Not all situations are difficult for me to handle. Often a situation arises in which I know what to do and how to do it. However, I have noticed that I quite often think in black and white, right and wrong. Things that have one particular outcome or require a particular method in order to resolve are easy for me to understand. But if they have several ways of being dealt with and I do not know which is the ‘correct’ path to choose then I become confused. For example, if I were told off for swearing then I would make sense to me if I were given the same punishment irregardless of the circumstances. It would be confusing, however, if I were given a different punishment depending on the circumstances involved, such as what the swear word was, who I swore at, what day it was, etc. Many Aspies have this black and white thinking and it can be difficult for NT’s to understand this, as NT’s are rather more flexible in their thinking.
I thrive on understanding. I like to gather as much knowledge in my head as possible. Knowledge is key to understanding how things work. Many people with Asperger’s exhaust others with their why questions, not to be annoying but because they genuinely want a deeper understanding of things. If something is wrong then how can we fix it without understanding where it is broken and how it works. We like to be in-depth about subjects which interest us. I have come across people who have had incorrect assumptions about a subject and while others have corrected the person and moved on, I have been left wondering how the person arrived at their incorrect assumption in the first place. I feel the need to know what caused the person to think that way. I believe if I know where they got their evidence from and their thought process behind their thoughts then I can better understand where they went wrong and will be better placed to correct them. Most people, though, don’t understand my logic and so they dismiss it. They don’t need to know so why should I? In the same way football fans don’t want to just know then end score of a match, they also want to know who scored which goals, how the team played, how many penalties there were, etc, I too want to know everything about a subject.
My memory sucks. Both my long-term and short-term memory is bad. I struggle to remember what someone has actually said to me, I only remember their meaning (or my interpretation of it as I do not always interpret what people say correctly). I have an undiagnosed Auditory Processing Disorder which means what I hear gets muddled on the way to my brain. If there are other noises when someone is speaking the noises all mix together and I have a hard time hearing what is being said. I cannot tell the direction a noise is coming from unless I can see what is causing the noise, this is confusing if someone is talking to me but I don’t know where they are, I will not know which direction to look in. Many people with Asperger’s are face blind. They cannot remember people’s faces that they have met before. Added to the fact that I struggle to remember anyone’s name, then if I have met you only once or twice a good while ago then I may not recognise you if I met you again and I certainly won’t remember your name. It’s not personal, my brain just sucks.
Making decisions. I’m not good when it comes to making a quick decision. This is because in order to make the ‘correct’ decision I need to have ALL the information. Even something as small as choosing a chocolate bar can be a real problem. It depends on what I have already had to eat, what I feel like eating, the price, whether anyone is likely to want some too, whether I want to eat it all at once or not, whether I can eat it in even bites, the temperature in case it melts quick etc etc. It takes a while to process all these questions and scenarios so I am often delayed in making a decision because I am trying to think. It’s even worse if it’s a new scenario where I don’t know all the possibilities that may occur by choosing a certain option or if it’s a big decision such as moving house etc because the implications are so much higher. So if I don’t answer when asked a question straight away it’s because I’m trying to work out the correct answer.