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Notes I wrote about Andrew the night I read Shadow Syndromes:


• Sensitive to textures, smells, air quality, noises (how something

fits is extremely important)


• Incapable of breaking a routine to “hurry” (only has one speed)


• Must put his shoes on a certain way (everything has a process

that must remain the same)


• Delayed when it comes to reactions & processing emotions

(often Takes 9-12 days to figure out how he feels about



• Breaks eye contact when he talks about feelings (or can’t talk

about feelings at all)


• Often closes his eyes when telling a story or looks away from you


• Extremely literal in speech (takes everything I say literally)


• Often tells fragments of a story and “misses the point” he was

trying to make


• Unable to give proper context when recounting conversations

with people


• Sometimes speaks in one long, monotone sentence


• Speaks at odd volumes at the worst times (if I whisper at him,

he will answer back in his full voice)


• Expressions don’t match his face (will look bored when he’s

really enjoying something)


• Will become overwhelmed and abort social situations without

saying anything (Where did Andrew go?)


• Awkward demeanor


• Unaware when he is “wound up” and needs a break (takes him

days to figure out why he was wound up)


• Wants to be told exactly what he is doing right or wrong

(doesn’t take offense, just sees it as useful information)


• Can’t sort relevant information from irrelevant information (if

you ask a vague question, he will tell you about his entire day

instead of important parts)


• Rules need to apply in all situations the same (doesn’t seem to

grasp that the context might be different)


• So micro-focused that he can’t see the whole picture (will become

obsessed with one thing and let everything else fall apart)


• Unable to understand someone else’s viewpoint (or how what

he is doing is affecting you)


• Doesn’t tie situations together or realize how they affect each

other (sees them as individual events)


• Unable to tell me what mood someone is in after he spends

time with them


• Loyal to a fault (often to people with ill intent)


• Unable to estimate how long something will take him (cannot

give you any approximations)


• Needs to figure out how to do something by making his own

mistakes or reading the instructions (you can explain it to him

in detail, but it won’t help; he needs pictures or to make the

mistakes to learn himself)


• If you can explain something to him, he will seem to fully

understand what to do, but then when the moment happens,

he can’t connect it to the conversation you had (it feels as if you

had the conversation for nothing)


• Small things that take him away from his microfocus can really

ruin his day. (Example: getting a phone call while at work. It

will take his brain quite a while to get back to the level of focus

it was at before the call.) It really affects him when he needs to

break focus.


• Will do what I ask, but at the wrong time and place. Doesn’t

seem to have any concept of bad timing


• Black and white thinking (he’s either really worried or not worried



• Very impulsive without thinking things through


• Starts large projects with no concept of how much time they

will take


• If something is not where it’s supposed to be, it’s like he’s incapable

of guessing where it might be (he doesn’t think to check

in the obvious places it might be; he will just be confused)


• Does not understand embellishing (sees it as a lie)


• Hates small talk (often just doesn’t engage)


• Can’t seem to tell what affects his life in a negative way when it

comes to people. Can tell immediately with objects, almost too

well too quickly (“I hate this, throw it away”)


• On a few occasions has panicked and repeated things three

times while shaking his head (“I bought it for you, I bought it

for you, I bought it for you.”)


• Basically seems incapable of understanding the effect people

have on his life or recognizing bad influences that he

doesn’t need


• Doesn’t like pets (doesn’t need the companionship)


• His brain is like file folders (can switch subjects with one click

and read multiple books at once)


• His text messages are often backwards and not what he’s meaning

to say


• Extremely attentive and present (I have all his focus, or none

of it)


• Doesn’t seem to pick up on obvious social cues or know when

he’s angering someone


• Doesn’t like team sports aside from dodgeball (because he can

just use his own strategy)


• Has no concept of time or how much he can fit into his schedule

(overbooks himself without realizing he will run out of

time or energy)


• He can’t play Scrabble—at all—it was surprising to me how he

was trying to spell the words backwards or diagonal even after

I explained it twice


• He hurts my feelings with blunt statements that can sometimes

feel like they are stuck on repeat as he will say them multiple

times in one day


• He will tell me he’s fine one day before a huge meltdown

because he thinks he is fine. It’s as if he has little understanding

of how he’s feeling.


• He thinks in pictures (visual thinker), especially with directions,

He needs to see the picture in his head; you can’t just

tell him where to turn. He also sometimes describes a picture

when he tells a story.

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