Pragmatic – ASD Symptom

A lot of people with Aspergers and other autistic spectrum disorders are unable to see the point in doing anything unless they first know the reasons why. Pragmatic people are very inquisitive, and sometimes this is endearing. And sometimes it is exasperating.

It can cause a lot of friction between parents and children at times, because many parents think they can teach their kids stuff and the children will just get on and do it, without question.

A person’s pragmatism can cause them to spend way too much time on things that everyone else can whizz through, or to fill in forms incompletely (because they don’t see the point in some of the questions). Or instead of answering the question, stating (often in an unofficial space) that the question doesn’t make any sense. (I’m particularly proned to that one, though I’ve got a lot better with age).

If shown how to do something, such as in the training for a job for example, they will often want to do the job their own way. I once got into trouble in a bar job while at college, because I did the cleaning in a different order to how the boss showed me. My response was that the bar was clean, so what did she care how it got done? That didn’t warm her to me any further.

Most Aspergers suffers are pragmatists, and it is because of their pragmatism that they are often unable to tolerate small-talk and pleasantries. Many aspies feel that communication is merely the transference of data from one human to another! One example of this intolerance, that I hear from people a lot of the time, is the phrase “Hi, how are you?” when used in place of “Hi” or “Hello”. The person asking hardly ever wants to hear a literal answer, and the only correct response is; “Fine thanks, how are you?” This is simply a waste of time and syllables to the pragmatist!

The pragmatist is of course also the eternal pedant, which drives everyone around them crazy, but if they apply themselves with passion to their work, they will likely earn respect, as they are more likely to find and challenge important things that others miss. Or when a news story comes out highlighting a scientific experiment, an autistical person might, instead of accepting the findings, prefer to challenge the validity of the findings because of x, y and z.

The pragmatist likes to think things through before taking action. When shopping, they will spend a lot of time finding the best value for money. And they will find the safest product with the least likelyhood of malfunctioning, after reading, not some of the many reviews, but all of them.

Autistic Savants are almost always highly critical, pedantic pragmatists, and will only accept a fact that has been proven to their own satisfaction. They will seldom just take someone’s word for it.

I was no genius at school, but my hand was always up, because in my mind I still had not been told the whole story. To the point that other kids would mimic me and pre-empt my words:

“But WHY?”

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