We love this fun tweet on the five neurodivergent love locutions from the always insightful Myth.
Emotional bids are the pixels of relationship communications and are important to relationship accommodations. This list is much about recognizing and meeting some common neurodivergent emotional bids in relationships, thus the phrase “love locutions”.
Note: This piece originally used the phrase “love languages”. Despite the popularity of the term, we have opted for “love locutions” to distance from the emotionally abusive and heteronormative history of the book “The Five Love Languages”.
We’ll expand on each “love locution” with selected quotes, images, and videos.
Gottman refers to bids as “the fundamental unit of emotional communication.” Bids can be small or big, verbal or nonverbal. They’re requests to connect.
Bids are often purposely subtle because people are afraid to be vulnerable and put themselves out there. It’s scary to say, “Hey! I want to connect! Pay attention to me!” so instead, we ask a question or tell a story or offer our hand for connection. We hope we’ll receive connection in return, but if not, it’s less scary than pleading, “Connect with me, please!”Want to Improve Your Relationship? Start Paying More Attention to Bids
- Prelude: Strange Astrology
- Parallel Play, Body Doubling
- Support Swapping, Sharing Spoons
- Deep Pressure: Please Crush My Soul Back Into My Body
- Penguin Pebbling: “I found this cool rock, button, leaf, etc. and thought you would like it”
- Neurodivergent Love Locutions and Teamwork
- Spiky Profiles
- Reframe Neurodivergence
- Support Myth
- Need Support?
Prelude: Strange Astrology
I like them spooky and you're just my style Said the Leo to the Taurus And if you’d like to stay with me awhile I'll cover us with forest We can stroll across a magic land It's green and it is glowing Lay our bodies in the moss and sand We know and we are knowing
“Strange Astrology” is one of the only proper love songs I’ve ever written. It’s an honest exploration of what it means to love someone who is intrinsically different than you. It’s about hoping that those juxtaposing qualities and instincts encourage meaningful growth instead of chaos, but knowing that inevitably it will always be a bit of both.FLOOD – Slothrust Break Down Their Spiritual New LP “Parallel Timeline” Track by Track
Cause some have been asking: Infodumping: talking about an interest or passion of yours and thus sharing information, usually in detail and at length@neurowonderful
SpIns and Infodumps
I don’t know who invented the phrase “special interest.” Probably some researcher. Autistic people don’t really love the term because the term “special” has become tied so closely with terms like “special needs,” which we resent.
Nevertheless, somewhere down the line “special interest,” commonly shortened to SpIn (“spin”), became the term for the characteristically-autistic tendency to develop an obsession with something specific and often obscure.
Some special interests are short lived, and some last the lifetime of the person; but, however long they last, they are intense, delightful, and a vital part of autistic culture.
So integral are special interests to autistic culture that autistic people will post about feeling depressed and unmotivated because they don’t have an active SpIn at the moment.
It is also quite acceptable in autistic culture to “infodump” on a topic whenever it happens to come up. To autists (an insider short-hand for autistic people), the sharing of knowledge and information is always welcome.7 Cool Aspects of Autistic Culture » NeuroClastic
Parallel Play, Body Doubling
Parallel play: some people call this being alone together, as in when you’re both reading your own books in the same room, or one person is doing a puzzle while another plays a video game, etc. Just existing together counts too.@neurowonderful
I want to spend time in parallel existence with you; let’s be alone together.neurowonderful — neurowonderful: They’re here! Because you…
There’s something so nice about just existing in the same space with someone. Just getting to spend time with them and maybe you do something together or maybe you do homework while they play a game and you both have headphones on. There’s no expectations for anyone to do anything. It’s just nice to be there, no matter what happens.Colonel Meme – There’s something so nice about just existing in…
But in the world of ADHD, a body double is someone who sits with a person with ADHD as he tackles tasks that might be difficult to complete alone.
Many people with ADHD find it easier to stay focused on housework, homework, bill paying, and other tasks when someone else is around to keep them company. The body double may just sit quietly. He may read, listen to music on headphones, or work on the task that the person with ADHD is working on. Hard work is simply more fun when someone else is nearby.Getting Stuff Done Is Easier with a Friend
But why does a body double work? There are a few possible explanations. The simplest is that the body double serves as a physical anchor for the distracted individual who feels more focused by the presence of another person in their space. The distracted person feels responsible to and for the body double. This perception translates as-I can’t waste this gift of time.The Body Double: A Unique Tool for Getting Things Done | ADDA – Attention Deficit Disorder Association
But she wasn’t there to procrastinate. For an hour, Ms. Bee, a teacher in her 30s, live-streamed herself sorting the clothes on her account dedicated to ADHD: brainsandspoons. As the live stream went on, viewers jumped in to do their own laundry “with” her.
“Everybody was so encouraging,” said Ms. Bee, who learned she has ADHD as an adult. “It made it really feel like a group project, not just me by myself on camera. It definitely made the time go by faster.”
