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Marc Segar 1974-1997


A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Syndrome

Getting the Best from This Book

  • Not everyone will understand everything in this book straight away but if something doesn't make sense at first then it might make more sense if you skip it and come back to it later.
  • This is a book designed to make you aware of the many unwritten rules which most people instinctively know and take for granted.
  • When people disobey these unwritten rules, sometimes they get away with it, but usually they who break informal rules are made to suffer informal punishments. These punishments may include being laughed at, being treated as a less important person or being isolated.
  • The most difficult thing about being autistic (or having Asperger syndrome) is that so many people expect you to know these rules and live by them, as they do, even though no-one has told you what these rules are. There is no doubt that this is extremely unfair, but unfortunately most people don't see it this way because they don't understand the problem.
  • If you, yourself, are having trouble accepting that you are autistic(or have Asperger syndrome), you could be making things even more difficult for yourself. Accepting such a thing will not only help you to get the most out of this book but may also allow you to forgive yourself for things you might be doing wrong and take away some of the pain which can only be holding you back.
  • Usually, there is an unwritten rule against talking about unwritten rules in public, but it is normally all right to talk about them with parents, teachers, counsellors or friends when they are on their own.
  • With many of these rules, you are likely to want them explained to you. Unfortunately, not all of them can be explained without moving away from what is important to the aims of this book. Also, many people are able follow the rules in this book perfectly but are not even consciously aware of them.
  • If you are so busy questioning these rules that you cannot put them into practise, you might not be getting the best from this book. However, there is no harm in spending some of your time questioning them.
  • Some unwritten rules, I have been unable to include, either because they are too vague and depend too much on the situation, or because I may not yet have discovered them myself.
  • When you have read this book, you might think that these are the rules to a rather silly game, but the game is life and the rules cannot be changed.
  • The problem with the game of life is that every situation is slightly different. Some things might be suitable in some situations but not in others. This book cannot tell you how to respond in every situation but can only set you guide-lines.
  • Autistic people tend to remember detail, non-autistic people tend to remember plot. Plot closely accompanies the detective work which enables most people to learn the unwritten rules of society which are covered in this book.
  • You may know some or many of the rules shown in this book already. None the less, they must still be included for people who might not yet know them.
  • Sometimes, certain people might give you advice and criticisms which you find slightly patronising, pedantic or unimportant. This might often cause you to want to rebel, but you could in fact be rebelling against the very things which are to be most helpful to you.
  • Remember that this book has been written partly on the basis of my own personal experience and that what is right for me doesn't always have to be what's right for someone else.
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