This was interesting . . .
Once needed a laptop for an old job.
I visited the IT dept.
A tall, young man with glasses met me.
No eye contact. No offer of a handshake.
Polite but VERY brief.
Took me into the office, showed me the laptop. Talked me
through a few features. Again no rapport or eye contact.
At the end I asked if I could stay a minute- just to set
something up on my emails.
Quizzical face. Didn’t seem happy.
Told me, very matter of factly, it could take some time and it
would be better to do it elsewhere.
Again not rude. Matter of fact. Clipped. Air of awkwardness
(seemed my request wasn’t something he was expecting as part of
OK fair enough – no big deal.
I wasn’t offended at all.
As I was leaving I asked “Can you show me the way out
Added jokingly “I might end up getting lost and wandering
round for hours!”
Looked at me straight faced. And deadpanned in a very serious
tone: “Sure. But it’s all one big circle on this floor – you really
wouldn’t get lost for hours”.
Took me totally literally.
So a lack of eye contact . . . no hand shake . . . socially
awkward . . . very literal thinker. Can you see where this is
Maybe the guy had Asperger’s (who knows maybe he didn’t). But
certainly showed some common characteristics.
Not really my point, though it’s quite interesting.
The point being that I’m pretty laid back, been around lots of
different people in my life, and know Asperger’s (traits)
So didn’t take offense in any of our interactions.
Had he been serving another member of Joe Public – could be a
No eye contact or handshake – Could have been perceived as rude
Socially awkward – again seen as poor manners or ignorance.
Literal thinking – Missed my attempt at a “joke” totally.
This again could upset some people.
Can be a sticky time for young Aspies in the workplace.
1. Build them up with as much knowledge as possible of social
conventions, common phrases and sarcasm, as you can. BUT as all
social interaction is constantly changing (and Aspies struggle to
generalize) this will only go SO far . . .
2. Support your child to find a supportive/sympathetic employer.
Who will get the best from your child. Step in when necessary to
help with difficult encounters. And realize your child’s strengths and
support their challenges.
For more on raising your child with Asperger’s: http://www.
To hard working Aspies,