Over the years, I’ve become convinced that there are more similarities than differences between people with autism (or any type of “difference,” including physical, emotional, mental, financial, etc.) and those without. At our core, all people are unique individuals with hopes, dreams, abilities, fears, beliefs, interests, experiences, feelings, and trials. Interacting effectively with each other presents challenges for all of us.
When I started Social Incites, LLC in 2012, I wanted to emphasize that everyone, myself included, needs “social coaching”…not just those with autism or other disabilities. It’s tempting to think that the reason a social interaction breaks down is because of the other person, especially when that person has a social cognitive deficit like autism. But the reality is that sometimes it’s our own inflexibility, preconceived ideas, desires, distractedness, judgmental attitude, insecurity, or pride that gets in the way of the interaction “working.” We all need other people in our lives to correct and assist us (peer-coaching), just as we need to be coaching ourselves (self-coaching) to be friendly, kind, flexible, considerate, humble, honest, generous, patient, etc.
I hope that as you read my insights each week, you’ll be incited (prompted) to do something different, something more, perhaps something radical which will help you grow personally, but also interpersonally as you connect with others. And whether you’re interacting with people you perceive as “like you” or “different from you,” I hope you will be an encouragement to them as you model and promote love, acceptance, and socially effective interactions.