AAM - Guest Post - Aspie and NT: A Love Story

I am pleased to have connected with Jeff Deutsch so that he can share a bit of himself with us as part of Autism Awareness Month - I'll leave the rest of the story to him:

Aspie and NT: A Love Story


"Yes, Mary?"

"You know - I've always been attracted to you. I think you're a great guy, and I'd love to go out with you."

"Hey, that's great - how about next Saturday at the movies, Mary?"



That's your alarm clock, of course. Welcome to another day.

You knew that was probably a dream, right? Girls don't tend to go up to guys and tell them, flat out, that they're interested in them.

People - but especially girls and women - generally drop hints: "What are you doing this weekend?" "Say, that's an interesting movie you said you're going to. I'd go, except I can never find anyone to go with." "Say, that's an intriguing book you're reading...do you want to give me a call or drop by my room so we can talk about it more?"

And use body language, like leaning forward, mirroring the other person's movements, touching lightly on the arm.

Not to mention an excited tone of voice, strong eye contact, a really broad smile, things like that.

Thing is, we Aspies have a hard time taking or giving hints. We don't pick them up by osmosis the way most NTs (neurotypicals) do. If nobody explains things like that to us, we're unlikely to learn them. That means we tend to have all the charm and social awareness of Lt. Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

(In fact, for many of us Commander Data would be an improvement. I never heard of him ticking off anyone with a smart-mouth rejoinder or a tactless remark, things that we Aspies often do because we tend to know just enough to cut others with our tongues without even knowing why that hurts them, much less how - or why - to soften our tongues. Or even just keep our mouths shut entirely sometimes. It's kind of like having a chainsaw to cut wood, without the safety goggles or gloves.)

Small wonder my first date was at age 19 1/2, in my second year of college. And sadly, she and I have long since lost touch.

Ten years later (you do the math!) I got very lucky indeed, and met Emily. To make a long story short, she quickly discovered I was...quirky. As in blunt, rigid and otherwise insensitive at times. By then, we had the Internet including Google, so she typed in my more...distinctive traits, and came up with some articles. By then, we also had an official diagnosis called Asperger Syndrome. She told me about it in 2003, and urged me to read books and articles on the subject.

After overcoming a good bit of denial and a bit of depression (I got to skip anger because I was already ticked at the world, and bargaining because I was too rigid for that), I accepted what I was, and got diagnosed. Now I help fellow Aspies better understand and get along with others...and vice versa!

PS: Emily's changed too...especially her last name, which she exchanged for mine on January 20, 2005!

About today's guest poster:

Jeff Deutsch is an Aspie who reflects on his decades of Home-based Experiential Lifelong Learning (HELL) to help fellow Aspies better relate to NTs, and vice versa. Now happily married to Emily, an NT who first told him about Asperger Syndrome, he gives inspirational talks, group training for Aspies and also for Aspies' families' and partners' support groups, employers, service providers, first responders and others, and individual life coaching for Aspies and NTs. He helps Aspies better get along with NTs, and NTs better recognize and deal with Aspies, on the job, in personal relationships and other aspects of daily life. 

Jeff's practice, A SPLINT (ASPies LInking with NTs), is registered in the State of Maryland. He blogs on Building Common Ground and also shares his wisdom in various forms on FacebookTwitter and About.Me.