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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Communicating with Me

By Out-of-Sync Woman
 Communicating either in writing or talking can be a bit of a challenge for me. I know I’m a little slower than my peers and I’m not sure why. Is it my anxiety, the fact that I’m often self-editing before I speak, or are there other factors at play? This can be a problem during group conversations since I’m rushing to speak up before I miss my opportunity to speak about a particular subject before the group moves onto a different subject. Like most people I don’t like feeling rushed; I would rather take my time and think before I speak.
I have even more of a struggle with writing since my typing is really slow, spelling and grammar are mediocre at best. and poor at worst. I find myself constantly simplifying my language to fit my ability to spell. Fortunately for me, technology has gotten a lot better. Otherwise, I would not be able to write this blog without a great deal more effort. Maybe because of my difficulties speaking and writing, I spend a fair amount of time listening to other people.
I feel comfortable with really listening to others. Most of the time I’m processing what somebody just said before I try to respond. For me, this may take a little bit longer than most people so my responses are a smidge slower. Why am I writing about this topic? A person close to me said they didn’t feel like they knew me as well as they wanted. I thought this issue might affect other people and could be useful. I have ideas about getting to know other people, especially if they tend to be a bit reticent like me.
A big one for me: location, setting, and other distractions. Is this the right time and place to be trying to talk to me? As in, do I feel comfortable talking at that time? If the answer is no, please wait for another time that may be better. It’s hard to talk if there is too much going on. I tend to get overwhelmed and distracted easily.
My biggest suggestion is this: slow down, stop rushing, and try to be in the moment. I’m much more likely to open up if I don’t feel like you’re rushing me. Also, are you really listening or are you rushing to fill the pause with your thoughts? I could have lots of thoughts and ideas, but if you’re going too fast for me, you’re not going to hear it.
Do we have a relationship? As in, do I feel comfortable with you? I’m unlikely to share much detail or even to talk that much if I don’t feel like I have a good relationship and connection with you. Had you earned my trust so I can speak freely with you?
And finally, I may not have anything to say because I don’t want to say anything. It’s okay to not have anything to say. I would rather not speak at all than just speak to fill the silence or pauses in a conversation.
 Everyone is unique and has their own criteria for when and why they speak, write, or communicate their thoughts. If you’re having difficulty or you want to get to know somebody better, I would suggest that you think about what you’re doing or communicating with your body language to encourage or discourage conversations.
 It’s much harder and you’ll be less successful trying to change another person. The only person that you can change is yourself so that’s why I suggest starting there. If that’s not the issue, tactfully asking how you could help the other person to communicate easier with you would be helpful. I rather someone ask me questions rather than make assumptions. It’s possible that even by respectfully asking, you may not ever get any answers or the person may not know.
As always, I hope this is a helpful starting point for you. Learning about yourself and others is always a process, filled with trial and error. Best wishes to my readers for successful communications.

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