is Not the Same as People-Skills
When one’s brain works differently from that of
most folks, the social norms that seem sensible and worthwhile
to others, may seem not as sensible to you. For example,
if you are highly sensitive and crave “real” emotion
and cringe when people’s words don’t match
their mood, the social niceties may be unsatisfying or
For example, one may understand perfectly well the norm
that one is expected to accept, “I’m fine,” as
the answer to the question, “How are you,” no
matter how obvious it is that the person speaking is in
pain That person may decide to break the norm anyway. That
is reaching out. That is making a connection. That is showing
compassion or trying to. But it may also be socially “inappropriate” behavior.
To ask a child with learning disabilities to understand
how and when it is a good thing to break a norm that makes
no sense to them and when it is more caring to leave the
norm in place, is asking a lot indeed.
Are we teaching the most empathic and intuitive amongst
us to ditch those talents in favor of “fitting in” and “making
more friends” or “having more play dates?” It
is, at least, a question worth asking.