AUTISTIC NICK MAKES A PHONE CALL
FUN FACT – Alexander Graham Bell born March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer.
FUN FACT He is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone.
FUN FACT He also co-founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.
FUN FACT I hate making phone calls.
There I’ve said it.
I find them to be overwhelming and it can be hard for me to process the information that I am receiving and then I get stressed and anxious and this can potentially lead to me having a melt down because I’m so angry with myself that I have been unsuccessful with such a simple everyday task as making a phone call.
But today that all changed, and I ended up making a plan and writing down what exactly it was that I wanted to say in bullet points and making sure that I took a breath and spoke slowly and didn’t rush my words.
So how did I prepare myself for what for me is an extremely overwhelming experience.
I rummaged through my desk draw and found a pad and a pen, and I sat down, and I began to write down what it was I wanted to say.
Now for those younger readers of my blog a pad is plain white paper with lines on it and a pen is full of ink and is encased in a plastic tube.
I made short bullet points of what I wanted to say, and I practised saying and expanding on these points in my head.
I sent a text message to my editor asking if I could have a phone call with her the following day.
Yes, I’m aware that this contradicts what I’ve said above but I wanted to be the one in control here, I wanted to take the show myself that I am able despite the fear that I have about making phone calls I can see what needed to be done and if I’m prepared and focused and I have a structure in place I can do it. My editor replied that we would talk around 11.45 am the next day.
Before the phone call took place, I looked again at my notes, and I practised role playing how I thought it would work.
Obviously, I cannot accurately predict how the actual call on the day would go, but by preparing myself I felt more at ease and in control.
If need be, I could always just ask for a break or say, “I just need to take 5 mins it’s all becoming a bit too much for me”.
11.45 am came round and I nervously took out my phone and found my editor’s phone number and made a call.
She didn’t answer.
I waited until at least 10-15 mins and then sent I a text message saying, “Hey I’m free for that chat now.”
They rung me back!!
I took a deep breath and then answered the phone.
I grabbed a hold of my note pad, and I began to speak after saying our hello’s etc.
I spoke slowly and listened and waited for the response from my editor.
I was relieved when the call ended but also very proud of myself for being the one to see that this needed to happen and that I had seen that preparation here is the key.
I’m glad it’s all over and it went well.
I usually steer clear of phone calls when I’m at work.
I prefer to communicate by email and if its with a work colleague it’s the text option that I would always go for!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Write a script for yourself.
Make simple to understand points that you want to make during the call.
If possible, maybe have a friend or a support worker with you so if it all gets too much, they can take over for you.
Remember to say what you want to say first and then wait for the other person on the end of the telephone to respond.
If you don’t understand what’s being said to you, ask them to repeat it for you or simply tell them that you don’t understand what you’re being told.
If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed simply say “I’m sorry I’m becoming very overwhelmed so I’m going to hang up and maybe you could email me the information, or can we text each other?”
Text the person if you know their mobile number that you’re either about to call them or ask them to do the same for you if they’re going to call you so that you are prepared.
None of these things make using the phone easier, they may just make it easier for you. For the most part I will do whatever I can to avoid making a call – that means if you don’t text me or have an email address then I’m probably not going to contact you, at least not until I absolutely have to!
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.