Autistic Survival Guide/Preamble

The work on Marc Segar's A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Syndrome stopped early in Marc Segar's life. It says nothing about managing a job, getting married, or raising kids. The aim of this project is to collaboratively write an updated survival guide for autistic people right here on Wikibooks. Feel free to contribute to any of the chapters in this book.

Marc Segar's designation of "typical" behaviours is interesting, but its usefulness is questionable. These behaviours are not necessarily desirable, nor are they helpful to neuroatypical people, other than for understanding how they are different from a majority of people. Moreover, only few people are good in all these things Marc Segar lists, and valuing oneself based on his list of "typical behaviors" may be harmful rather than useful. While, according to the Monotropism hypothesis, the main difficulties for autistic people relate to multitasking, many neurotypical people feel the same, even if their capacity to multi-task may be better than those labelled as autistic. What I find much more helpful is what typical and atypical people have in common, because that is going to be the basis of mutual understanding, when it happens.

It is also worth noting that the question "what is normal anyway" keeps re-occurring when talking about psychology in general, and that question may possibly be answered in the works of five- time New York teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto and author Thom Hartmann. The central premise behind these works is the fact that the compulsory school system is designed to "socialise" children into the work force by making them docile, predictable, willing to take the word of leaders as truth, and dependent upon others for a sense of self worth. This goes a long way towards explaining neurotypical behaviour, and why neurodivergents don't fit in: Neurodivergents simply fail to be socialised this way.

These talks by Dinah Murray might also be helpful: Finding and maintaining a niche and Creating social space for autism, and here is a list of links from the Autism and Computing website. A detailed practical Field Guide into the behaviour of neurotypicals from an Asperger perspective was written by Ian Ford - Field Guide to Earthlings.

The key for understanding other people and being understood is to understand that what people feel often matters much more than how they look, dress or behave. People's empathy labels them attracted to what feels good, and pushed away from what feels bad. That means people like you more if you feel good, and like you less when you feel bad. Thus working towards yourself feeling good rather than pleasing other people's norms is the key for social interaction. If you work on feeling good for yourself, other people might pick up on it. On the other hand, if you feel insecure trying to pretend to be someone else, people feel that as well and might turn away after some time.