Since I have Asperger’s syndrome, I find communication to be a brilliant, mind-boggling process. Observing “neurotypicals” (term describing people without an autism spectrum disorder) engaging in a witty, prolonged conversation never ceases to amaze me. However, the inability to fully grasp the concept of socializing, a characteristic of Asperger’s syndrome, may lead to isolation and an illusion of incompetence in the workplace, eliciting feelings of inadequacy and even depression. Fortunately, I have comprised a list of four effective strategies to help you or someone you know overcome Asperger’s social hurdles and live a more fulfilling life! Here they are:
Strategy #1: Make an effort to increase your energy! Socializing successfully requires multiple attentions, which makes mastering this skill especially hard for an “aspie” (term describing people with Asperger’s) since poor multitasking skills is common with Asperger’s. Being consistently, physically active, for example, will naturally raise your endurance, which means you will have more energy to focus on socializing.
Strategy #2: Sign up for a communication class! This is hugely beneficial for an aspie. The class breaks down the art of communication into an understandable process and explains how communication is more than just words being spoken. You will learn the interpersonal skills to help build successful, meaningful relationships, increasing your sense of well-being and overall satisfaction with social interactions.
Strategy #3: Discover other aspies’ experiences. There are tons of forums, blogs, websites, and autobiographies that exist, sharing unique life experiences accompanied with Asperger’s syndrome. These resources give a deeper insight on the issues of Asperger’s and can further unify the community.
- Strategy #4: Use observational learning! Observing others’ social behaviors, such as facial expression and conversation, displays a model for acceptable social interactions. It may be helpful to observe people whose social skills you admire. Find someone who you are comfortable with, mirror and practice these social skills with them by having regular conversations and keeping eye contact. Just remember it is only through practice that you retain and improve your skills.
So there they are — four easy and effective strategies to combat Asperger’s social challenges and live a more sociable and satisfying life!