Do you like the image above? Take a look at my instagram page to see the new poster I designed. You find it in the headlights under “My design”. —> https://www.instagram.com/unmaskedbyanna/
Executive function and short term memory
I’ve always found written instructions easier than verbal. In school I felt like I sort of zooned out if there were long verbal instructions. Before I was autistic I had no idea why. Turned out this is part of my brain being differently wired. Due to cognitive executive functioning problems, autistic people can have problems with short- term memory and keeping a lot of information in the brain at the same time and/ or for an extended period of time. Processing information takes more energy and time. When verbal instructions are in several steps, I might still be processing the first step when the teacher is on step two or three. That can result in me giving up on listening since I simply can’t keep up. It’s always like this for me. But a little extra if I also need to process other sensory impressions at the same time, such as a noisy sound environment, if I’m stressed out, tired or if I need to interact socially at the same time, meaning decoding underlying meanings and such.
Interpreting information literal
Sometimes you might hear that autistic people interpret information literally. This has to do with the brain needing to decode the meaning of the sentence sort of more manually than automatic. It’s like I see an immediate picture in my brain of the literal meaning before my brain decodes the actual meaning.People often think I’m funny when my brain doesn’t catch up immediately and I interpret things literally. I’ve learned to take advantage of this and often offer my literal interpretation which people think is me just trying to be funny. It’s not that I don’t understand that “Can you open the door?” often isn’t a question of whether I can actually do it or not, but rather that I am being asked to open the door. It just takes my brain that extra step of interpreting.
Learned skills that requires energy and presence
I’ve learned not to take things literally, much like I’ve learned to interact socially in a particular way. This doesn’t mean that the process is simple. It’s a learned behavior that doesn’t happen automatically, but requires energy and presence.
Misunderstandings created hypersensitivity
Over the years, however, it has inevitably become the case that I interpreted things literally when I was meant to read between the lines. I have found myself in situations where I followed instructions but then felt people were not happy with me or the result since I missed underlying messages. This created an alertness in me where I constantly looked for hidden messages, feeling like I either missed something, or read too much into what people said.
Helpful for me
For me, it helps if instructions are clear, concise and cannot be interpreted in more than one way. It’s also easier if I get written information because then I can go back and read it again if I get lost. Now that I know I am autistic, I try not to take full responsibility to always try to decode everything. Instead I ask for more clear instructions and the real meaning of things.So if I ask you to clarify or ask follow-up questions on things that you may think seem obvious, it’s not me being inattentive, it just makes it easier for me to keep up.
If you want to read what other autistic people think about this you find it here where I first posted this text —> https://www.instagram.com/p/Cj02QpWMlFl/
Thank you for reading.