This entry comes to us from Mikhaela Ackerman. Mikhaela is an autism advocate and holds a Doctorate in Jurisprudence. She lives in North Carolina. You can find her Twitter page right here. Thank you, Mikhaela!
I know that I am the quiet girl in her cubicle. And that I don’t always know if I should say good morning because some of you have ear buds in. I often sneak in without some of you noticing because I cannot tell if I should say hello.
I do not always know if I am part of a circle of conversation. I do not want to ignore you. I do not always know how to enter the conversation. And I do not know how much I am supposed to share with you in a conversation. Or how much you want to share. When there are multiple conversations happening I do not know which ones I am supposed to join.
I often do not make small talk throughout the day because I am spending most of my energy filtering out the sensory and have very little left for social cues.
Sometimes I don’t hear you when you say my name. I am overwhelmed by the extreme sensory I am experiencing and cannot always hear it the first time.
I smile a lot so that you will think of me as approachable and friendly. Because that is what I want and hope to be. I do not pick up on office politics or tensions between other people. In general, I want to interact with everyone.
I do not always know if you are making eye contact with me from across a room. I cannot always recognize you out of context in the hallways. And if your Skype is set to “busy” but I see you making small talk I do not know if it is an okay time to ask you a question or if it is still a signal not to be bothered.
I know I don’t get to talk to everyone in the day. I do not do this intentionally. I don’t know how to create social situations while still spending most of my energy focusing on my work. I do not wish to ignore anyone. Workdays take more energy for me.
Thank you for being so kind to me.