We've got some more things out there to help NTs and autists/Aspies to connect.
When teaching autistic and Aspie children (sometimes adolescents and adults, too), we can explain good behaviors in a modeling technique known as Social Stories or Social Articles. Carol Gray, an expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), founded the concept of writing stories to help ASD children learn about the NT social world, and then added on social articles for ASD adolescents and adults.
For example, for a little boy who saw a projector stored in the bathroom, and then refused to use the bathroom unless it had a projector in it, there's a social story titled "AOK to Use the Bathroom Any Way" - explaining that a bathroom may sometimes have a projector stored in it, but it's OK to use the bathroom even if it doesn't have one.
Ms. Gray also has resources to help others write social stories and social articles. She emphasizes that social stories and social articles should often praise the ASD person when s/he does something right, like wait patiently for something or behave maturely when things don't go as expected.
With a little creativity, anyone can make social stories and articles to help autists and Aspies learn the ins and outs of this world.
Lorin Neikirk has given us a series of articles on "How to Love Someone With Aspergers/Autism" - Part 1: Acceptance and Part 3: Communication. (Part 2 has since been removed by eHow.) As Ms. Neikirk makes clear from the beginning:
Half the time you want to hold them forever, and the other half of the time you want to strangle them. You have a family member, friend or love with Aspergers, and it's making you crazy. But it doesn't have to be that way. Remembering a few important things will enable you both to have a very rewarding relationship.
Getting down to specifics:
Think about your words. Many Aspies listen to each word which is spoken, and they interpret your meaning based on their understanding of the definition of the words you use. Most NTs are able to generalize a little better when another person says "could you put a lot of mashed potatoes on my plate?" Say this to a person with Aspergers and you might get a blank look! When the message is in the words, it pays to be as specific as possible. Doing so can save time in the long run, preventing repeat requests or lengthy explanations, when a more precise word is all that is really needed for the Aspie to get your meaning.
These are some great tools NTs, autists and Aspies can use to build mutual understanding and some wonderful relationships. Let's use them!
Hat-tip: Mama Mara for the stories, and Emily for Lorin Neikirk's work.
EDIT: Addressing the removal of Part 2 of Ms. Neikirk's series.
Hour 4: What do you want? Look at your goals.
8 years ago