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May 14th: How to deal with “ridiculous” rules

April 24, 2014

In the middle hour we discussed how to deal with “ridiculous” rules set up in the neurotypical world.

  1. Some of the rules that appear ridiculous to us may have merit for those in the neurotypical world. For instance small talk is ridiculous to autistic spectrum people as it is meaningless in itself. However for the neurotypicals it is a way to exchange non-verbal communication such as smiling, touch, voice inflection, laughter that may convey caring, friendship, attraction or love.
  2. Some of the rules that appear ridiculous to us may have merit from our corporate office; for instance suggesting larger portions at McDonalds. If we do not do it however, we are not a corporate team player  even though it may harm our clients.
  3. Some rules that appear ridiculous are truly ridiculous and after discussion with neurotypicals or corporate leaders may be able to be changed.

We discussed some ridiculous rules and brought up other scenarios. We also redefined ridiculous as capricious or arbitrary. We were reminded that arbitrary may not simply be a coin toss but a compromise based on arbitration between parties. We are also reminded that many neurotypicals may not be comfortable breaking rules that seem ridiculous to us. We may have thought them through. They know they may simply get in trouble if they do not follow them and have not thought about the substance or consequence of the rules.

Think of nazi Germany and all the German citizens that stood by during the holocaust. When do you stay the course and when do you really ask for change? It takes reasoning, self confidence, communication and leadership to change rules.

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