Those with autism spectrum disorder do not necessarily communicate like neurotypical people and this can result in a misunderstanding.
There's no question that communication is an integral part of our day-to-day lives. It's a crucial part of our lives at home, work and in public. Over the years, communication has developed and evolved to the point that there are communication traits that are considered standard and accepted across all walks of life, especially by neurotypical people (people who are not autistic). But, it is important to note that what might be "standard" for a majority of people are not necessarily for many others. This is particularly true in the case of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Those with ASD have trouble understanding body language, social cues, exaggeration and cultural cues and this can be perceived wrongly by neurotypical people. This often leads to miscommunication and, in the majority of cases, it's the person with ASD who bears the consequences.
Yuri is a transmasc person and has ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and ASD. Yuri realized that his neurotypical colleagues were misreading most of their interactions and he was coming across as a rude person, which he was not. He decided to educate his neurotypical colleagues and posted a note on his desk so there wouldn't be any misunderstanding during their interaction with him. This was after his manager "booked for a disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator.” If anything, his manager needed to be educated. Yuri shared the note on TikTok where it went viral, garnering more than 2.4 million views and 345,000 likes. "I made an autism sign at work bc I got booked in a disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator," he captioned the video. The note read:
I prefer direct, literal, and detailed communication
If I am:
Not making eye contact
Not greeting you back
Not understanding your social cues, etc.
There is no malicious intent. It is the autism.
Thank you for understanding.
Yuri's note sparked a discussion in the comments section about similar issues those on the autism spectrum faced at the workplace or otherwise. "I’ve learned that when neurotypical people say they think I communicate poorly, they really mean that I’m just responding differently than they would," wrote one person. "My coworker told me 'you need to work on your people skills.' Sir, I am masking hard, this is as good as it gets," another added. "I got called out for 'needing to have my hand held' when really I just needed clear instructions/direct communication so I knew I was doing the job right," commented another user. One user wrote, "Not me being told I have "negative body language" and being reprimanded for not saying "good morning" every single day."
One user wrote, "I got pulled into the office for “isolating myself” and people were “worried” I was just sitting in a different break room for some quiet time." One person suggested everyone should adopt this style of communication. "I don’t understand why people choose anything except direct, literal, and detailed communication though. It’s so much better that way." Another user noted, "The 'not greeting you' thing is so relatable. I don’t get the point of saying hi to ppl. Like yes, I see you, I see you every day." Another added, "Neurotypical people really think I’m being “odd” for not including superfluous fluff in every email/greeting. The work-day is 4 extra hours long." Yuri's message is a great example of neurotypical people not being inclusive enough and misunderstanding him.