Watch: Paul Explains Life with Aspergers
Paul Hughes is a smart, funny English guy who gave this presentation about living with Asperger's syndrome at Edge Hill University in 2010 as part of the 'Communication: A Key to Success' conference.
He talks about what it's like for him to want to communicate, but to be unsure how of how to do it or whether what he has to say will be accepted. He and his roommate, who also has Aspergers, often sit together without speaking. And the sort of "social skills" instruction he got at school did not help much when trying to make friends with young guys like himself:
No speech therapist told me that at nineteen if somebody insulted your mother, this was a really positive step. And that if you insulted their mother, this would be really good.
Paul does not disclose his Aspergers, except to close friends. He describes the terror he had of losing his diagnosis when being reevaluated, because then he would "just be weird."
Many aspies could benefit from considering the strategies that he discusses, like trying to turn conversations around and get the other person to talk about himself or herself and using jokes, which are scripts, as an ice breaker. I know that, like Paul, my best social skills training came from being involved in theater.