As a child I was able to mask my weaker auditory processing skills (the process of brain interpreting sound). At school I just filled in the gaps when I didn’t know what was said like copying what others were doing or looking at what I had in front of me. At home I just said the weirdness that I heard and everyone would be like ‘how did you get that?’ However, as an adult my weaker auditory processing skills have become more of a barrier for me. There’s a lot of a higher demand to hear something first time and retain it, like at work someone will start to give you a few instructions to do and though you’ve heard it you haven’t retained or sometimes your brain is unable to translate the sounds into a word in your brain. So you get frustrated.
Something that neurotypical people take for granted is speaking on a phone. I loathe speaking on a phone. People may think that because I’m autistic I’d rather speak to someone on the phone than in person, that the social situation of seeing them face to face and reading their facial expression is worse than just hearing their voice. Well this couldn’t be further from the truth. Speaking on the phone relies solely on my auditory processing. For a long time I couldn’t explain why I hated the phone I just knew I did. It brings great anxiety because it is so hard for my brain to interpret what they are saying. There are many qualities to people’s voices: accents, pitch, inflection – all of these cloud my brain and make meaning so hard to interpret. The subtly of changing sound is not something my brain can cope with.
I was 19 before I ordered my first takeaway over the phone.
I always get my mum to make calls for me about banking queries or professional things like that.
My mum has to also book appointments for me.
I’ll avoid answering the phone at all costs passing it over to someone else.
I never answer my mobile if I don’t recognise the number.
I’ll make up so many excuses to not answer the phone.
If I have to answer a phone I panic and miss most of the message, might as well have left it to answer phone.
I almost immediately forget what has been said or doubt I heard what I did.
All of the above mean that the phone is something I fear. I could never work in an office or as a receptionist or anywhere that involves answering phones. That’s why I like working at a school I don’t have to do these things as a TA I don’t have to call parents or liaise with other agencies. One big reason, there are a few big reasons, I’m nervous about moving into teaching is the amount I would have to use the phone. Something so small as making a phone call that people do all the time is a near impossible task for me and is such a barrier in my everyday life. Don’t take auditory processing for granted. I couldn’t even think how bad it would be if I didn’t live in the internet age!
Thanks for reading. Hope you like it. Peace out!