Learned Helplessness-Who Me?


When I wrote the “Spiderweb Blink” post a few days ago, I did not notice it described “learned helplessness”, something I definitely exhibit.

Yesterday at Autistry I was asked to find my SD card, which is the OS and “hard drive” for Raspberry Pi.

I looked in one box and did not immediately see it so gave up.

D. found it and it was right on top where I had already looked.

Then, later, I did not find my saved file so asked someone else to find it.

“There’s a pattern here,” said D. and asked me what I thought it was:

“I don’t try hard enough?” I posited.

“Not nearly enough-it’s called “learned helplessness”.

Concerned, I wondered if all the institutions and group homes had caused it.

Turns out, learned helplessness is very common among autistics as our caretakers often would rather just do it for us rather than risk a decomp – which was the case with me as mine were violent and frequent; still frequent but less violent, I often avoid any situation which might frustrate me, which are a lot of situations-even going to the grocery store!  There are other reasons, as well, such as it just takes less time and is often easier if the caretaker just does it themselves-NOT the autistic person. Or, they don’t really think we are capable, and, perhaps they are afraid we will get hurt somehow.

As a result, I depend on others to perform tasks I really am capable of, but often don’t believe myself I can do. I am afraid of my own decomps and don’t push myself much.

People around me can help me by suggesting to assist me find a solution to do it myself – I think they cal it “scaffolding”-and NOT by leaping to do it for me. If I decomp, we can deal with that then; yesterday I did not and felt such a thrill of accomplishment when I found the solution to a Raspberry Pi programming issue ON MY OWN!

That’s all for now.



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