People tend to think of autism as a disease of the mind; a brain that is somehow, impaired.
Although the brain does work differently, the reason for autistic behavior is, actually, the senses.
In most cases, they are highly sensitive and overactive.
Background music, conversations, mechanical sounds and dripping water, all hit the autistic brain at once and are experienced with equal intensity.
Then they are expected to have social skills.
If a person were standing in a mosh pit at a concert of a band they didn’t particularly like, and felt deafened by the music and the mechanical sounds; threatened by the crushing crowd; blinded by the bright blinking lights and fearful of the pyrotechnic display, then were expected to carry on a conversation with their best friend about her favorite hobby, the conversation would not receive their full attention.
Most likely, the brain would struggle to process all of the information, hear some of the words and not have time to notice expressions, tone of voice and body language.
For the autistic brain, this overstimulation rarely if ever, stops.
Neither do the social expectations of society.
Then, a simple question such as “How are you?” causes confusion, or is answered as an essay question.
Fortunately, the autistic brain seems to be a powerful instrument, and many are able to master basic social skills.
Some can even pass for what is considered, “normal”, but this often requires great effort.
A simple answer like, “I’m fine,” is not as easy as it sounds.