Seeing things from different perspectives

Stephen McHugh
This post was last updated on
October 12, 2022
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For those of us with autism, we may experience difficulties seeing things from other peoples’ points of view. In addition, we can have problems understanding things such as how the ways in which we may behave can affect others’ feelings. Consequently, this can create difficulties with getting on with other people. 

Those of us with autism can find it harder to make friendships, which can cause upset and frustration to themselves, family, close relatives, and peers.

People with autism can learn to understand how to see things from other peoples’ perspectives, but this can take longer than it otherwise normally would. 

A long time ago, when I was young, I was driving around in a toy truck. At the same time, somebody was in their car, trying to reverse. The driver edged slowly backwards. I happened to leave my toy truck there, thus blocking the driver’s way. Therefore they(the driver) had to stop. Another child, who happened to be watching this situation promptly removed my toy truck.

Afterwards, when my mum asked me why I didn’t remove the toy truck, I said to her that I wanted to park it there. One thing she reminded me of then was the importance of thinking about the needs of others.

At that time, I was about 7 years of age, not far off 8. Nothing of a communicative nature seemed to come to me naturally. It seemed as though I was having to ‘learn’ everything. 

Nobody, it seemed, may have known at the time just how much learning I had had to do to get to the stage I was at at the moment in time. I had clearly had to ‘learn’ a lot more than my peers.

One way of trying to understand others’ points of view is by trying to see a particular situation from the point of view of the other person or people concerned. What I had failed to do in the situation described above was think about the needs of the driver. 

One thing that one should consider in a situation like that was the driver perhaps needing to attend an important appointment or event somewhere. 

Nowadays, I have a hobby where I like to sometimes take photographs of any interesting nature related scenes when I’m out and about. However, there is something else that I’m always telling myself to be conscious of here. It is to be aware of other people, and not to include them in my photos. 

One thing I try to do is put myself in the position of the other people and imagine how they would feel about something like this. They may see this as an invasion of their privacy. 

And finally, have you been diagnosed with autism and found ways to understand things from others’ perspectives?  What ways have you used to help somebody, including a loved one or friend with autism to try and understand things from others’ perspectives?

Why not share them with me in the comments section below.

Further reading

Autism and making friendships

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