And can form friendships with each other that include reading and responding to it a good deal more than people expect. This video of D and DJ (D’s mom is an online friend of mine) shows it beautifully:
A friend of mine said that D mentioned that nobody ever uses autism when they’re talking about something people are good at, only when they’re talking about something people are bad at. I think this is a really good example of an aspect of being autistic that’s related to stuff some of us can be really good at, but that we’re often said to be bad at because either the non-autistic people around us can’t see it or we’re never given the opportunity to show it.
I even know someone who I was having a discussion with about our ability to read nonverbal cues. She said she’d never heard anything like some of the things I was saying before. I asked her, since she knew all these parents, whether the parents said that their autistic children picked up on tension in the household. She said “Yes in fact all of them mention that, but I always thought that was strange because autistic people aren’t supposed to be able to read nonverbal cues.” So, instead of seeing that as evidence the prevailing stereotypes are wrong, perhaps many people file it into a bin labeled “contradicts what I think I know” and don’t ever look at it again.
Well, it’s not just tension we pick up on. See my dialects of nonverbal language post for more on this. But as to the question I’m often asked, “How can what you do be a language if nobody else speaks it?” My answer is, don’t be so sure nobody else does.