
2. Consider finding a group for support, most likely to be found online. However, take into consideration that most Aspergers individuals can be hard to talk to since they're, well, not always so good at that. You can use this group throughout your journey through life.
3. Consult a therapist to learn more about Aspergers. A therapist can develop a treatment plan to assist with daily living. Use the treatment plan to develop social skills. Some of the things practiced may include how to converse with folks in different social situations.
4. Determine what you want your quality of life to be and make a flexible plan so you can account for little hiccups. Unfortunately as black and white as life can be, it's really light grey/dark grey. So while you could know you want to have friends and be social, you may not want to be the kind of shallow 'non-Aspergers' individual who cheats on their significant other, lies, and doesn't pay bills on time.
5. Do not discuss sensitive topics. A treatment plan will discuss how to approach sensitive issues.
6. Don't think of Aspergers as a disease. Think of it as a personality type. Every personality type has its positives and negatives. Folks with Aspergers are generally very intelligent, but need help with social skills, such as anxiety management, choice making, and being optimistic.
7. Find someone to tutor you in a game (e.g., poker). Practice social skills while learning how to play the game.
8. If it's difficult for you to follow social rules, it might help to learn the reasons behind them. A good etiquette will help you learn, even if it never becomes easy, how to follow those rules.
9. If reading facial and body language is difficult for you, one trick is to watch soap operas. Soap opera actors are very emotive, and if you listen to their words for context and then freeze the screen on a facial expression or bit of body language, you can learn by rote what might come more naturally to others.
10. 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.
11. Learn how to "lose" a game in such a way that it is not obvious that it was intentional.
12. Learn to play chess or other popular games. Join folks who can play them.
13. Learn when it is appropriate to touch folks. Practice what you learned and try to follow treatment plan recommendations.
14. Learn which specific aspects of Aspergers give you the most trouble, and try to work around them.
15. 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.
16. Make lifestyle choices that reflect your needs. If sensitivity to noise and crowds are one way Aspergers manifests for you, there is no need to build your life around a career that requires you to spend your time in noisy crowds.
17. Make sure to remember the basics. You have to remember to keep up the basics because they are what got you to the moment. When you remove vital, necessary parts of human life, you are just setting yourself up for a problem!
18. Many folks with Aspergers have extraordinary minds and the ability to solve problems in a way that non-Aspergers folks struggle with. Be proud of your mind and your differences.
19. Memorize folk's behavior when they are distressed. Ask friends how actions may have caused distress. Ask friends how to prevent causing distress in the future.
20. Folks 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 (e.g., if you do not know the correct answer to a question, respond accordingly).
21. Some agencies have special social and support groups for adults on the spectrum. 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.
22. Since you don't always pick up cues about other folk'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.
23. Spend some time thinking about the things you enjoy and those that are difficult for you, and how you can arrange your life to emphasize your strengths and work with your weaknesses.
24. Take pride in your uniqueness. Some aspects of living with Aspergers can make life difficult. Sensory issues and social awkwardness are two common manifestations that often are problematic. But folks with Aspergers have qualities that are worthy of pride as well. Maybe you have a good grasp of language and vocabulary, or an excellent memory, all of which are also common Aspergers manifestations.
25. Talk “with” folks – 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 minutes at a time. Let the other individual, or folks, set the pace of the conversation.
26. Try to be less critical of things, starting with the outside of your world, the folks in the street who walk too slow, the waitress who brought you the wrong food, and work your way toward your own world, your friends, family, just make sure to take it at the pace you can handle.
27. Try to behave in a manner that is seen as acceptable. Allow enough of your uniqueness to come through to intrigue folks, but try to keep most of it under control.
28. Use caution when trying to adjust your life. Don't let anyone ever tell you you're weird. Or let them, but don't even think twice about it.
29. 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. This lets them know you care and respects their ability to solve their own problems.
30. Work on being more animated during conversations (e.g., display a variety of facial expressions that correspond to what you’re saying).