What makes social conformity difficult for people with autism?
Much of the social conformity that comes naturally to the rest of us originates from innately knowing and following the social rules without thought. We act, think and do things the way we do because that is just how they are done in our world, no questions asked. We have assimilated the expected behavior through our psychological WIFI.
Not A Character Defect
This isn’t true of most people on the autism spectrum, and when our child refuses to do something that the rest of us do by rote, it can appear to be belligerence or stubbornness. It can also be confusing, since the rest of us naturally care deeply about how we are seen by others and the world around us and we expect everyone else to feel that way, too.
Individuals with autism usually can’t build a database because the sensory hypersensitivity prohibits the recognition and recording of subtle and social information for future reference. That makes autism a social disability. This is not a conscious decision on the part of someone with autism. This is not a character defect. (Click here to read more about Recognizing “Can’t” vs “Won’t”.)
Reactions Of Others
People around us who do not know much about autism may accuse us of having a rude child, or a child with no manners, and sometimes we might even worry that they are right. As a parent of a child on the spectrum, I have often doubted myself and wondered if I have done something wrong. I have also had to nurse my own hurt feelings a time or two when my kids haven’t realized that what they said to me hurt my feelings. In spite of all I know, not taking things personally is a challenge sometimes. (Click here to read more about The Secret Parenting Society: An Unfortunate Secret That We Know But They Don’t.)