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Featured Should I take a "social skills" class?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Ender, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Ender

    Ender Unemployed Philosopher

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    Recently an opportunity has arisen where I could be able to take a social skills class with other similarly aged (though mostly younger) students. It wil meet bi-weekly.

    However, the time of the class interferes with what I normally do in the evenings, which is swim. Changing my swim time is not an option as I'm part of a programme with a set schedule every day. So this leaves me with having to miss a practice (which I really don't want to do) if I were going to take this class.

    But I feel like I should take the class. I mean, it's a heaven send for an Aspie. Who is just offered a free class on social skills, by nice people nonetheless?

    I guess what I am asking is this: what would you do in my situation?
     
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  2. xudo

    xudo something and nothing

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    If it was actually me, I wouldn't go near it. However it's not me, and if I were you, then I'd do it. I mean, you could go to the first one and think "this isn't for me/what I was expecting" and then you've only missed one practice.
     
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  3. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member

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    Hi there!

    Well, in truth, when I was very young, I was dreadful with social skills, but now, as a mature person, I realised that I self learned social skills and now, even though, still terrible with certain aspects of social life, I can read facial expressions now; in fact, too well!

    Perhaps it is the difference between ones who learned about aspergers in their childhood and those in later life!

    I know that is not answering your question, but in truth, there is no answer, because it has to be your decision. Just that one can learn by experience.
     
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  4. Southern Discomfort

    Southern Discomfort Smarter than the Average Bear V.I.P Member

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    How long was it last? Is it a couple of months?
     
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  5. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I would take the class. If these classes help you, it could improve some aspects of your life permanently. If it turns out not to be your thing, you'll have missed some swim practice but at least you'll have tried.
     
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  6. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    I suppose it depends on your abilities, limitations and ultimate expectations that you might actually get out of such a course. In my own case, my ability to mask my traits and behaviors to appear Neurotypical is neurologically limited on multiple levels.

    No matter how much I quantitatively try to learn of their behaviors and social responses, my ability to project them remains limited largely based on time. That I can fake it only so long before I become mentally and emotionally exhausted. It's an inherent aspect of my "hard-wired" neurology, whether I like it or not.

    For me, if I could take and succeed in such a course it wouldn't be a "godsend". It would just mean that I likely wasn't on the spectrum of autism to begin with. My reality remains that while I may take and pass a class in social skills, it doesn't mean that such knowledge allows me to actually be truly "social".

    Something to think about, as to whether this may or may not apply to you.
     
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  7. WittyAspie

    WittyAspie The One And Only V.I.P Member

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    It sounds like a great opportunity. Would you be able to swim before or after the class? You may not be able to attend practice, but would you be able to practice on your own?
     
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  8. Ender

    Ender Unemployed Philosopher

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    I see what you are saying. This is part of what has crossed my mind - whether it would actually help or if it's something that would be a moot attempt.

    On my own I think I've made substantial progress. A few years ago I bought a book on body language and try to observe and categorize what people are thinking based on that information. But overall the way I socialize is formulaic and not organic.

    Taking a class would doubtless make me uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. And true, Judge, knowing social skills does not equate to being fluidly social as an NT person is. Where for them, thinking up conversational topics or being a little awkward is a normal stepping stone into better socialization, it is not the same for one with ASD who lacks the inherent programming.

    Aside from books on body language, I've read countless articles and books on etiquette to learn the theory behind interaction. So I don't think I'm lacking in theory, just in practice everything is different and unpredictable. And I'm not sure how much a class could help in that respect...

    Hmm, something to think about I suppose.
     
  9. Darthsuhtek

    Darthsuhtek New Member

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    Go to a session of the class to see how it is, if that's possible.
     
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  10. FreeDiver

    FreeDiver How long can you hold your breath? V.I.P Member

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    I guess you'll never really know until you try. But here's some of the problems you might have with such a class. First of all, it's more about culture and etiquette base social skills rather than the base skills. Which is what you really need. It would be a lot like going to college for social skill when you haven't even gotten out of kindergarten yet.
     
  11. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    I see. That's a start. So it's really the practicality of real-time interaction in class that you seek. Not the information, per se. To hopefully attempt socialization in a real-world, real-time manner that is organic and not formulaic.

    As long as you understand that most any classroom environment is generally a structured and limited one socially speaking. Even if the class is about socialization in theory- and practice.

    Might be beneficial for you as a start, as long as you don't envision this as anything beyond just that. And to accept that there will be many more precarious and spontaneous real-time interactions with others well outside the classroom. And above all that whatever insurmountable limitations you have or discover in the process likely reflect your neurology rather than a failed desire to succeed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  12. kris

    kris Well-Known Member

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    I've never been to a social skills class, but like you, I read a bunch of books after learning about my aspergers a couple years ago. I think I've improved a ton, but it's still not at all natural... and it makes me very tired the next day like if I have to go to a party or something. I think it's pretty common for aspies to learn social skills from example and repetition. It's not intuitive like it apparently is for NT's

    If it's possible to try one class and quit if you don't like it, I'd go to the first one. If it would put you in a bad position to quit if you hate it, I don't think I'd commit. My gut feeling is you've probably already learned all the class will teach from books. And if it's practice you're after, no better place than the real world ;)
     
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  13. rx7chick

    rx7chick Well-Known Member

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    Ender, absolutely take the class! I took the EST training back in the earlyt 80s and along with it their communication workshop. It was the best thing I ever did because I was able to learn in a no pressure situation, as in no family members or friends present, all the skills I was missing. I learned so much that I have been able to act neurotypical when it's required, like work, surprise social situation, and even overcame many of my challenges. I can't vouch for your class as I know nothing about it, but for my part, it was one of the most personally helpful things I ever did. You can never go wrong investing in yourself and your education. Even if you come away disappointed, you will still come away with something that may help you in the long run.
     
