I noticed myself feeling particularly anxious this morning, and I hadn’t begun working on anything yet.
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Then it occurred to me that my schedule begins with several phone calls. For someone with Neurodivergence, phone calls can be nerve-wracking.
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My ๐™ฌ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ข๐™š๐™ข๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฎ is the biggest problem because I can’t remember much of anything the other person (rep) is telling me.
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In the past, I would walk away from those calls confused and frustrated – mostly at myself. I’d beat myself up for not being smart enough to understand what the rep was telling me.
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Now I know the issue is the result of executive function difficulties – which are very disabling. Having as much insight into yourself as possible makes me (and you) far more effective self-advocates because you can ask for more precise accommodations.
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For example, now I ask for time to take notes and request a summary of the call via text or email (some actually do this). It helps make sure I have a written copy of the most important points.
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When I need to implement something during the call, I ask them to give me one step at a time and allow me to complete it before giving me the next step.
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Then there’s the ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ข๐™š ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™š๐™จ๐™จ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š I want to keep it short because the longer I need to focus on the conversation (without spacing out due to mental fatigue), the more I need to ask the rep to repeat themselves because focus and memory are much harder to maintain.
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If you have ๐™–๐™ช๐™™๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฎ ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™ค๐™˜๐™š๐™จ๐™จ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ issues, only being able to hear the rep is a huge disadvantage because you don’t have any additional data (e.g. facial expression, or body language) to fill in the gaps your processing glitches miss.
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They also can’t see you, and can’t use your body language to help them pace their talking. For many of us, things can get overwhelming fast.
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What folks without these challenges may not realize is prepping for these calls is often necessary. It can feel like getting ready to convince an adult you’re actually really smart, but you’re not likely to give your best over the phone because it’s difficult to have your needs met under those circumstances.
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Kinda reminds me of the little kid that was always trying to convince adults that I really was trying, and doing the best I could. Yeah, that stuff gets into your bones when you grow up with it, and keeps showing up in adulthood.
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Fortunately for both of us, it can get so much better for you when you take the journey of healing. For the sake of the kid inside you who’s still hurting, and for the person you are now with so much to give, but its hidden behind hyper-vigilance.
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Prepping for the call could include:
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โ€ข Writing out a script of what you want to say: bullet points, the outcome you want from the call, and anything else you think is important. Heck, every rep you talk to is working off a script, why not you too?
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โ€ข Requesting a summary of the call via text or email (some actually do this).
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โ€ข Asking for one step at a time and allow completing it before giving the next step.
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You could also disclose your Autism, ADHD, etc., then explain what you’ll need from them during the call so you both feel supported.
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I say, “๐™๐™๐™–๐™ฃ๐™  ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™–๐™™๐™ซ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š ๐™›๐™ค๐™ง ๐™๐™š๐™ก๐™ฅ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ข๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ. ๐™…๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™จ๐™ค ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™ ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ, ๐™„ ๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐˜ผ๐˜ฟ๐™ƒ๐˜ฟ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™ž๐™˜๐™ ๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™–๐™œ๐™š๐™จ ๐™ข๐™ฎ ๐™ข๐™š๐™ข๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฎ, ๐™จ๐™ค ๐™„’๐™ก๐™ก ๐™ก๐™ž๐™ ๐™š๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™–๐™จ๐™  ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ง๐™š๐™ฅ๐™š๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™› ๐™—๐™š๐™˜๐™–๐™ช๐™จ๐™š ๐™„ ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ข๐™–๐™ ๐™š ๐™จ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š ๐™„ ๐™๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™™ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ง๐™ง๐™š๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ฎ. ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™š ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™›๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ?”
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I’ve gotten a “๐™ฎ๐™š๐™จ” every time, and it takes a lot of pressure off me, which in turn lowers my anxiety and improves my ability to focus and remember long enough to write things down.
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Self-advocacy for the win. In any case, time for me to make some phone calls.
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