Truth and AS
Aspies do not have an early natural, untrained ability to
lie or to detect lies when spoken by others. They may not understand
the full consequences of the misbehavior of other children or adults,
and often find themselves "holding the bag" while their peers'
misbehavior remains unnoticed or denied by children and adults who do
know how to tell convincing lies. Because the unwritten rules of social
behavior and language remain mysteries to them, they become attached to
enforcing rules and often gain the reputation of being little super cops
or informers in situations where other children commonly ignore or break
rules undetected without consequences. Some AS individuals continue
this pattern of being "enforcers" into their adulthood, insisting that
others adhere to rules and inconvenient routines that are regularly
broken or ignored. As an example, one AS son thought it was a mortal
sin for his mother to go through the express check out line with more
than the maximum number of items. She had eleven items; the sign said
nine! How dare she break the rules! He would have a dramatic meltdown
as others in adjacent lines stared in amazement at his behavior. It
didn’t matter to him that the Checker had asked her to come into that
line. The rules were posted, and she had broken them.
individuals can also be blunt and disarmingly honest. Observing someone
on the street or in a store, they may loudly say, "Look at her. She is soooo fat!
She should go on a diet!" Well, that might be true but it is socially
inappropriate to say this in public because it hurts the other person's
feelings. AS children have difficulty understanding their own feelings,
and therefore they also have trouble understanding the feelings of
others. "Why would it hurt her feelings as every one can see that she
is fat? I am only saying what ever one else knows to be the truth."
Without careful, repetitive training, they simply do not understand
"socially unacceptable" public observations. Some parents teach their
children the "No's" without teaching them how to express their concerns
in socially appropriate ways. Rather than saying the wrong thing, or
learning how to tell socially approved white lies or to express their
feelings later, in safety, many parents adopt an inappropriately rigid
response to the social misbehavior of their children. At the point
where it no longer becomes possible for parents or care givers to watch
every word or behavior of the child, it is essential that our children
understand their own particular "flavor" of AS and start to deal with
the world in a comfortable way from an accurate self-understanding.
The overwhelming desire for literal meanings of words,
combined with the desire for truth, can cause problems for children as
they are growing up. For example, a well-intentioned teacher who asks
that the class take a “nap” might find a child who refuses to sit
down. That child when asked why he/she is still in the book section of
the room might respond truthfully with “I’m not tired”. If the teacher
is willing to reword the request “Will all of you please find a place on
the mat and lie down for a few minutes?” the problem is averted. If the
teacher angrily demands the child “take a nap” there will be a battle
of the wills, and the student will suffer the wrath of the controlling,
domineering teacher. This is a very important lesson in word meaning
that everyone associated with a person with AS should learn.
Disclosing AS to others needs to become a careful,
well-thought-out process. Inappropriate disclosure has many
uncontrollable and unexpected consequences; so children and newly
diagnosed adults should be given ample opportunity to role-play, engage
in guessing games about "What would you do if?” The life-long knowledge
about their own traits, strengths, and weaknesses should be something
that the AS person should know how and when to hide as well as how and
when to disclose.
As the AS individual has matured, it is possible that
they have learned how to lie as a coping mechanism with social
problems. They do not see the difficulty with not telling the truth,
because it accomplishes whatever their short-term goal is. They do not
see the consequences to others for they are unable to understand any
impact their actions might have on others. Remember that all comments
made by the AS individual will be likely in a monotone with little
facial expression, and perhaps little eye contact—this will make it very
difficult to identify a lie versus the truth in an AS adult. Not all AS
individuals will “learn” this ability to lie, but those that do may use
it without remorse. It is therefore important that AS children be
properly taught the reasons for being truthful, and the acceptable
reasons for not disclosing something at a given time.
What is AS
Official Criteria for Asperger Syndrome
Traits by Age
Truth and AS
Family and AS
Should You Seek a Diagnosis?
"I know of nobody who is purely Autistic or purely neurotypical. Even
God had some Autistic moments, which is why the planets all spin."
~ Jerry Newport