AlienBeing.org is a resource for highly functioning adults having Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger's or High Functioning Autism. The objective is to help adults to live as independently as possible, to be able to work and to fit within the social world.
I jlearned that improving social skills is a slow slog because learning is harder being autistic - but chipping away day by day with intensity, then rest can result in improvement. Studying various web sites, meeting the right people - I am conscious that work is being done on personal improvement programs for adults. It is a very new field, and a great opportunity for the next 20 years.
I am transitioning to my story. I have faced social frustration and isolation because I could not easily participate socially due to information processing - too slow to laugh and pick up what is going on. But improvements can be made through practice and self awareness, and more fun can be had. You can be different but try as hard as possible to be different in a beneficial way to society.
I remember getting the advice of a choice - should I just take an isolated computer programming job or work on my interpersonal skills and try to be normal. You are better off if there is a chance of being normal.
Thus, an autistic person should study their past and see if health issues prevented development at a key time. For me, I had ear infections as a baby, making me deaf at times. Thus, I missed the learning by osmosis at age 1-3. I am not claiming it is easy to make up lost time, but at least one can research how to duplicate child play. Health care in the early 1960's was just different.
I was intrigued about "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation" in the news in March 2016. I am not risking it but I recommend you read everything you can find about the subject.
Treat any non-autistic diagnosis first. Then, with Aspergers/Autism being most vague, you can start attacking the edges of the problem, working on correctable weaknesses.
Identify the potential of the person somehow, the point where neurology prevents the autistic person from being normal. Part of my problem is that I have had to deal with high-achieving marketing, smile-oriented people so the challenge was greater. I did not have the osmosis skills to duplicate those people.
Then, you are knowing yourself and your potential, you still have to have a resume and work on getting a job. Of course, family is your best resource, then friends, then somehow meeting strangers and making new friends. You have to like to so something and seek that career. You have to admit you are good at this and bad at something else. I would be good at numbers and accounting, bad at being a waiter and running around in a restaurant or running meetings, having to speak on my feet.
I agree with the concept of "Applied Bahavioral Analysis" - break down social interactions step by step, like watching every action in a TV comedy. Autism can use time and memory - alternative learning methods to osmosis or fast learning skills that smart non-autistic people learned on their own. Whether 10% or any percent actually "beat autism" is less important to me than alternative learning methods. Sometimes, I feel I beat autism - other moments - I still just miss signals other people can pick up.
The challenge in a conversation is making the comment that would offend someone. A conversation is hard - listening takes a lot of effort and often, I don't have the luxury to consider the other person's situation and context. I can sense something is wrong but I don't know why because when I made the statement, it did not appear to be a problem to me. Then the meltdown continues with visual frustration and bewilderment - what is going on? I have to retreat, be alone, buy time. These difficult encounters can happen in work or social life outside of work. You are better off doing things you like to do, most likely outside of the most socially sophisticated circles.
I feel people under the Spectrum need to hear from others within the Spectrum, not be lectured by someone who cannot put themselves in your shoes, speaking to you theoretically. I have to help others like others helped me. It is amazing that I can put up a website and communicate with people from all over, compared to what was available 20 years ago.
The emphasis is on autism in the workplace. I do not advise on childhood therapy and brain science, or dating (I never married, not sure if I can advise). I had childhood therapy, and try to keep up with developments online.
I learned to work from a family who appreciated hard work, and was able to develop memorization skills to eventually become an accountant, passing two sets of national examinations. I found out that social situations, such as dinner with a group of six people, sitting still at a table, laughing when others laugh, transitioning trains of thought, I struggled and found out I was near the bottom of the population.
Socialization, like everything else, takes hard work and concentration. You will be tired at the end of each day, yawning. Socializing can require being uncomfortable - halting and confused when shifting thoughts. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't and people catch on that I have a "problem" and thus do not fit in.
I am in my 50's, I tried management jobs when I was 33-34, was fired, told I did not fit in, having an "interpersonal skills problem." I discovered Autism after reading "Diagnosing Learning Disorders" by Bruce Pennington. The early 1990's there was the DSM that defined the intermediate forms of autism. I found out in 1998 that I had been diagnosed as an autistic child at age 2, but I was never told about it and it was assumed it could be outgrown.
I am one of those people who experienced a life track that is not possible today because I would have been given a label as a child and would have gone to a college with more structure and forgiving for the autistic. I will talk about this more at the time my identity is revealed.
A fun project I am doing now is researching my geneology. It is fun to learn a new fact - a name of a great-great grandparent, or the town they were from in the old country, or the history of the old country, or was one side nobility? You can meet members of your family who you did not know, and want to know people you had nothing to do with until now. This search can take unexpected turns. Good project for someone autistic because you can learn concrete facts, be a detective.
I did not know myself when I failed. I turned people off by being opinionated, yawning, speaking too long and in a monotone, being a poor listener, being awkward. I got frustrated, I could not concentrate, eventually I was fired. I needed a more structured, behind-the-scenes job.
At times, I can appear non-autistic because one-on-one, I can function almost as a non-autistic person. But social situations over a half hour with very sharp people can expose my condition, which happened to me.
I really don't want to feel like a victim. I just have to find my role given the way my brain is wired. I can find opportunities that others don't see or bother with, and take as long as necessary to get the work done, with alienbeing.org as an example.
I mourn the loss of people due to violent acts due to guns or bombs or other causes. Parents of autistic/Aspergers children should not be encouraged to own weapons - focus on other stuff.