If autism had a mantra, this might be it. One word in my vocabulary is used more than any other to help me understand my world.
I wonder if that question could become part of diagnosis tools for those who screen for autism?
When I was young, I remember I asked why until everybody was just sick of the question. It was considered challenging and belligerent as a response coming from a child. Why should I do this? Why did you do that? Why questions have always been a big part of my life. I have even met others who agree they love to ask and find the answers to why questions. (now I suspect some of those folks might be autistic too!)
“Why” is a quest for information and understanding.
“Why” questions are:
Looking for reasons, facts, patterns or rules behind the statement, request, or directions, behaviors in others.
Why questions look for basis of intent, factual information, structure, parameters, or something to anchor understanding of my world upon.
I do not understand much intuitively or by ‘reading’ physical signs of emotions
or seeing the “big picture” from things going on around me.
” Why” is an honest seeking for information to help me understand.
This is as true today as it was in my childhood.
I use that word “why” so many more times daily than any other word in my vocabulary.
I love to find people who want to ask the same questions about topics I am interested in, and to try to pick things apart to find the answers.
I love to ask trusted companions why that guy said or did something just now, or why the group thinks certain ways to proceed are proper.
Why was that lady offended or angry when I said or did (whatever it was- I do this a lot!) ???
Many times I do not have a companion or a book or a therapist, a feedback or replay button to gain more information.
I must struggle to find the answer to my “why “questions alone in order to make sense of my world.
If somebody asks you why, please interpret it as a search for deeper understanding, and not as a challenge to your authority, your status, your person in any way.
If it comes from an autistic person, please understand that WHY is my most powerful tool to use with others to help my comprehension and fill in the blanks missing with my sometimes impeded processing of the information available to others just by observation.
I do wonder if a person screening for autism, especially in older people , might find a way to see if the very frequent use of the word “why” is common to the autistic population.