Appearing to having a disregard for people in authority is a major clue that someone is on the autistic spectrum. If you think that must include all individuals who regularly misbehave, then yes, those are the numbers we are talking about, that potentially have ASD.
This symptom also inlcudes resenting being told what to do. It is related to being pragmatic. If the person affected is unable to see the point in doing something, it won’t matter how high up on the food chain you are; they won’t want to do it.
It is nearly always categorized as being disrespectful of others. But that’s simply not the case; people on the Autistic Spectrum can and do respect people immensely. But there has to be a good reason for that respect, and not just because you say so!
Autistic Spectrum kids are actually very fair. They have a strong sense of justice, and are very sensitive to injustice. So if you are a parent or teacher for example, and you want them to do something, all you have to do is explain to them why you want them to do it. This might sound over-simplified, but the number of times I have been asked to do something without an explanation, is huge. Not only do you often not get an explanation, but you are expected to read people’s minds as well. This happens a lot in the workplace as well as school.
Let’s use new website software as an example in a classroom. If a teacher says “Click here”, then “select Slick019 here”, and so on, unless it is apparent why they have to do that, the child will not be able to remember for next time, and so will end up back at the beginning in the next lesson. So they don’t see the point of following the steps. But if the teacher explains “Click here to get the Template box up, that allows you to choose the style of your website”, then “Now select the template you want to work with; let’s choose Slick019 for now”, the child will be less likely to forget what they have been shown, and they will see the value in doing each step. This will make them want to do it for themselves, rather than watch someone else do it, or worse; be told to do each step without understanding why.
You can’t fob them off with a half-hearted explanation such as; “Because I want you to!”
It has to be a thorough explanation, that gives them information they did not know prior to you telling them.
And you can’t lie. High functioning autistic kids and adults are human lie-detectors. Despite many having limited social skills, they can spot a liar nine times out of ten. Not only will they refuse to do what you asked them, but they will refuse to trust you again. So don’t insult them by lying.
With the autistic child, they have to be shown respect before they can give it. But once they are shown it, they will not only be respectful, but very loyal – providing you prove not to ultimately have feet of clay.
Giving a full explanation also sometimes works for when you want the child to stop doing something too. And getting into the habit of giving full explanations makes you better at giving instruction over time. It makes you a better teacher.
But some more stubborn kids will hate being told what to do, no matter what. This is related to ego and pride. They are happy to do anything, just as long as it was their idea to begin with. The trick is to let them believe it was their idea.
So you have to use clever wording in a roundabout way to make them think that. This is not the same as lying. It is Copywriting. Advertisers do it to us all every day – every 10 minutes if you watch a lot of TV!
But the result will be that they won’t see the situation as being told what to do. So their pride will remain intact. In fact if you can get them to think it was their idea, without lying, it might be so effective that they end up becomeing obsessed with it!
In the case of the website software, you have to tell them about the ultimate benefits of using the software (NOT the features, unless they ask about them). You glorify the end result and pile on the benefits so it sounds like the most amazing thing to have, and actually makes them feel left out if they don’t have it. Then you just wait for them to think about it, and if you made it sound awesome, they will tell you they want to use it.
Then you can use the full explanation method, or you might not need to. In some cases, they will run ahead and teach themselves the software, they’ll be so eager to get started!
So a child (or adult) having a Disregard for Authority is often simply due to poor communication. Sadly, because people on the autistic spectrum often get into trouble for being defiant or disruptive, the people around them who are in authority grow to disrespect them, and in turn they are also disrespected by the person with ASD.
As the autistic person is likely to be less emotionally intelligent, it is they that need to be shown respect first in order to correct the imbalance, but it will be worth the sacrifice and gritted teeth in the end!