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    Posted March 28, 2014 by
    Boston, Massachusetts
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Communicating through autism

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    Hugs Can Speak Louder Than Words


    My name is Gretchen Leary, I am twenty-eight years old as of today March 31st, and I have Asperger Syndrome (ASD).


    Although I can use words to communicate I often get confused in conversation, misinterpreting someone's intentions or even at times directions. This can make my communication issues seem invisible because I am able to speak aloud.


    But that doesn't always equate to effective communication, especially for me. I often feel like people are angry when they aren't or it's the other way around. This is incredibly frustrating. I have trouble reading facial expressions so when I listen, I actually prefer to be looking down at the floor most of the time to be able to absorb what they are saying without trying to figure out what their face is saying or being distracted by their facial expressions as at times, I tend to mimic their facial expression and have caught myself doing so unintentionally.


    For me, I often ask "Can I hug you?" to my spouse when I cannot explain how I feel and just need to feel grounded. It often happens multiple times in a day. I find that just a hug can speak volumes to me and help me understand that even when I am upset to the point of tears I can ask for a hug from a friend or family member, and they get what that means for me.


    So, for me, when verbal communication fails I have a backup plan and in the end I truly feel that in times of frustration or confusion, a hug can speak much louder than words.

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