Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Mild Social Learning Disability

Originally posted on April 13, 2018

f I’m so smart, why am I so dense? I have a little bit of social learning disability, a term I used for a borderline form of mild Asperger’s disorder. It’s enough so that I annoy people who think that I’m ignoring their feelings when really I mis-perceive or really fail to perceive those unspoken-about levels of interpersonal transaction. I sincerely don’t want to hurt them!  It is rather subtle, but most people assume that others get it, are “sensitive” to others’ feelings. They expect that level of tact and assume that everyone else is sensitive at that unspoken level too. So if there’s hurt, it’s intentional. But it isn’t!

I have avoided leadership roles for this reason. I known that being a bit Asperger’s—just a bit—I would  piss so many people off that I would be widely irritating. In turn, I’d be bewildered, because I was trying, Lord knows, can’t they see I was trying?

Whew! Running for office, even if I won, the status would not be worth it!! It occurred to me then that few if anyone knows about being a "bit" Asperger’s, a bit of social learning disability— but there should be. I miss a fair percentage of social cues, but get enough so that people think I’m normal, so they get angry that I miss what seem like obvious hints. They don’t think I miss perceiving their cues, though; they think i ignore them, which insults them. But truth it I miss them, don’t see the cues.

It occurs to me that subtle or partial social learning disability accounts for some percentage of the hurt feelings generated in the world. Then I thought, to what degree do we blame public figures for not caring, versus sympathize that they have no idea that they are perceived that way.


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