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I use these scenarios to guide me in different situations.I then run videotapes in my imagination of all the possible ways to predict how the other person might act. I have great difficulty with new social situations if I cannot recall a similar situation to use as a guide.Social relationships have been learned solely by intellect and use of my visualization skills.All my thoughts are in pictures, like videotapes in my imagination.Since people with autism require much more time than others to shift their attention between auditory and visual stimuli, they find it more difficult to follow rapidly changing, complex social interactions.These problems may be part of the reason why Jack, a man with autism, said, "If I relate to people too much, I become nervous and uncomfortable." Learning social skills can be greatly helped with videotapes. Figuring out how to interact socially was much more difficult than solving an engineering problem.My understanding of this became clearer after I read by Antonio Damasio.From the book I learned that, in most people, information in memory is seamlessly linked with emotion.
These patients have completely normal thoughts, and they respond normally when asked about hypothetical social situations.My problem is due to a poor short-term working memory.Difficulties with short-term working memory should not be confused with a lack of understanding of 'theory of mind.' I can solve more complex 'theory of mind' tests if I am allowed to write down the sequence of events.As a child, I found picking up social cues impossible.
When my parents were thinking about getting divorced, my sister felt tension; but I felt nothing because the signs were subtle. The signs of emotional friction were stressful to my sister, but I didn't even see them. I had no idea that people communicated feelings with their eyes.