what I learned while rock hunting
I have written about how useful it has been for me to use the internet to find connections with like minds. I joined a local forum group of rock hunters a few years ago, and have developed internet relationships with some of the members. Some of us like to find the same things, some of us like to research and share info, others seem more interested in other stuff. With a forum having thousands of members, there is a lot to sort.
I have discussed how as a branch-off from the internet group, local people gathered to follow our interests at local sites to hunt rocks, to share specimens, to explore our interest and activity together. I found others who wanted to skip the formal gatherings of large groups for meet and greet/dining etc… and just wanted a couple of buddies to look for similar kinds of rocks together.
Eventually it has filtered down to just a few local folks with similar interests and none of us drive more than a couple of hours to spend time together. Usually.
I have interacted with a teacher online for several months now and have admired his curiosity, his genuine interest in people, his desire to find certain specimens for his collections, his generosity in sharing with others, etc. He contacted me over one of my rock finds and said he was coming from several hours away to hunt for the same rocks. I expressed interest in meeting him to help him find what he was looking for.
This is the background story. Here is what he taught me, and I think it is valuable. I had not thought this out for myself, being autistic I sometimes need to have things explained to me which seem obvious to others. My internal thought and idea processing is not ‘standard equipment’ but relatively unique. I digress.
As we looked for rocks we talked, and he ( a teacher by trade) talked about other forum members and how he had sought them out to learn what they knew. He traveled long distances to meet people from the group to find out about the rocks and minerals/fossils etc that interested him and that he wanted for his collection. I suspect he was collecting people as well.
It dawned on me that he was teaching me how to make friends and showed me that I could take the initiative to reach out to others to find things in common. Light on in the attic!!!
I was grateful that he explained it, for I needed to know this badly. Others may have understood it intuitively, but I needed somebody else to point it out and explain it in order to understand.
Now I know I can find others of similar interests and ideas instead of waiting for random contacts
( or for them to reach out to me as my teacher did).
This is a tool I can use to move forward. I am so glad to know this, and so grateful for the explanation.
This is just one small example showing why parents need to explain absolutely everything to their autistic child.
No detail is too small, no action to simple to be ignored without explanation.
To me and to many other autistic folk, reasons behind other people’s behavior are hidden and complex, difficult to understand, or simply unknown and unseen… motivation is the most difficult thing for me to understand in any interaction with others.
Why does he ask that? what does she want me to do? What reaction is expected? What does that comment mean? Is it sarcastic, encouraging, meant to hurt, meant to be funny?
Help comes with detailed explanation. Knowing how to ask others to join me and ask them to teach me about what interests them will help me grow ideas, intellect, insights, and if I am lucky create a few new friendships as I go. How did I miss this??? ( autism)
What if somebody had explained this to me as a struggling teen 55 years ago (when the photo above was taken of me) ???
Thank you, my teacher, I am truly grateful for the insight!
what I learned while rock hunting