Tag Archives: Aspie teens and friends

Speak To Me, Aspie. Or Not. Conversational Skills For Asperger Me.

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!

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean

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Anna Matchneva: Friend To Aspie’s And Their Parents.

Thanks to Stella Hui and the BC Autism Society, some of us had a chance to hear Anna Matchneva speak last Friday about the PEER program in BC Schools.  While most of the parents were there trying to learn how to help their children with what some of the other students  consider ‘weird’ behaviour, I was there as a person with Asperger’s as well as a concerned parent and grandparent of children with Asperger’s.  It’s always an interesting perspective, and I’m often amused at the assumptions the workers make about us Aspies.

But with Anna Matchneva, it was different.  She had a good read on us, a lot of insights into how things work for us, and how they don’t work, and what we can do about it.

With Anna, teaching the child to independantly correct the situation through adjusted thinking and responses is the key to achieving success in peer relationships.

Some of the things she suggests for Children with Asperger’s to help them manoeuvre in social situations:

  • Recognize other people’s interests.  Let them talk, and be supportive.
  • Learn to recognize and support other people’s feelings.  Accept that they aren’t always the same as ours.
  • Learn positive thinking.  Positive thoughts lead to better feelings which lead to more comfortable behaviour.  In the situation where you became angry and frustrated, what could you do differently next time?
  • When conflict happens, do not dismiss or blame the other person.  Try instead to put yourself in their shoes.
  • When you have a guest, let them do what they want.  Do not try to choose activities for them, or force your interests on them.

And for parents of Aspies, try to help them develop age appropriate interests:  in music, in games, and other past times that children talk about at school.

Anna Matchneva is an amazing person.  She works with iStep Ahead Serices Inc .  You can read more about this program at: http://www.istepahead.com/

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