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Last week I wrote about something I consider a classic Aspie ‘failing’. The chronic clumsiness, stemming from a lack of spatial awareness. Today I want to write about something positive – what I consider a classic Aspie strength. That is our ability to apply logic.

Over the last week I’ve had a couple of tasks to do at the office, which basically amount to helping clients organise their projects. Imagine you’re faced with the following request:

“We need content for the new website.”

It’s really quite a big demand and when people see or hear it they sometimes get a panicked look in their eye. Sometimes they’ll write it down and nod and not even start to consider the can of worms that statement represents. Then, sometimes weeks later, they’ll start to look at it in more detail.

This is where I came into the equation to help a few clients out.

Case study 1

What content do we need?

  1. Compare the previous website (source material) with new sitemap and wireframes to determine what new source material is needed.
  2. Add any questions or pointers to the list to help the subject matter experts gather the right information for me to edit later.
  3. Send the information as a clearly written list to the client.

Case study 2

What do we need to provide first?

  1. Repeat first two steps from case study 1
  2. How much of the outstanding content is needed to launch the site?
  3. Consider which information is likely to take the most time to gather and edit – this is higher priority.
  4. Consider which items will be supplied that won’t need editing. The simple copy and paste information. This is low priority.
  5. Talk to project manager to see if specific dates can be targeted, according to your prioritisation schedule.
  6. Communicate requirements clearly to client.

The ability to break down a request and create logical steps to fulfill it has always been very useful to me and I’m often surprised by people who seem unable to do it. Logic may not be the sole preserve of people with Asperger’s but we are known for using it a lot.

That makes sense. After all, it is logical to be logical, isn’t it?

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I’m a big fan of logic, and although I like emotions too (when they’re positive), I think that sometimes it takes a dose of cold logic to keep us sane.

Emotions can be logical. I’m afraid to get too close to the lion in case it bites my head off. In this case the emotion, fear, serves a very practical purpose. If I wasn’t afraid I’d probably get my head bitten off. If someone close to me becomes very ill then it’s natural to feel sad. It’s not helpful, but you couldn’t really say it was illogical either. I care, therefore I feel. Aspies aren’t machines!

However, I do think Aspies are good at ‘compartmentalising’. I think we’re good at shutting down negative and unhelpful emotions. One good cry – if we really have to –  and that’s enough. Time to shut it down and move on.

Over the years this is something I’ve practiced. It’s a skill I had to learn but I found that I could do it well. It doesn’t mean I don’t get affected by events like everybody else, it just means that my recovery period is often quicker.

Imagine how much time gets wasted by people crying over things they can’t change, hating themselves, or worrying about things that don’t matter. This should make anyone angry. Not angry enough to dwell on it (pointlessly), but angry enough to do something about it.

There’s a saying in the UK, “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.” Sometimes we need to apply this to our inner voice, change our attitude, and stop wasting our time and energy on negativity. You don’t have to ignore all the bad stuff. Just acknowledge it and move on.