One thing I have learned about being openly autistic is that people will often give me the “It’s not black and white” speech. Truth be told, being openly autistic has only made this speech come about more often; I have heard it many times in my life, even before diagnosis. I think this is a classic example of the kind of misunderstanding that many neurotypical people have when it comes to autism: I think in “black and white” means I am decisive, not that my decisions are extreme. I think in “black and white” does not means that I distill all decision making situations into a set of binary options; it means that I examine all of the options and then commit to one.
Many fragments. Some large, some small.
The logical, analytical thought processes common to many people on the spectrum mean that they can take in a huge amount of information, parse it, and arrive at a decision in pretty quick time. For me, this involves running simulations. I conciously run a best guess simulation of events that would be likely given a certain decision, to see if it has merit. I am making comparisons to other information stored in my brain. I am linking things using a picture based index system (I think in pictures not in words).
Isn’t that SPECIAL?
This process is rapid. I have often observed that I am able to run all the scenarios and make a determination much faster than the people around me, even when there are several scenarios that are considered viable right up towards the end of the process.
You see those two guys over there? They want to take your books away!
Sometimes I realise I do not have the information I need to be able to make a determination and I set about filling in the gaps. My brain snaps into Johnny 5 mode; I crave input. Once something catches my interest, I will not rest until I have satisfied my desire to know about it. Related to this, I am often able to determine that the stated reason for a decision is not plausible. I get frustrated by such situations. I wonder how people expect me to understand their position/decision if they deny me some of the information?
Malfunction. Need input.
I hate it when people do not tell me the truth. If the information I have is inaccurate, my decisions are likely to be way off: garbage in, garbage out. Please do not give me bad data, it will make me cranky. My need to make good, balanced decisions outweighs my need to be nice to you. It is often very obvious if I do not trust the information I am being given simply by the number of questions I am asking.
Don’t fuck with my program!