In strong cases of autism, when the individual spends most of their time in their own world (as I did) they may not be aware that other people have their own individual thoughts.
I can think back to a time when I had a similar assumption. My own thoughts were the only thoughts that existed and nobody outside of my own world had any thoughts of their own. This leads one to conclude that everybody knows everything they know, and therefore it eliminates the need to communicate.
Much of my frustration in early childhood came from the people around me not immediately solving whatever problem I had. If I had a problem, I knew about it, and therefore everybody else knew about it, so why hasn’t somebody done something about it yet?
I haven’t gotten to personally know many people with autism, but I have noticed this theme. We tend to assume that people know what’s wrong, and that if nobody’s fixed the problem yet then it’s because nobody cares, it’s not due to a lack of us explaining that there’s a problem. Or we tend to come to people with half a story, because we assume they know the rest of it already.
It’s not exactly like the Borg. I didn’t believe that everyone in the world shared a single consciousness. I just didn’t think anybody produced their own thoughts apart from my own mind.
When I was a around six I remember wondering if my negative emotions had any affect on the people around me. But even that was progress. At least I was aware that people might have different feelings than me.
Lately I’ve been trying to communicate better when I’m having a problem, instead of waiting to see if people figure it out on their own (because my face is often neutral anyway and people can’t always tell there’s a problem just by observing me). I’m also trying not to come to people with just half a story.
My struggle right now is remembering what conversations I’ve had with who and whether or not a certain piece of information is a surprise or old news. I never had this problem in my teens because I didn’t know many people. Now I’m slowly getting to know a lot of people and it gets overwhelming at times. It’s awkward to do inside jokes when you can’t remember who’s inside. But whenever a joke of mine is answered with silence, I take solace in the knowledge that God gets it. 🙂
Although I have less opportunity to visit with you now Ben, I find I enjoy your blog posts even more!