There is a saying, “love makes the world go round,” but for real it is NOT love. Instead, it is hidden curriculum that makes the world go round! Any autistic adult will tell you that not automatically understanding hidden curriculum will pose numerous social difficulties in every day life!
What is Hidden Curriculum?
Hidden curriculum is all that social information most people know even though they were never actually taught it. An example is the rule “don’t pick your nose” with the hidden curriculum being it is perfectly fine to pick your nose as long as nobody sees you doing it.
Autism Neurology Doesn’t Support Automatically Picking Up Curriculum
Many people with autism have difficulty with hidden curriculum. Their brains are not wired to allow them to automatically pick up this untaught, unspoken social information. This has all sorts of consequences from embarrassing to serious (job loss). I had to intentionally learn lots of hidden curriculum before I could feel a part of the social landscape in the world all around me.
Sometimes getting caught in a situation of unknown hidden curriculum is quite embarrassing in the moment, but later makes a funny story. Because hidden curriculum is so important and because people generally remember things that cause them to laugh I am going to tell you a funny story.