Alex Lowery speaks about autism

Are people with Aspergers/autism chatterboxes or super quiet?

Written on 22nd Feb 2017 by Alex Lowery

There are people who have rather fixed ideas as to how talkative or quiet a person on the autism spectrum is. In this article, I will be writing about this. I will also be discussing what has sometimes been believed to be one of the main differences between Aspergers and regular autism. Now, before I continue… I will say that I am aware that the diagnosis of Aspergers (in the USA at least, and does seem to be being brought over here) is no longer autism spectrum canon. And rather most types of ASD have all been brought under the one diagnosis of ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ which I for one am mostly in favour for. However, Aspergers is still a term a lot of people use, so it is something I will be bringing into this article. In most of my articles I use the word ‘autism’ to refer to people all over the spectrum, but I want to discuss possibly believed differences here.

Everyone apart from Alex felt self conscious. After a little while the conversation flowed.

You’ll often hear that people on the autism spectrum are very quiet and shy. This can be the case but it is from “always” the case. I’ve also heard people say that those with ‘Aspergers Syndrome’ specifically tend to talk too much to the point where they bore other people. I remember being told this when I was in my pre teens to early teens and as a result, I basically got it into my head that the difference between Aspergers and regular autism was that people with Aspergers were chatterboxes (that spoke so much that they annoyed everyone) and people with regular autism were really shy and quiet individuals. I think I even got it into my head that talking too much was essentially what Aspergers was. I’d see a chatterbox and start thinking “Oh, I think so and so has Asperger!”

Of course I now know that is far from the case. While, I can say that those with a diagnosis of Classic autism or HFA are probably more likely to be quiet than those with an AS diagnosis. And those with an AS diagnosis are more likely to be chatty (since most experts tend to agree that there is (generally speaking) more of a desire for friendships, relationships and general socialisation in Aspergers than in general autism)… It certainly is not as black and white as that, nor is that the key difference between the two. I have known people with an AS diagnosis who are very quiet and withdrawn and there are also those who had an autism diagnosis (before they were brought under the one diagnosis this is) who are super talkative. I’ve even seen those with Profound Non-Verbal autism who love to be around people and are even sociable despite being unable to talk.

The thing is when it comes to the autism spectrum (and by now I’m including all types of autism along with Aspergers) some people are very talkative and others aren’t. It is also a mistake to believe that if someone is talkative, that must mean they’re “sociable”. No it doesn’t. I mean, it really doesn’t! You might find this ironic but you can actually be very chatty but still be unsociable.

To be Sociable means you’re outgoing. You go out of your way to talk to people and you like having opportunities to interact. There are people on the autism spectrum that may not be so much outgoing but still talk in great detail about things they’re interested in and when they talk, they talk a lot. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want time to themselves though, or that they’ll be ‘sociable’ in day-to-day social settings.

I myself have an autism diagnosis, not an Aspergers diagnosis. I am also a Public Speaker and awareness trainer on the subject of the autism spectrum. A lot of people assume (because of my job) I must be a super outgoing person with loads of friends. But I’m not! I mean, I’m really not! I don’t find social interaction easy at all and I have rather few friends. In fact I’m not even sure I want really close friends because I like to have a lot of time to myself.

However, I for one can fit into both the categories I brought up earlier. I can both talk a lot and very little. I’m basically someone who will only talk when I have something necessary to say. I also find that when I do have something to say, I feel the need to say it. In these instances I can talk too much. I can talk with a loud voice and in great detail. It doesn’t feel right when I don’t get to say what I desire to speak of. On the other side, when I don’t have anything to say, I can be the opposite. A.K.A… Painfully quiet! Conversations can also be really one sided (from the person I’m speaking to) when I have nothing to say. This is why I prefer to have conversations about subjects of interest then I can talk for a long time.

So in reality, like everything with autism… How talkative or quiet an individual on the spectrum is will depend greatly on the person, and this can be applicable to both regular autism and Asperger Syndrome. You don’t have to fit into either category to be autistic either. There are people on the spectrum who full somewhere in the middle. I hope you enjoyed this article.

 

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One thought on “Are people with Aspergers/autism chatterboxes or super quiet?

  1. Patrick Bailey says:

    A very enlightening article Alex, I look forward to boring you tomorrow.

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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