The expectations we start with determine our outcomes

Consider this to be a rough equivalent of all the “signals” that people pick up from an autistic / Aspie individual:

Let’s say someone is presenting with a whole lot of “interesting” behaviors and characteristics. Like this batch of seemingly unrelated dots:

Dots arrayed in no particular order
This is what we start with – just dots, that mean nothing, really

If you don’t understand the context of their situation, you might try to connect the dots in a way that reflects your own confusion — like so. It can sure seem like chaos — especially if you don’t think there’s really any reason, rhyme, or structure to it all.

meandering outline through dots
If you have the expectation of chaos, this is how you can connect the dots

Now, let’s say you get that there is some order to the seeming mess in front of you. Still, if you don’t have a conceptual “template” of sorts, you can end up with this — which is more orderly, but is still abstract and a bit non-sensical.

straight lines connecting dots in a jumble of angles
If you have a somewhat orderly idea of how dots connect, but you see no overarching pattern, this is what you can get

Now, if you DO have a template to understand how the dots all connect, you can find order in the seeming chaos. Like so:

House outlined with dots at some intersections of lines
This is what becomes of the dots, if you have a certain pattern

What you need is an understanding that A) the dots are connected in meaningful ways, and B) there’s an actual pattern that can be applied. That same pattern can be used over and over again, even if the dots do show up in different places in the template.

House outline with a door, two windows, pitched roof, chimney
This is what the real pattern is

People on the spectrum are a little like this — we’ve all got these characteristics that don’t make any sense to people who don’t have a conceptual template — or don’t realize there even is one.  And just like houses can come in all different shapes and sizes, yet still be houses, people on the autism spectrum can have their “dots” in any number of different places. But we’ll still maintain our fundamental essence and character.

We’ll still be us.

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2 thoughts on “The expectations we start with determine our outcomes

  1. Pingback: The pattern that isn’t there (for most people) – Under Your Radar

  2. Pingback: How #ActuallyAutistic people understand ourselves – when we don’t know we’re autistic – Under Your Radar

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