AUTISITIC NICK’S COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES
It’s the 17th of January 2023 and already I’m harking back to an old out of date tune, I’ve banged my drums, I run up that hill, I’ve rid myself of words being highlighted in yellow (you’re still a monster), I’ve had meetings, I’ve written blog posts, I’ve had conversations and I’m tired. I’m oh so fucking tired of it.
Communication for an Autistic person is a frustrating process.
When it comes to communicating as an Autistic person, I am having three-way conversations in my head whenever I interact with other work colleagues, ensuring that I am interacting with them and communicating by giving measured responses to their questions.
The only way I can describe this is imagine that you are at UN conference, you sit down, and in a booth not too far away another person a translator sits down and puts on a pair of headphones.
Then the conversation begins, and I hear it, the person with the headphones on, translates it for me and then provides me with a response.
I must translate what that person says into what I class “Autism language”, then it’s processed into English and then I repeat my answer back thanks to the translator which is a tiring process.
So here for fingers crossed the final time is 10 ways to effectively communicate with me an Autistic person.
Emails need to be written in a clear and concise manner. If you can’t make a meeting, then clearly explain it in the body of the email. Don’t say that your tied up as I won’t know what you mean. Are you being held hostage? Are you tied up with rope? Don’t expect me to begin to attempt to unravel your email and don’t make me second guess things it’s annoying and my mind is already working at a top speed it doesn’t need to work any harder.
If during a pitch meeting, I have or make a suggestion don’t dismiss it out of hand or be quick to dismiss it. I don’t appreciate it and it makes me feel shitty afterwards. There are ways to convey your point of view. I don’t want to come away feeling like my voice and my contribution isn’t valid and worthwhile.
Do not assume that I have limited cognitive skills. I may not have the ability to comprehend the content of the conversation. In other words, I may understand every word you say, but I may have difficulty responding verbally.
Being an active listener. If you do not understand what you are saying or you don’t understand what I am saying, then allow me if I am confused to ask more questions for clarification purposes or what you or I am trying to convey.
If I doesn’t respond immediately to your question, do not assume I haven’t heard or understood you. I sometimes need a little more time to absorb and process information before giving you, my response.
I may need time after a conversation has taken place to process and re assess my thoughts and feelings so maybe later that conversation may be revisited and will need to be digested and a meeting maybe needed to discuss things that may have arisen from that. Don’t take it personally as in that moment I may have been unable to tell you that I was feeling overwhelmed at that time.
When interacting with me, be literal, clear, and concise. Avoid the use of slang, nuance, and sarcasm. These forms of communication may be confusing and not easily understood by me. I may need you to clear up any confusion that’s on my registering on my face.
If I have a talent for a story and it’s a family member then don’t dismiss that they could be a worthwhile talent. If they are connected to the story and can provide an insight, then hear me out before you say no.
Don’t assume that everything’s ok, no matter how many times you ask me is everything ok and I nod like one of those nodding dogs that people have in their cars you know the ones I mean. The head rocks back and forth as it’s on a spring inside the body of a dog. This simply means that I’m processing and I’m only nodding because this processing process has only just begun and I’m going to need time to fully absorb what you’ve said before I can give you a clear response.
Be clear and concise when providing me with feedback. Be prepared to provide specific feedback. Also provide feedback that is honest, non-judgmental, and clear so that it can me gain a better and clearer understanding.
I am simply asking for clear communication to be a priority when I am in the office.
I shouldn’t have to fight this, bang a drum repeatedly, sing the same song over and over.
I thought I’d make it clear, done enough, clearly, I hadn’t.
Clearly the messaging isn’t being heard, or it’s the person not wishing to hear it.
I shouldn’t have to continually go through this process, it’s unfair and it’s unnecessary.
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.