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Signing for Autistics [Jan. 13th, 2005|04:54 pm]
PDD Signing


Just posting a little note to explain my take on the subject of "signing for autistics". It works sorta like this...

Picture-thinking autistics (HFA rather than Aspergers, especially) naturally think in pictures. This means that we naturally have much less trouble dealing with a visual communications medium. Many "lower-function" picture-thinking autistics lack the ability to speak entirely, but often write very effectively and understandably.

For those higher up the function chain (if you believe in such a thing - I'm not convinced it's not just a construct of neurotypicals trying to classify us), speaking is possible, but might not always be easy. It requires a decent amount of focus to accomplish, and when stim levels get high, even those of us who are ostensibly "high functioning" often find ourselves losing that ability.

At times like that, we run for the closest visual communications medium. Many of us will communicate to people sitting next to us through irc or other computer-based methods. But a computer may not always be handy.

While ASL has the connotation of being a language for deaf people, it has the unique quality of being a completely visual language. It's often just as useful for the picture-thinking autistic as it is for the deaf.

My partner, sarahemm often loses the ability to speak for extended periods. I occasionally do the same. Given the choice, I tend to prefer visual methods, although I am usually able to speak. And so I'm learning ASL - and thoroughly enjoying it.

[User Picture]From: tepsinnej
2005-01-14 01:25 am (UTC)
It's not as easy for us aspies, but an advantage that pretty much all folks on the autistic spectrum have is a great capacity for adaptation to varying circumstances. The learning curve is a bit rougher for those of us who don't naturally think in pictures, but once i get past that, i should become pretty competent.
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[User Picture]From: griffen
2005-01-14 09:02 am (UTC)
I actually don't think in pictures at all, but I have a very keen kinesthetic memory, and so sign comes very easily to me. When I see someone else signing, I'm *feeling* it in my hands and arms.
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