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Well-Known Member
Hey guys! I didn't know where to post this so here I go. For a big project at my high school I'm going to do a 30 minute simulation/game about autism so people know what it's like. I have Asperger's so I know what it's like already. I was thinking of doing an obstacle course of some sort of having people try to complete a worksheet with loud headphones on or something.

Any ideas? I'm really open to anything! I can't seem to find any simulations online and would love the help.
I took a social work class way back when, and we did an activity that I think demonstrates well part of the experience of having aspergers. It was kind of a game. I don't remember all the details, but the essence is this.

Divide the class into two groups. Take one group to a different room. Each group is taught how to play a particular social game by a particular set of rules.

One group is taught to focus on smiling a lot at each other, touch each other a lot, give lots of compliments, talk softly, ask about family members, that kind of thing. It's not a competition...it's about not offending anyone.

The other group is taught how to play a trading competition. They have cards of different values, and their task is to barter for higher value cards. But they can't use regular English. They had to use a code language to ask for what they wanted and to offer what they have to trade. I don't remember all the rules, so you'd have to make up something. But there were restrictions--like, don't touch each other, don't smile because you might give away your weakness in trade, stay focused on the trade business, talk firmly and clearly, and don't talk about anything else. If you break a rule, someone can demand one of your cards, that kind of thing.

Give both groups several minutes to practice their rules so they really get settled into the process.

Then take two ambassadors from each group and trade places and watch what happens. They're each playing by a completely different set of rules that are actually in conflict with one another. What works in one group is offensive to the other. Give the ambassadors about 5-10 minutes to flounder in the other group, and see if they can figure out how to adapt...don't give them long enough to master the other group's rules, just long enough to feel overwhelmed and start to realize that they're playing by different rules.

Then rotate through so everyone in each group has a chance to be an ambassador to the other group for a few minutes.

Then come back together and talk about the experience. It was fascinating to all of us to realize how disconcerting it was to be thrown into a group of people where you're acting from a different set of rules. The purpose of the game was to understand how people from different cultures have a hard time understanding each other, and how easy it is to get offended over things that weren't intended to be offensive...we're just operating from the unspoken rules of our respective cultures.

But this activity has been just as insightful to me, personally, as I'm learning about why autism has made interaction with people so difficult for me. I really am operating from a different paradigm. So it doesn't have to be a disability, so much as simply learning the rules of the mainstream culture while still respecting my own, authentic nature.
One I did to one publicist I had that just didn't get it at all was I gave her an earpiece which I had control of, then asked her to put an earplug in the other ear, then do her job with only the earpiece I could control for a source of hearing. I'd randomly turn it off so that she missed important bits of conversations and phone calls. Naturally she replied with things that embarrassed her or upset the person she was talking to and, got very frustrated with trying to communicate with only part of the information she needed.

After an hour, I let her remove the earpiece and ear plug. She got it after that and understood why I need a listener that can feed me the right words in interviews if my brain fails to process something correctly or quickly enough.

Maybe you could adapt that and have one person say only some words but mouth the rest silently, then have the others try to make heads or tails of the discussion and participate accurately and actively with missing information. Not quite what happens to us, but it does help them understand what it feels like when we have verbal processing problems.
One I posted elsewhere... (but corrected)
Long before I became aware of aspergers, I felt that while I seemed to think slower than others, it wasn't that I was inherently slow - it was just that I was processing much more information, and maybe to a deeper level, than others.

I recently attended a conference where a presenter illustrated life for someone on the autism spectrum by asking attendees to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but without using the letter 'n'.

I thought this was a great illustration of the extra degree of processing that goes on....
Thanks a lot for the help! I finally thought of a simulation I'm pretty excited about thanks to everyone here. :)
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