Different minds. One Scotland. ‘Autism and The Social Rulebook

Today, at the start of Autism Acceptance Week 2023 (27 March – 2 April), the Scottish Government are proud to launch stage 2 of their Different minds campaign – Autism and the Social Rulebook. A campaign which has been created and produced in partnership with autistic people.

Campaign Overview

Whether we realise it or not we all follow a social rulebook, all those unwritten ‘rules’ that shape our everyday interactions and the way we navigate the world.  From eye contact, body language to the expectancy of small talk and processing of information, however, not all brains are all wired the same way to interpret this rulebook. Many autistic people are left to navigate a world in which everyday interactions are much harder and overwhelming than they need to be. We are seeking to increase understanding in the differences in communication styles. If these differences are better understood then this could make a real and positive impact on how effectively autistic and non-autistic people communicate together.

Alongside the film ‘Marion and the Social Rulebook’ the Scottish Government have created an eBook which provides a depth of information behind the film. Written by autistic people, the eBook details the differences in eye contact, body language, small talk and processing and gives an insight into their everyday experiences when it comes to autistic to non-autistic communication.

Campaign Key Messages

  • Autistic communication differs to non-autistic communication; we all communicate differently and that’s ok.
  • People who aren’t autistic expect small talk, but it feels unnecessary to some autistic people.
  • There is more than one social rule book; there is nothing ‘wrong’ with autistic communication – it’s simply different.
  • Body language can be hard to read for some autistic people, similarly an autistic person’s body language might not seem to match their words.
  • Eye contact can be distressing to some autistic people, this can often be misinterpreted as being rude when this isn’t the case.
  • Around 1 in 100 people in Scotland are autistic. Think differently about thinking differently.
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