The ADHD community calls the practice “body doubling.”‘Body doubling,’ an ADHD productivity tool, is flourishing online | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If you imagine that an autistic kid at school is likely to be wrenched out of their attention tunnel multiple times every day, each time leading to disorientation and deep discomfort, you are on your way to understanding why school environments can be so stressful for many autistic students. If you can avoid contributing to that, you may find that you have an easier time with your autistic students: try entering into their attention tunnel when you can, rather than tugging them out of it. Parallel play is one powerful tool for this; start where the child is, show interest in what they’re focused on. If you do need to pull them out of whatever they’re focusing on, it’s best to give them a bit of time.Craft, Flow and Cognitive Styles
Support Swapping, Sharing Spoons
Support swapping: I don’t know if this is a widely used term. I used it to mean when ND people accomodate or support each other, like if I remind a friend hydrate and they ask me if I’ve taken my meds, or a friend helps me write an email and later I help them with homework, etc@neurowonderful
Neurodivergent people, working together, can fill the gaps in each other’s spiky profiles. Go team. Members of the Neurodiversity ERG at Automattic help each other out during synchronous, meatspace meetups, which can be very stressful.
Support swapping can happen during parallel play, making for a nice moment of converging love languages.
The people tell us what they need, and we find the person in the community who can meet that need.
A concept we have taken to calling “sharing spoons.”What are we working on now? 🥄 #onefreeapp #sharingspoons #communitysolutions #mutualaid (feat. @lindsaymakesvideos)
What is mutual aid?
“Solidarity, not charity.”
Collective Community Care: Dreaming of Futures in Autistic Mutual Aid
- Interdependence, understanding and support
- Gives opportunity to help & care for other in on our own terms and within our own capacities
- Direct support in a community within a community
- It’s much easier to practice asking, offering, receiving, and declining among people who “get it”!
Moving from a rights-based perspective to a justice-based one necessitates a look at our care systems and re-envisioning how our communities function to ensure no one is left behind.Collective Community Care: Dreaming of Futures in Autistic Mutual Aid, Autscape: 2020 Presentations
Deep Pressure: Please Crush My Soul Back Into My Body
A famous example of the common autistic preference for deep pressure input is Temple Grandin’s Squeeze Machine.
At age 18, I constructed the squeeze machine to help calm down the anxiety and panic attacks. Using the machine for 15 minutes would reduce my anxiety for up to 45-60 minutes (Grandin and Scariano 1986). The relaxing effect was maximized if the machine was used twice a day.
Gradually, my tolerance of being held by the squeeze machine grew. Knowing that I could initiate the pressure, and stop it if the stimulation became too intense, helped me to reduce the oversensitivity of my “nervous system.” A once overwhelming stimulus was now a pleasurable experience.
Using the machine enabled me to learn to tolerate being touched by another person. By age 25, I was able to relax in the machine without pulling away from it. It also made me feel less aggressive and less tense. Soon I noted a change in our cat’s reaction to me. The cat, who used to run away from me now would stay with me, because I had learned to caress him with a gentler touch. I had to be comforted myself before I could give comfort to the cat.
As my “nervous system” calmed down, I required less squeeze pressure to produce a comforting feeling. Gradually, I could reduce the pressure regulator setting from 80 to 60 psi.Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals
But I’m tortured because whilst I don’t want to make a scene or have strangers adding to the overload and overwhelm, I’m simultaneously desperate for someone to give me a massive, firm, bear-hug. To hide me, cocoon me, and shield me from the shock waves that travel from their universe into mine.On meltdowns | The Misadventures of Mama Pineapple
I can think of no logical reasons why swaddles should just be for babies because they are super helpful.
They’re like a hug without physical contact. That’s amazing!soundoftheforest
Penguin Pebbling: “I found this cool rock, button, leaf, etc. and thought you would like it”
Penguin Pebbling gets back to SpIns, both inviting people into yours and encouraging other’s. SpIns are a trove for unconventional gift giving.
Neurodivergent Love Locutions and Teamwork
Infodumping, parallel play, support swapping, and penguin pebbling are locutions of teamwork and collaboration too, especially in distributed work cultures and “communication is oxygen” cultures. If only there were a distributed and work-appropriate equivalent for “Please Crush My Soul Back Into My Body”.
Appreciate the strange astrology of our spiky profiles coming together.
Join the Randimals in learning about spiky profiles.
“What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world.”
And I don’t mind Our strange astrology I hope we find You bring the best out in me
Thanks for learning about neurodivergent love locutions with us. If you’ve got time, stick around and reframe. To understand neurodivergent people in relationships of any kind, we must reframe. We reframe disability and difference with our Four Pillars.
Staying alive is a lot of work for a disabled person in an ableist society. We provide real help against the onslaught through mutual aid. We believe that direct support to individuals is the most effective approach to alleviating the barriers and challenges that prevent neurodivergent and disabled people from thriving.
We pay creators to create. We fund art, advocacy, research, and more. We buy space to breathe and create.
Stimpunks Foundation challenges the typical approach to helping people who are neurodivergent or disabled. We know what it is like to live with barriers and what it means to not fit in and have to forge our own community. Stimpunks knows that neurodivergent and disabled people have human needs. We offer a humane approach to help our community thrive.
Through Stimpunks Foundation, we:
- Offer financial and mutual aid;
- Hire our community members as consultants;
- Provide a learning space designed for our community; and
- Support our community’s open research efforts.
One in four U.S. adults have a disability. However, our community receives only 2% of US grant funding, and only 19% of us are employed. We can’t just let that be the truth. We have to challenge the norm and change the narrative around people who are neurodivergent or disabled.
Stimpunks Foundation seeks to do just that. Learn more at stimpunks.org.