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Autism meets social cues and it does not go well

These are something that those with autism might have trouble understanding. Or at least taking note of.

Nick Hughes

Opinion Editor

Some people with autism share a similar trait when it comes to social interaction. That being that we do not understand social cues. An example is that I would not notice when someone wants me to stop talking about Star Wars. It is not something that people with autism readily have. We need to be taught how to recognize social cues and that takes time.

The problem with it is that a lot of the people on the higher end of the spectrum do not realize what they are doing is socially unacceptable. That presents those who interact with those on the spectrum unique situations to deal with. A great example of this is me. I do not get social cues that well. One time, while I was at the CMA conference in New York with the Snapper, I started talking about Star Wars to someone in one of the panels I went to. They seemed interested, to me, but after looking back on that interaction, I can see she was really wanting to leave to go to her next panel. During the conversation, I was oblivious to this.

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She answered with a lot of phrases that have no meaning. Phrases such as, “Huh,” or,” Alright.” She was being considerate of me, but I could not see she wanted to leave. When she did leave, I thought I had a good conversation. Looking back now, I see I was wrong. I have no recognition of body language either, and that is another contributor to social cues.

With body language, I cannot tell when someone is uncomfortable and for that, I apologize. This goes back to the autism piece. Parts of the brain do not develop as well for someone on the spectrum. It is because of this lack of growth that people with autism suffer from social anxiety. It is also to blame for the lack of understanding of social cues.

Social cues are a fundamental part of speech and people with autism do not have a great proficiency in social cues. It is hard for us to recognize what we do might be wrong. The whole point here is that people with autism need a little bit more help than normal.