So, at about 3am this morning when I was trying to go back to sleep (after being woken by the plow backing up in the lot behind our house – why doesn’t St. John’s believe in soundproofing houses?!), I remembered where I meant to take yesterday’s post on brooding. Scripting!
(Note that in this case, I’m really talking about a specific subdivision of scripting: putting together something in your own words, rather than either copying someone else’s – still a valid form of communication – or repeating a set of words and actions over and over, to either deal with something or because it’s a comfortable routine, for whatever reason, or any other reason that one might do that. There are bound to be other reasons out there. :))
If you’ve read yesterday’s post, I’m sure you can see the connection – the whole going over and over in your mind what you want to say, and what you expect the responses to be.
It’s something that I suspect all humans do, whether consciously or not (after all, what is the “Hi, how are you?” “I’m fine, what about you?” “I’m fine too.” but a social script?), but the need for it tends to be more obvious for autistics. And introverts, as it happens – introverts have slightly different brain wiring that extroverts, in terms of responding to communications, that means it can take introverts up to a minute to respond to something that an extrovert might respond to immediately. When you’ve got both the autism – making it difficult to choose words, to know how other people will react, sometimes to even physically form the words – and introversion (because not all autistics are introverts – take a look at Diary of a Mom’s Brooke, who from all descriptions seems to be very much an extrovert), it can make things even harder.
So, the usual result of that sort of uncertainty of how things will happen in a social situation is to script out what you plan to say, or various possible things to say. I go over them in my head (thus the Thinking, Overthinking, and Brooding), but I know of others who will recite them out loud (see links below).
Assuming all goes well, your script will help keep you afloat on the seas of the confusion of social interaction. Of course, if what you’re scripting for is a presentation of some sort, you’re even better off, because that way there’s not as much actual interaction to worry about.
Unfortunately, scripts don’t always work. (For an example, see the first post from Musings of an Aspie below.) Whether it’s because someone says something unexpected, or the conversation in general gets redirected, or the topic you thought that you were going to be discussing just doesn’t get raised, sometimes even having a script can end up leaving you “high and dry” (to continue my sea of social interaction analogy).
For me, when that happens, I turn into a “wallflower”. I usually leave the group and go sit (or stand) somewhere else, usually alone but sometimes if I’ve got a close friend who’s attending, or a family member, I’ll go hover around them. Rather than continue my scripts which aren’t working, I tend to shut down. But I think that’s partly because I don’t usually script (consciously, at least) for minor interactions – those are something that I learned the “social rules for” when I was younger. When I’m scripting something consciously, it’s generally “bigger” than that: an attempt at self advocacy, or pointing something out to someone, or asking for help, or trying to describe an issue I’m having – things like that.
What do you tend to use scripting for, and what happens if it fails – or suceeds? Let’s talk about it!
Some links to other posts about scripting, all types:
- Emma’s Hope Book: Scripts – A Communication Bridge
- Musings of an Aspie: Echolalia and Scripting: Straddling the Border of Functional Language
- Musings of an Aspie: Echolalia: That’s What She Said (especially looking at the types of non-interactive echolalia #2 – rehearsal)
- Diary of a Mom: Of Scripts and Bras
- M.O.M. – Not Otherwise Specified: Dr Strangetalk or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Echolalia