If you are not aware, reframing is taking something and simply looking at it a different way. It really is that easy but it can be really effective. There will be other applications as well but I’m going to focus on these three areas: covering, education and understanding.
Ok, so covering doesn’t sound great but let me explain. We live in a non autistic world, it was designed for the way neuro-typical people think. I was told a lot when I was younger I was too nice, too honest and too open. I will never understand this to be frank, this is a concept I can’t wrap my head around. I genuinely can’t comprehend how “too” can be added to those particular words.
Covering allows you to be honest but use reframing to hold back information. I use this mainly when meeting new people so that I don’t give out too much personal information too soon. It gives me time to better understand them and judge if I can open up more with them. If we are too open and honest, by default, in communicating with a non autistic person we can create a problem because they are not used to our kind of open communication. This is a great way of allowing for better communication at the start. Once they get to know you and understand you, then you can just communicate as you normally do.
I said in a recent post about my struggles with education. I was given new information all the time but not enough context to link things together. This meant I had to try and find a way to teach myself how to read and write. I basically did this by using reframing. I took something I understood, adapted it and added in the extra information. This is a great way of learning for our brains. Because you are not learning one big chunk, only a portion because you already understand the rest. I used similar sounds in increasingly larger words to learn the bits I didn’t get. So a, an, and, sand, sands and so on till I’m at words like sandstorm or sandstones. As you have seen already “it is like a...” is also helpful because it’s putting something in a context that already makes sense.
Trying to understand how someone thinks when you literally see the world in different ways is so difficult. I’m not entirely sure it’s possible without being given additional information we may not have access to. The worst is misunderstandings, by far, you don’t know what happened, all you know is you upset someone. What I’ve since realised is this is a case where you need reframing. You need to look at multiple angles to find the truth; which could simply be I had good intentions, got nervous, said the wrong thing unintentionally. Basically it’s because I don’t see the layers in words the way they do, same language but different way of communicating. So that’s on the other person because they didn’t try and confirm their viewpoint. They didn’t check to see if it was intended, instead just assuming it is. I tried so hard to communicate with non autistic people but ended up hurting because of it.
Fear and doubt filled my head in too many encounters. This is ultimately what led to me just avoiding as many people as possible. What makes it worse is you are being you so you begin by thinking they are reacting to you personally, when in fact it is a perception of you and often one that is massively distorted and so wrong. If this happens to you, before you get really upset, start examining yourself basing it on what your intentions were at the time. If they were good and you were misunderstood, that’s on them and not you. There will be non autistic people you can talk to and will understand you, my wife and friends are neuro-typical. Unfortunately, it’s not the case with everyone, so focus on the people that do show they can see you, the real you.
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All the best
Words – Ross A Fraser
Imagery – Ross A Fraser
Graphic Design App – Canva