Taylor Morris – Autism and Asperger’s Advocate – Interview A.J. Mahari’s Psyche Whisperer Radio Show
On Monday September 20, 2010, at 7pm EST, Author and Life Coach, A.J. Mahari, herself an adult woman with Asperger’s Syndrome interviewed Taylor Morris, who is a 17 year old woman, with High Functioning Autism, a straight A student, and advocate for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Taylor is very articulate young woman and she has made several video. She has an incredible following of her videos. Taylor describes and explains a lot about her experience in life as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome in ways that can help people with Asperger’s better understand it and also helped their loved ones better understand. The more we can understand and respect each other across the differences of what it means to be a “neurotypical” or a person with Asperger’s Syndrome the richer all of our lives will be.
Asperger’s Syndrome, as I know from my own life, and as I stress on my own Aspergers and Adults website is a different ability – not a disability. It brings with it challenges, but, also many blessings and gifts. Please watch Taylor’s video below and read the post re-posted here from her blog at Meet Taylor Morris, entitled, “My Social World: Inside an Autistic’s Psyche” You can also watch more video from Taylor on The Psyche Whisperer Blog
© A.J. Mahari, September 20, 2010
My Social World: Inside an Autistic’s Psyche
By Taylor Morris
Just before class I hear a necklace jingle around the neck of a pretty girl. She is gossiping with another pretty girl, who is twirling her pretty hair and talking about the awesome party where some other pretty girl ruined her dress with a beer stain. At the other end of the class, I listen to yet another pretty girl complain to her pretty best friend about how her make-up wasn’t done just right — she is not pretty enough. Meanwhile I’m on my own, at my desk, looking at my calloused hands and unkempt nails thinking: “The jewelry, the hair, the clothes and the make–up — it’s all their social games. Their value, their conversations, their lives. How do they devote so much time and money to that? How do they know just what to say to get “groupies” to follow them?” I sigh and shake my head, thinking of how I don’t own a dress, how I wear the same earrings every day, and how I never seem to understand when they speak in what seems like code. With this, I’m once again reminded of how I’m an unwitting member of a social “game” I don’t really know how to play. Having an Aspie mind is a hard-enough social challenge; add to that the complexities of a high school girl’s social world and hierarchy and you have just added insult to injury.
Over the years I have learned to associate the word “social” with scenes like these. I never have understood the social culture people practice. I just don’t have the ability to “sense” like neurotypicals because my thoughts are literal, not intuitive. My mind is heuristic, so I behave in accordance with what I see and directly experience. I can’t “sense” whether or not I’m winning over a person. I have to wait and see how they treat me in the weeks after I have met them. This creates a whole new challenge in meeting people and making friends, especially girlfriends.
However, I have learned to use my style of mind to my advantage. For example, I use heuristics to decide which people I should and should not try to be-friend. I know from experience that girls who hang out in large groups of other girls tend to be mean to me. Because of this, I know to not try to connect with them. Same goes for girls who wear shirts worth more then my earrings, girls who wear more make-up in a day than I do in a year, and those who match their entire outfit a bit too perfectly. This may seem ridiculous because everyone knows someone who wears a mountain of make-up but is still very nice. Even so, over the years I have found that these heuristics work well. Many of the people I have excluded often did end up being the exact kind of people I want to avoid. I know these “rules” in deciding who I will try to interact with are polarizing to an extent, but they are how I have used my mind to find my way through a social game. Using this method, I have successfully identified girls who became my best friends. They don’t judge me for being slightly different and don’t hold it against me for not having the best sense of style. They have judged me by my character, and that is all I ever really wanted.