Autistic in NYC

Resources and new ideas for the autistic / Aspie adult community in the New York City metro area.

Assertiveness

Introduction

Most autistic and similarly neurodivergent people have extreme difficulty dealing with people who are NOT assertive, but who, instead, expect others to read their minds. Since we need other people to be assertive, it is only fair that we too aim to be assertive (neither passive nor aggressive) ourselves. Many of us are already assertive to some extent, but may need to learn to become more consistently and more diplomatically assertive.

Many workplaces consider assertiveness to be a desirable trait in employees. Googling the string "assertiveness job interview" brings up lots of results (NOT included among the links below) about how to come across as assertive (but NOT pushy/aggressive, which is considered undesirable) during a job interview.

So assertiveness is a set of skills that not only we, but also the NT's in our lives, could benefit from learning or improving, NOT ONLY to help them communicate better with us, but also as a possible benefit to their own careers. Chances are the NT's in our lives already have these skills to at least some degree, if they are able to get along with us at all. But many NT's do NOT have these skills, preferring instead to be passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive.

"Assertiveness training" was originally popularized in the 1970's as a way to help women communicate better with men in the workplace, and as a way to help everyone avoid misunderstandings.

Some of the tutorials below have sections on body language, e.g. eye contact. For some of us, eye contact is a huge distraction at best, and for some of us it's outright painful. If that's the case for you, it may be better to ignore those parts of the tutorials, and, instead, assertively inform the people in your life about your difficulties with eye contact.

Why assertiveness is important

Video tutorials

Assertive vs. aggressive, passive, and passive-aggressive

Note: Some of the articles below describe true passive-aggressive behavior, while others describe as "passive-aggressive" what could easily be just fluctuations in a person's energy levels and capacity for social interaction. Such fluctuations are especially likely among autistic people. At some point I should carefully go through the articles in this category and split them up into two or more categories, or perhaps write a blog post commenting on them.

Assertiveness for autistic people

The following tutorials are said to be for autistic people. (But to what extent are they really autistic-friendly? We can discuss this at our meetings.)

More tutorials on assertiveness

Assertiveness role-playing exercises

Universal assertiveness as a long term societal goal

The idea that EVERYONE should learn assertiveness is not unique to me. As far as I can tell, it is not yet universally taught in public schools, but there are plenty of people advocating that assertiveness skills be taught to all children in public schools, partly as a way to help prevent bullying. There are also lots of web pages of advice for parents on how to teach their kids to be assertive.

Here's an academic study of assertiveness training programs for children:

And here's one of many pages for parents on teaching assertiveness to their kids:

And here are some instructional materials for school programs for children and young people:

Relevant message board threads

 

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