Nuclear Blow Ups

Being autistic and online dealing with social interactions that lead to miscommunications.

a person texting on their phone.
Photo by Miquel Parera on Unsplash

Life is unexpected. Recently, we joined a community that is centered on writing. Aspiring authors work together to provide feedback with the positive intention of helping others.

As an autistic adult, social situations are tricky. We experience a minefield of social interactions every time we open the front door or write a message in a chat. The writing community is a wonderful place until miscommunications happen.

Going nuclear

We do not always understand what people are saying. The neurotypical default is to say words with hidden meanings. As an autistic person, we don’t catch the hidden meanings.

Our inability to decipher the neurotypical mode led to a person being angry at us. We had no idea there was an issue until the person in question unfriended us in the community.

From our perspective, this was completely random. We had no idea that there was a miscommunication, let alone a reason for someone to be upset. This happens to a lot of neurodivergent and actually autistic people!

Now, in this situation no one was wrong. It was cleared up over a few conversations. In our mind, it was a complete overreaction from the other person. To us, it was black and white — if you have an issue just say it. However, that is not how neurotypical brains work.

Nevertheless, that does not mean that autistic people need to act more neurotypical. It means there needs to be a communication plan.

Making a communication plan

In this writing community, the administrators are open to feedback. Also, they were willing to provide us with a liaison for communication. That way, we don’t have to seek explanations from multiple people. We have a go-to person that will help us with any confusion, conflicts, or questions.

Even in an online community people are willing to make the space more inclusive for autistic people!

The moral of this story

Autistic people don’t need to change. No one is perfect and that applies to autistic people too. However, autistic people do not need to change how the communicate, it is the other way around. Too often autistic people are treated as “other” and given unfair or unrealistic expectations.

Neurotypical people assume they have a “normal” brain. To us, it makes the most sense that those are the ones that should adapt to autistic communication.

Take the time to ask for accommodations in online spaces. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to support an inclusive space! The worst thing someone can say is no. If that happens, maybe it is time to reevaluate the spaces in your social sphere.

People should want to be inclusive and make the community experience good for EVERYONE, not just neurotypical folks.

Tas is an autistic, queer, nonbinary, person of color that a neurodivergent writer. They are advocates for social justice, and equality, and are scholars of life.

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Tas (they/them)

We are autistic members of the disability community and hold various mental health diagnoses. We are advocates for social justice, writers and scholars of life.