“Yes, And…” Infodump

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These tweets are good advice, especially before infodumping after someone tickles one of your SpIns.

Today’s tip for communicating while neurodiverse: no matter how exciting the thoughts you’re having off someone else’s point, make sure to start your reply by acknowledging you saw & understood what they said.

It’s amazing how easily you can look like you’re arguing with someone bc you forgot to make it clear you’re saying “yes, and!” not “no, but”. Especially if you’re going off on a decent tangent.

A simple “Good point!” or “That makes sense” is all you need.

@EJhummingbrain

Sometimes my “yes, ands…” are too subtle before I infodump in enthusiasm. They can come off as “no, buts…” and intellectual bullying, sealioning, and bro rationalism.

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.

Having a special interest is like having a crush or being newly in love. It is consuming and delightful. We love to share our special interests and a common example of autistic empathy is encouraging others to talk in great detail- “infodump”- about their SpIns.

It is considered a sign of caring and friendship to encourage someone to talk to you about their SpIn- whether or not you actually share their interest- because nothing makes an autistic person happier than discussing, learning about, or sharing about, their SpIn.

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

A simple “Good point!” or “That makes sense” is all you need

@EJhummingbrain

When I infodump, I try to make it clear I’m doing so in the spirit of “yes, and”.

Further reading,

Published by Ryan Boren

#ActuallyAutistic retired technologist turned wannabe-sociologist. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they

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