One telling symptom of Asperger’s that most professionals agree on is the conversational habit of interrupting and overtalking.
For most Asperger’s types, especially early on, ages three and up, the opportunity for social exchange is really limited. But our brains are going all the time.
This results in a ton of thoughts and ideas bottled up inside of us. Ideas we firmly believe are worth sharing!
We feel starved for verbal connection. And the moment someone opens up that opportunity for us to be verbal , facts and observations totally unrelated to the topic of conversation can spew violently out, one thought immediately overtaking the last.
This feels rude and frightening to the person who has unwittingly engaged us. When they try to bring us back around to the topic, we tend to talk over them or interrupt.
The other person’s comfort level is now in alarm state. They feel an urgent need to escape our presence.
I have learned that self control is a major factor in making and keeping friends.
To have a real conversation, one in which others will gladly participate, I find these simple rules can be helpful:
1. Give others time to speak.
2. Concentrate on listening to them. Be truly engaged with what they are saying and feeling.
3. Verbally respond in a positive way to what they have said.
4. Do not simply wait impatiently until they stop talking so you can start.
Learning to listen is a powerful aspect of conversing. Really hearing and understanding what the other person is saying and responding appropriately is the bridge that connects us to the rest of the human race; to our parents, our siblings, the people we want to have for friends, and our whole community.
And guess what? Aspies aren’t the only ones who need to learn the art of conversation!
I read this blog post, and it reminded me of my son, Will. This describes very vividly what he had to learn on a daily basis. And you are right, Aspies aren’t the only ones who need to learn the art of conversation. My son’s diagnosis was high functioning autism, but there really wasn’t much difference. One of the reasons he got that diagnosis was due to an early speech delay. But, wow, this post so describes his struggles and also the struggles of those who interacted with him, but were unaware of his autism.
Dear Ann, I am so glad to learn that others have had exactly the same experiences. I often wonder if I am wrong to use the word “we” instead of “I”. The reason I decided to say “we” is because I am so tired of reading articles refer to us Asperger’s types as “they”.
Thank you for your comment, and I just know your son will be a very social being one day.