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Autism and the Burden of Reciprocity

Scientists did a study and found that people on the spectrum were rated more poorly by children and adults:

In other words, Autistic people can’t take all the blame for underdeveloped social skills because non-autistic people actually are actively avoiding us, limiting our access to opportunities to practice being social in real-world situations. The study authors found that Autistic people have every bit as much desire for friendship and human contact as non-autistic people and our UCLA loneliness scores were significantly higher than non-autistic people’s, but our ability to socialize is limited every bit as much by social ostracization from others as it is by our own neurology and the challenges to socialization it can present for us.

The studies repeatedly underlined the importance of first impressions. A negative first impression held true no matter how much further exposure a person was given to reassess that first impression. But there was one scenario in which the Autistic people left a positive first impression: when people read a transcript of their words instead of seeing and hearing the Autistic people saying those words, observers rated them as more likable and more intelligent. In fact, in the scenario where observers just read the written words of Autistic and non-autistic people, they rated both groups the same. For non-autistic people, the written transcripts were their lowest-rated mode of communication, although only by a small amount. For Autistic people, the written transcripts were their highest-rated mode of communication by a very significant margin.

I always thought the first impression stuck, I’m glad researchers found this to be true too.  I have a physical disability which makes me look different so that tends to net me bad first impressions in and of itself.