Springingtiger's Blog

Autism Awareness: NLP & Asperger’s Syndrome

I haven’t always had Asperger’s…Ok, that’s not true, but I haven’t always known about it, I certainly knew very little about it before I was diagnosed. Before I knew about Asperger’s I spent a lot of time and money trying to learn how to function normally, I probably owe my life to Werner Erhard’s est Training. I don’t think my efforts were wasted, true I may not function like a normal human but I am able, when I remember, to behave in a manner that approximates human behaviour pretty well. I have done so many self-development courses, I have so many books on body language, most of which have been useful, but of them all I think the biggest difference has been made by NLP.

I have just been reminded of how useful NLP can be by assisting my wife Neelam Bakshi who is running an NLP Practitioner course at the moment. NLP contains many tools for understanding human behaviour. The difference, I think between a Neuro-typical and an Aspie is that whereas a NT can assimilate NLP until it becomes unconscious for them for someone with Asperger’s it remains necessary to use the techniques consciously. I know that there are many NLP techniques I can use to understand people and to behave like them, but if I forget to use them I revert to type.

Calibration skills are useful, I can recognise if someone’s state changes, and although emotions do not come naturally to me I can logically work out what their state is likely to be. People have an annoying habit of communicating non-verbally, while NLP can’t completely compensate for that being able to calibrate how people respond to certain stimuli can provide useful information.

I’m not sure how many books I have on body language, but the NLP training in building rapport has been invaluable to me. I confess that I may not use the skills as elegantly as some, but understanding the mechanics of rapport have made communication easier when it has been forced upon me. I particularly enjoy the use of language to elicit a person’s favored representation system. Again I have to stress that however useful the techniques are, they are only useful when one remembers them!

I tend not to elicit the strategies that drive other people as that involves a degree of interaction I am happier to avoid, but when necessary the techniques of strategy elicitation are useful. Personally I find NLP teaching on strategies most useful applied reflexively to understand why I behave as I do and sometimes to redesign my own strategies to produce more acceptable behaviour.

Having a diagnosis of Aspergers gives me an understanding of why I naturally think, feel and act as I do, it also gives me a choice whether to try to modify my behavior. NLP has given me the tools to do so.