Autistic monologues are often considered, gasp, a bad thing. Autistic people often struggle combating monologues and getting to the point, so here are some tips to help you on your journey to more effective communication.
Think about what you're going to say in advance.This is very time consuming at first, but in time, you'll get faster, and it will get easier.
We on the spectrum find ourselves speaking out our thoughts in order to try to find what it is that we are thinking. Figure it out before speaking, and then just say the main point. Add supporting details as the person you are talking to seems to need them.
Get into the Habit of Focusing on the "In Conclusion" paragraphWe autistics tends to want to provide people a dissertation of a topic because that pops into our mind. Try to get into the habit of skipping to the last paragraph you would write in a paper, and just speak that part. It might help to whisper to yourself before speaking, "In Conclusion" to get your mind in that direction.
Tell Why FirstAt the risk of adding more information to what you already have to say, it's important to get people's attention by first spelling out the obvious, why you are going to say what you have to say. Do so in one sentence. Then look at the person you are talking to, and try to figure out based on their body language if that's something that sounds interesting to them. If they are interested, they will most likely stop what they are doing and make eye contact. If they aren't interested, they will often look down and might fidget.
If they are interested, then you know you can go into it. If they aren't interested, then try to close what you are going to say in one sentence.
Timing: Save things for laterSaving things for a more relevant time is especially important in a debate. You already know what they are going to say. Sure. But don't skip the guns and argue their next 5 points now. Wait for it. Have some fun with it. Dance with the person on topics and main points for a little bit.
In non-debate settings, the same thing occurs. You try to anticipate what information they will need to know, and just to be safe, you add all the information. Don't do that. Just tell them the main idea, and if they need more information, they'll ask or open the communication channel for more input from you.
Life is a poem: give each line it's momentWhen reading poetry, if you read through it like you would this article, quickly perusing, you're not going to have any idea what the poem is about, and you're going to miss most of the excitement a poem brings. When you read poetry, you read each line, and pause for a minute between commas to give yourself time to think about that line, and those words. What do they mean? Is this a metaphor to what?
When speaking with other people, think of your words as a poem. Each point you have to make is a line. Give the person you are speaking with time to absorb that knowledge.
Pick and Choose What's Most Important to Who You are Talking to.Now, you won't be able to get through all the points you want to make, so pick and choose. That's easier said than done. A person with autism can ponder easily for hours about what is important and weigh the reasons behind it.
One tip: Take the things you think are least important and use those.I don't know if autism naturally finds the importance in less important things, or if neurotypicals find the importance in less important things, but I do know that most of the time, the things autistic people think are important are the exact opposite of neurotypicals.
Tip Two: Focus on FeelingsAlso, focus on the things that will make people feel. People are generally searching for reassurance more than anything, and they tend to focus most of their decisions on feelings.
Pay Attention to the Antsy Nature of the Person you are Talking ToIf you see them fidgeting at all, they don't want to be there. They don't care what you have to say, not because they don't care about you, but because they have something more important to tend to or somewhere else they'd rather be, or something else they'd rather do. Just say what's on your mind that will give you peace, and be done with it. Even better, try to let go of what you want to say and just close the conversation.
Create a Closure SpeechCreate a closure speech. Memorize it. Practice it. Get used to using it whenever you see the need to walk away or when you struggle ending the conversation.
My closure mantra tends to be, "But anyway, have a good one." But if I've been monologuing for a minute, I will add, "But anyway, sorry I keep rambling. Thank you for listening. Have a good one."
Fight the ProcessWith autism, our brain gets stuck often on a certain process, and we struggle to get to Point B without first covering Point A. It has to be in that order for some reason in our minds. This is why it's so difficult for autistic people to skip to the point despite knowing they need to get to the point.
Try to find ways to combat that process. It's really an art, and you'll have good days and bad days with it. The less tired you are, and the less hyper you are, the easier it is.
Give Yourself a BreakIt's ok if you mess up once in a while.
I know what it feels like to start talking, and then not be able to finish it. Many times, I just can't find the end. I can see the person getting bored. I can see I lost their attention and they are tuning me out. I can see them getting annoyed. I still can't stop. As I continue to talk, I get more anxious because of the pressure to stop. The more I push myself to find that end, the further I get from it.
That doesn't happen all the time, but I have those moments. It's ok if that happens once in a while. The important thing is that you try to work on it. Remember, you have to deal with their quirks, it's only fair they deal with yours once in a while.
How are you Sally?
Oh I'm doing good. I am in the process of planning a trip to Florida.
At this point, you are thinking, "Florida, I've been there. Let me tell you the best beaches, the best restaurants, where to avoid, oh they have alligators and not many people knew that when I read that article about a boy who was taken by one, and nobody really knows about the flesh-eating bacteria, I should warn them."
Approach 1: Q & AAsk questions to get a feel for what information to dish out, and focus on one thing at a time.
Really? What part of Florida?
Oh, I've been to Tampa before. Are you there for business or sight seeing?
Business, but I plan on hitting a couple beaches.
Clearwater is nice, and that's near Tampa, but if you get a chance to hit the road a little, south of Tampa in Sarasota is Siesta Key. Best beach I've seen ever. Even further south is Venice Beach, and they have a little restaurant along the shore called Sharkeys. I definitely recommend that place. Have you been to Florida before?
Yes, several times. I did Disney World with the kids several years ago, and I've been to Miama just to go to Miami.
Oh I always wanted to go to Miami. So you have probably heard about the alligators and flesh eating bacteria.
Flesh eating bacteria?
Yeah, steer clear of fresh water that has been standing in heat for a long time. Where did you go in Miami?
Approach 2: In Conclusion
I've been Florida before. My favorite beach was Siesta Key in Sarasota, and Sharkeys is THE restaurant you have to experience once in this life, if you get a chance to sneak out to those places. Just be careful. Florida is notorious for Alligators and a flesh-eating bacteria in fresh water that has stood in the heat too long. Crazy huh? But not many people know that.
Approach 3: Do you have their attention?
Yeah I've been to Florida before. I found a great beach you may want to escape to.
Siesta Key in Sarasota. White sands. Clear Water. It's not usually too busy, and because it's one of Florida's best secrets, usually they only get residents there, very few tourists. They also have a nice bathroom and shower at the public beach, very clean. South of that is Venice Beach which is also just as nice, but more bare and no real public beach. But they do have a restaurant that has the best seafood in the state. Sharkeys if you get the chance.
(No Eye Contact)
It's in Sarasota if you get the chance. So how long do you plan to stay in Florida?
(No Eye Contact: Fidgeting)
It's in Sarasota if you get the chance. Hope you have fun. I have to run along and get dinner started. Nice running into you.
I hope you find this helpful in your social endeavors. It has worked for me many times, but everyone is different. The important thing is that you become aware of what you're doing and you make an attempt to reconcile what you are doing with what people want. No matter what you do, it takes time to experiment with different options and turn successful approaches into a habit. It's ok that it takes time. Just keep trying.
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