Neurotypicals, or rather, those who are not fortunate enough to be on the Autism Spectrum, make up 99% of the population. You probably meet more than a few on a daily basis. Here are some of the most common quirks and ticks of Neurotypicals, and a few hints and tips for dealing with the Neurotypical (NT) individual in your life.
Conversation – NTs will want to start a conversation with inconsequential matters before proceeding to the important things. There is very little you can do about this except wait a few (perhaps two or three) comments and then start talking about the main focus of your conversation.
Use of Language – NTs will employ a wide array of “idioms” and “figures of speech” which may make little sense and have no bearing on the topic at hand. It might be a good idea to write down the most-heard out-of-place comments and ask a trusted NT to explain the apparent meaning of these remarks to you.
Noise – NTs will often make strange and unexpected noises for no apparent reason. This is not a stim, but rather a response to a perceived social cue or even social awkwardness. These noises may come in the form of laugher or irrelevant comments. It is often best to ignore them.
More Noise – NTs often have no perception of volume, and will thus speak very loudly even though they are close and the room is quiet, without realising that their pitch is painful. They are often unable to understand from your body language that you find their volume painful, and thus it falls to you to inform them of the fact and ask them to speak in a softer tone.
Verbal Communication – NTs often have trouble with some facets of verbal communication. This can show itself in a difficult communicating with others and using expressive language, most notably in a difficulty speaking the truth and saying what is meant. Most NTs will say “what they think you want to hear” – that is, say something that sounds nice but isn’t necessarily true – and will also say something which doesn’t really mean what it apparently does. NTs also have trouble with receptive language, often not understanding what is being said to them quite clearly.
Non-Verbal Communication – NT body language is incomprehensible and often bears little resemblance to how they are actually feeling. Body language and non-verbal cues often change from person to person, although there are apparently a set of rules which govern such things. However, because natural ASD body language is apparently equally incomprehensible to NTs, they will use their majority status to say that ASDs do not use body language, have expressions, understand non-verbal cues, and even at times will say that ASDs do not experience or express emotions! And to make matters worse, while ASDs are almost always forcibly taught to recognise NT expressions and body language – and most succeed quite well in memorising these things – NTs almost never even try to understand or recognise ASD expressions and body language.
While there are many other quirks and behaviours of Neurotypicals, I think I have covered the main ones. If you would like to read other articles about Neurotypical behaviours and how to deal with them, here are some good articles:
In dealing with Neurotypicals, it’s best to keep an open mind and remember that NTs come in all shapes and sizes, just like ASDs, and no two NTs are the same (no matter how much they try to all be identical). After all, if you’ve met one NT, you’ve met one NT. But it’s safe to say that you’ve met more than one NT…
NTs reading: please note: this is satire! It makes some very good and useful points for ASDers to read, but it is also a satire based on many similar articles aimed at NTs who have recently had a loved one diagnosed with ASD. How does it feel to have the tables turned?