While every person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is different, there are some common communication traits that everyone should understand. Many with ASD process language literally and have a hard time understanding body language, social cues, exaggeration and cultural cues.
This can lead to misunderstandings that result in people with ASD appearing to be rude when it wasn’t their intent. If more neurotypical people (those without ASD) better understood these communication differences, it’d be much easier for everyone to get along.
A perfect example of this problem and how to fix it was shared by Yuri, a transmasc person who goes by he/they, who posts on TikTok about having ADHD and ASD. In a post that has more than 2.3 million views, Yuri claims he was “booked for a disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator.”
Obviously, his manager needs to learn a little more about working with people with ASD.
To help his co-workers better understand his unique communication style, Yuri posted a note on his office door so there wouldn’t be any more misunderstandings.
I prefer direct, literal and detailed communication
If I am:
Not making eye contact
Not greeting you back
Not understanding your social cues, etc.
There is no malicious intent. It is the autism.
Thank you for understanding.
I made an autism sign at work bc i got booked for disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator.
The post inspired some great responses from people who totally understand what Yuri is going through.
“This should be the norm tbh!! very proud of you for stating your boundaries and needs clearly,” Alastar wrote. “I wish everyone had signs telling me how to communicate tbh,” Bro added.
“How is it that we prefer direct, literal, and detailed communication, but somehow WE’RE the ones with a communication issue???” Reading cosmere! wrote.
In a follow-up video, Yuri addressed some of the commenters who didn’t know if he was diagnosed by a doctor.
“The funniest thing about the comment section of my autism sign video is the people who are asking me, ‘Are you self-diagnosed? Are you formally diagnosed?’” he said in the video. “Do you think neurotypical people would make a sign like that? Do you think that would happen? Do you think a neurotypical person would do that?”
Autism is a misunderstood disorder so it was a brave move by Yuri to come out about being on the spectrum and share how he prefers to communicate. It’s also a reminder for all of us that we all have the right to show others how we wish to communicate.
This story is also a great lesson for anyone who works with people who have ASD to learn more about their unique communication styles so we can all understand one another. It could be the difference between a hostile work environment and one where everyone can thrive and feel safe.