Monday, May 21, 2012

Programming Myself

I'm learning computer programming. So far, I know how to make a bug and three kinds of errors. The problem, I've determined, is that I'm not used to writing programs with proper syntax, meant to be understood by a real computer. Up until now, I have only made programs for myself. These take the form of scribbled flowcharts, if they're written down at all, which tell what to do in social situations. They are written in the simplified computer-language found in Scratch (game programming), or AppleScript.

I have several of these; one for starting a conversation, one for asking a store employee a question, etc… I do not carry them with me on paper, but in my mind. If I could, I would keep them on my clipboard and always have them at hand, but someone would certainly find them. At the moment I write this, nobody but me knows about my social programs, though my family will find out shortly when I post this post.

But why?
That, I'm sure, is the question every neurotypical will be asking. How can these complicated flowcharts, loops and if-else statements be the easiest way to learn?

Well, the truth is, I don't really know. Maybe it's because I think like a computer, although I'm not sure if I do. How can I know what the computer thinks? Or maybe because computer-language is the most concrete way of writing something that is not concrete at all. I asked my pragmatic therapist for some hard-and-fast rules on social interaction, but she couldn't come up with one. I couldn't either. Nothing is always appropriate (or inappropriate), but that's why I have different programs for different situations. It works most of the time, and that's better than saying whatever comes to mind, which hardly ever works. This idea is definitely a keeper.