Interview with Kristina de Vitte
Do you experience any type of communication difficulties while dealing with "neurotypicals"? What type of difficulties?
It can be difficult to follow a conversation, at times I find myself 'zoning' out – especially if the subject of the conversation doesn't particularly interest me. Furthermore, sometimes things go over my head, especially when the conversation turns more theoretical or when a sentence can be interpreted in more than one manner, though I find that people don't begrudge an explanation if requested. Often, I find it difficult to navigate the sensitivities of others, I find that I'm too blunt at times which can offend or make other people uncomfortable. I'm a lecturer, and as you'd expect I'd prefer that people listen and I talk, rather than the other way around. I'm stubborn and headstrong. It can make me very overbearing, as I can't help but to get the last word in before walking away. It's one of the reasons I dislike interacting with people. I struggle with group work, as if I can't lead - I'd not participate at all. I'm usually conflict averse, I tend to let out all my pent-up grievances in one go, which can be scary for others, which is why I try to just walk away from the situation. I find that my outlet for it all is my business, which has been and continues to be successful under my decision-making, which makes both me and those around me happy.
Do you notice that other people experience difficulties while communicating with you?
It is often very difficult to tell, unless they're direct about it. Sometimes you can tell a person is uncomfortable in a conversation because they wear their heart on their sleeve, however, at other times it's almost impossible to tell what someone is thinking. I imagine for every instance I notice - a lot escapes my notice. Though for the most part, this question is answered in my first answer: As long as people are willing to defer to me, I'll have no problems participating, but if they try to control me, I'll just withdraw. Furthermore, I can come off as stand-offish as instead of directly outlining my grievances, I make my displeasure known with sarcastic and passive-aggressive comments.
Kristina De Vitte
Assistant lecturer at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.
When did you notice your communicational peculiarities, and has there been any change? In what way?
I feel like I've always been aware that I'm different. Even as a child everyone around me seemed so radically different from me. With time the thing that ultimately changed was that I became aware of why everyone around me was so different – I feel more comfortable knowing why I have unique difficulties, it also helps to distance myself from the less than kind opinions my peers would share in regards to my as-ofthen unknown condition.
What type of communication do you prefer? Is there any "golden standard"?
To put it simply the golden standard would be no communication, however that is unrealistic, as such I have to settle for forms of communication that do not involve having to talk to someone in person as much as possible, be it over the phone or other digital methods. I find interacting with others troublesome, less so when I'm the one leading the conversation, but that isn't always the case. Listening to others can be hard, especially when it concerns a topic that doesn't particularly interest me. As a lecturer I find that the transition to digital forms of communication has made my life a lot easier, in large part because I find interacting with the students much less uncomfortable when it isn't in-person. □