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  14. toothless

    toothless this is mr shadow,my support cat

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    i think it would be well worth it to at least try the class or speak to the person who runs it.
    it would help make your life a bit easier.
     
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  15. Diagnosed2015

    Diagnosed2015 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My activism since my diagnosis, has been to reach out to those (young adults) who lack social skills or friends, or have questions, etc.

    I have thought about posting on YouTube or somewhere to discuss various social issues, or answer specific questions -- many which are specific to individuals.

    If it were me, I'd gather as much information as possible about both opportunities. I'd probably create a spreadsheet or a list of pros and cons. Before starting the list, for example, speak to your swin coach, if you have to. Are you missing practices or meets? If it's practices, perhaps you'd be allowed to "make up" a practice session so you could attend the course. Speaking with your coach might be beneficial, because he might also be able to offer suggestions or possible alternatives to your schedule.

    Once you have his input, find out details of the other class. Find others who might have taken it (if it has been offered before) and see how they feel about it. I facility support meetings every month, and I can say that people who arrive, whether or not they are specifically engaged, come away feeling better than when they came in.

    As you said, this is a once in a lifetime (or a long time) opportunity; I'd think even your coach might encourage you to go.

    Good luck!
     
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  16. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Suzanne is right: you risk being only too aware of what everyone is feeling. As for me, though I do believe knowledge is power and that it's better to know than be ignorant, I sometimes wish I didn't have to see just how creeped out people are by me.

    The class is probably not about that. It is a sort of acting class. Your scenes are blocked, your dialogue scripted, and some of your lines will be improvised. It's practice we were denied as children, except those of us who were fortunate enough to have a friend or family member who was equally good at improvising.

    I guess I'd take the class, just to shake things up a bit.
     
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  17. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Neurotypicals bore me...

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    Frankly, I'm satisfied not having to learn to cynically mimic others' social behavior. You will not learn to be more social - you are not hard-wired for that. You will only learn to "pass" by playing neuro-normal. Aspies in a conversation take in 95% of the information through the spoken word. Neuro-normals take in about 7% to 10% from language and the rest from expressions, body language, etc. The areas of the brain that read expressions, microexpressions, and body language are truncated in us Aspies (usually dedicated to some savant talent(s), like chess, music, mathematics, programming, etc.). My Aspie sister first soloed on the piano with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy when she was 10 years old. No matter how "social" you learn to present yourself, there is not much you can do about the fact that you will still not read and understand body language and subtle expressions that others use in communications. As far as I'm concerned, I've always been much of a loner and outsider and like it that way. I can think of nothing more boring than to have to spend two hours at a cocktail party pretending to be what I am not.

    I am 68 and was finally diagnosed with Asperger's about 5 years ago. It didn't bother me, though it did explain clinically why much of my life followed the paths it did. BTW, from age 14 through 24 I was a daily pot smoker. Those years stand out because the marijuana erased virtually all of my Aspie symptoms. I had a lot of friends, including a number of very close ones, was out maybe 5 nights a week, was an integral member of a number of diverse social groups, even spent much of my non-school time as a professional guitar player in bands and recording studios. When I stopped smoking, I returned to normal (for me) and my social life faded mostly away. Since then, I've read that marijuana is perhaps the best medicinal drug for suppressing Aspergers' symptoms, followed by Adderall (a mixture of four different salts of methamphetamine). Go figure.

    I think is is much less stressful and anxiety-producing just to enjoy being who I am and let people take me (or not) as they please. I find enough self-validation not to need it by seeking acceptance from a bunch of neuro-normals sitting around talking sports or cars. My natural personality is just not a social one and trivial chatter just makes me want to pick up my guitar (which I have some savant talent for), read an ebook on cosmology or evolutionary brain development, or write some programming code (which I have a major savant talent for). I've never been lonely or bored being alone or with my wife and two or three close friends.

    If you could "cure" Aspergers with a single pill, I wouldn't take it. I like my life too much as it is and wouldn't trade my very satisfying technical savant skills for the brain wiring needed for decoding trivial social interactions.
     
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  18. GoofKing

    GoofKing All your bases are belong to us

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    I'd say take the opportunity or don't and go on to regret missing it. I think a few social skills would really benefit you myself :D I wish I had the opportunity to take a class, but my circumstances weren't all that great. It's totally up to you to take it or not but there might be a great opportunity to benefit you better in life.
     
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  19. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Neurotypicals bore me...

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    I appreciate your slightly snide comment, however I am turning 69, work remotely from my home in nice, warm Florida, and jam with several local first-rate musicians every weekend. I am very well adjusted to a highly satisfying life. I don't know how learning to imitate neuro-normals (like psychopaths classically do) is going to matter more than a gnat fart in a hurricane in my life. I have enough challenges and interests now to last me to 100 (not unreasonable in my family). After that, I'll just have to take it day by day.

    If I had been born neuro-normal, I might be charming (or whatever) with a cocktail and canape in my hands. But, I never would have had a chance to play with some of the best folk, rock, jazz fusion, and studio musicians in the country or spent 41 years earning obscene amounts of money programming as a consultant at the top of the field and getting to live all over the world in the process. That's thanks to the atypical brain wiring that lives where my social abilities would have been.
     
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  20. GoofKing

    GoofKing All your bases are belong to us

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    That's great and all and I'm real happy for you, but my comment wasn't even the least bit snidely nor was I talking to you, I was under the impression that I was replying to Ender, the OP. Sorry for the confusion.
     
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