This is Part 6 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s. As usual I will start out with a personal story and then show how that links into Asperger’s. This post is primarily about my body language.
I have never thought too much about body language. I know I am told that it is a very significant part of communications but I just don’t see how that is? Since I am now deaf and the auditory world no longer exists I no longer can read the tone of a conversation and I know that is a problem. It is like many conversation here in the comments section of RJsCorner; things are misunderstood because of the lack of the non-verbal clues. Since I have been deaf for about 30 years now I do seem to be getting better at reading body language but still struggle with it on a daily basis.
Now on to how this relates to autism and particularly Asperger’s:
Understanding nonverbal communication, which includes body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, is essential for navigating social interactions successfully. So much of what is communicated, especially the emotional content, is conveyed through our bodies and voices, rather than the spoken word. While most of us receive no instruction on how to read nonverbal clues, we recognize the clues that tell us the true meaning of what is being communicated.
However, individuals on the Autism Spectrum may struggle to understand this mysterious language, which leaves them misinterpreting what is actually being communicated. It’s the nonverbal clues that allow a listener to judge whether the speaker is being sincere, is joking or being sarcastic. Without recognizing the true message, the response is often inappropriate.The ability to understand nonverbal communication can be improved through instruction, though when you try to break down what you need to teach, the complexity of the task becomes apparent.
People who have autism spectrum disorders have difficulty with reading even the most overt social cues in context. They have extraordinary difficulty with reading more subtle body language, including messages often conveyed via the eyes. In addition to difficulties with attending to and interpreting information that is embedded in social context, some have great difficulty with attending to and coordinating two sources of sensory input at once. ….