It’s not uncommon for autistic children or adults to come across as egotistical or bigheaded. There are a few reasons in particular as to why this is the case, and sometimes it really is due to us having a high opinion of ourselves. Though the cause is rather different from that of an arrogant or purely egotistical personality.
So we’ll begin with discussing the scenario of an autistic person being “big-headed”. Autistic people will always have a topic of interest which we’ll enjoy dedicating our time to. As we can spend 100% of our waking life thinking about and reading about our special interest, it’s natural that we can develop a thorough detailed knowledge of it. When we’re discussing our special interest it may cause people to say that we’re the cleverest person they’ve ever met. Now, an autistic person could potentially take those words too literally.
Another cause could be that we’re aware of our differences and have a low opinion of ourselves as a result of that. Yet we’ll recognize that being knowledgeable gives us positive attention. This even gives us the potential of boasting about things we’re good at, or bluffing things that we’re not so good at. Though when it comes to autism (and every person in general) each of us have our own personality. Thus our self-confidence, kindness, intelligence, experiences and capabilities will all differ.
There’s something else that can make autistic people come across as arrogant, and this situation has nothing to do with having a high opinion of ourselves, nor of us being aware of getting positive attention. Sometimes it’s merely due to us being narrow-minded.
Due to our autism, we often don’t have the social flexibility to understand that other viewpoints may in fact be correct. We can decipher our own feelings and thoughts easily, as we’re the person we essentially live with 100% of the time. Everybody develops opinions based on what we see with all of our senses.
Yet when a person isn’t socially flexible enough, anything seen from another person’s perspective is ‘wrong’ to us. We have difficulty with understanding that the right answers aren’t just things which we’ve sensed or experienced ourselves.
This often makes it a real challenge for an autistic child or adult to cope with working in a team. We may even come across as aggressive when we experience frustration as a result of our inability to understand other perspectives.
These sorts of cases are common amongst those of us with autism, and it’s most probably impossible for us to learn ways of eliminating them. In the case of the first scenario, it would be rather cruel to downplay the strengths of a person with limited opportunities, especially if those strengths are all that boosts their self-esteem.
Also, when it comes to being narrow-minded, many autistic people simply don’t have the social and cognitive ability to acknowledge facts which they cannot see themselves.
Regardless of how much we’re taught and how much effort we put in, we will never be able to completely function like a neurotypical person. Whenever an autistic child or adult is deliberately putting another person down in regards to either ‘big-headedness’ or ‘narrow-mindedness’ that certainly needs to be addressed and dealt with. Though in cases where they’re not doing harm to anyone, that shouldn’t be made a priority area to make improvements on.
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The number of autism diagnoses at the moment are climbing higher every year. So much so that it’s being described by many as an epidemic. The media are indeed paying attention to this. But there is one particular word that many reports are including, which still continues to give us misconceptions. Many are reporting autism as a childhood developmental disability.
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