Zoë Blade's notebook

Common sense

There is a dearth of information on how allism works, because as the majority neurotype by quite some way, it's assumed that "everyone" knows. The information on autism isn't much better, as the change from a conformity-enforcing colonial viewpoint to one centered around the lived experiences of those in the minority group hasn't, as of the 2020s, gained enough traction to lead to scientists asking the right questions. Therefore, these are merely my very tentative hypothoses, and should be taken as such.

When an allistic person implores you to use common sense, usually they're asking you to do what they do: copy whatever everyone else is doing, without learning why (or even if) it works.[1]

This is in contrast to how most autistic people learn things, by systematising them, learning the rules and exceptions, the tasks and subtasks, either from formal documentation or through personal experimentation.

Unfortunately, "using common sense" isn't as easy as simply observing and copying what other people are doing in the moment — it's assumed you will have already spent your entire life doing this unconsciously.

Yet again, unfortunately, I can only offer an explanation, not actionable advice. Probably the best you can hope for is that people will believe you, if you explain that you don't have common sense because you don't have the neurological process used to obtain it.


  1. A Field Guide to Earthlings Star Ford, 2010, ISBN 9780615426198

Allistic hypotheses: Common sense | Implication | Saving face