A Field Guide to Earthlings: An Autistic/asperger View of Neurotypical Behavior ; Covers Nuances of Friendship, Dating, Small Talk, Interpersonal Conflicts, Image Learning Styles, Social Communication, Common Sense, White Lies, and Much More!

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Ian Ford Software Corp, 2010 - Autistic people - 218 pages
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Autistic people often live in a state of anxiety and confusion about the social world, running into misunderstandings and other barriers. This book unlocks the inner workings of neurotypical behavior, which can be mysterious to autistics. Topics include the nuances of friendship, dating, small talk, interpersonal conflicts, image, learning styles, social communication, common sense, and white lies. Proceeding from root concepts of language and culture through 62 behavior patterns used by neurotypical people, the book reveals how they structure a mental map of the world in symbolic webs of beliefs, how those symbols are used to filter perception, how they build and display their identity, how they compete for power, and how they socialize and develop relationships. From the introduction: This book reveals psychological patterns of neurotypical humans, from an autistic perspective. I wrote it to help you understand them. You might read it if you are autistic and have to work harder to understand why people do what they do, or you might read it if you are neurotypical and want to understand an autistic person in your life, or you might read it because you are interested in new ways of looking at personalities and behavior.

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User Review  - HeatherMS - LibraryThing

“A Field Guide to Earthlings: An Autistic/Asperger View of Neurotypical Behavior” by Ian Ford is basically what the title implies… a guide for people on the autism spectrum about non-autistic people ... Read full review

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A Field Guide to Earthlings: An Autistic/Asperger View of Neurotypical Behavior
By Ian Ford
Published by Ian Ford Software Corporation ISBN9780615426198
Given to me by publisher through
arrangement with ReviewtheBook
I am almost 69 years old, and I was not diagnosed as autistic until I was in my fifties. That diagnosis was the most liberating experience of my life; within two weeks I could no longer even remember things I had been kicking myself for since I was as young as four. Despite the neurotypical mental picture of an autistic child wearing a football helmet and screaming, I have a PhD in English, am a world class fingerprint examiner, have published 23 books through major publishers, and have written, edited, and published many more as ebooks. I am a self-starter and I can define my work and do it.
But my interpersonal relationships are and always have been disastrous. My husband and I often find ourselves quarreling because each of us thinks he or she was perfectly clear and the other is willfully misunderstanding.
Ford explains why.
There are shared experiences and assumptions in the neurotypical world that the autistic person, no matter where he or she is on the autism spectrum, cannot understand. Often the “autie”—Ford’s phrase for a person with autism—is unable to express things in a way that neurotypical (normal) person can understand.
Ford identifies several differences between the autistic brain and the neurotypical brain. Some of these are (1) An infant’s brain has no screening mechanism. It accepts all input at the same time. In self-defense, the neurotypical brain develops screening techniques that allow only selected outside stimuli to get through. The autistic brain typically does not develop the screening mechanisms; instead, it learns to cope with a stream of competing input that would drive a neurotypical person mad.
(2) The adult neurotypical brain’s perception is limited to what it already “knows.” It develops a blind spot so that things that do not fit into its perceived universe are literally not seen or heard. The autistic brain readily takes in new stimuli and new thoughts.
(3) The neurotypical brain constantly converses in thoughts that underlie the words and are “understood” by the people conversing. The autistic brain does not understand the underlying conversation and tries to take part in what appears to be the topic under discussion. This is seen as taking part in the underlying conversation, and the autie is understood to mean things s/he does not and cannot mean.
(4) The neurotypical person constantly strives for dominance. The autie does not comprehend dominance nor does s/he comprehend what is going on.
(5) Sexual discussion is often carried on in code. The autie does not understand the code and is often perceived as making, or accepting, sexual advances which s/he does not comprehend. This may lead to what the neurotypical person believes is consentual sex and the autie perceives as forced sex.
(6) The neurotypical person belongs to one or more formal or informal groups, the values of which it internalizes. The autie is incapable of internalizing the values of anyone but himself/herself.
Although it appears that a neurotypical person and an autie are having a normal conversation, in fact communication is failing because there are levels in the autie’s discourse that the neurotypical cannot comprehend and vice versa. Quoting from p. 199: “If you have ever heard a political speech that seemed completely free of content, you are familiar with extremely associative people. Extreme associatives live in a socially constructed world and can use words for hours at a time, talk about words . . . and never ‘say anything’(from our [i.e., the auties’] point of view). They can talk about alliances, desert and other relational emotions, but might not say anything that counts as information to an autistic listener.” To a lesser extent, the same thing happens in what neurotypical people consider a normal conversation


Language and culture
Patterns of Perception
Patterns of Belief and Learning
Patterns of Communication
Patterns of Feelings and Display
Patterns of Relationships Power
Whats an autie to do?

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Ian Ford facilitates a support group for autistic adults, and operates a software development company in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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