Friday, August 12, 2022

What to Say Next: Successful Communication in Work, Life, and Love—with Autism Spectrum Disorder, by Sarah Nannery (author), Larry Nannery (author), Kelsey Navarro (narrator)

Simon & Schuster Audio, ISBN 9781797116150, March 2021

Sarah Nannery, as a young professional with autism spectrum disorder, got her first job at a small non-profit, sure she knew what she needed to do to move ahead. Instead, she found she was missing messages and hidden meanings in her coworkers texts, emails, conversations, and actions.

After a particularly confusing and frustrating experience, she started consulting her neurotypical husband Larry. This became a series of consultations mostly via text. Sarah learns more about how neurotypicals think, and how to communicate. Along the way, Larry and Sarah learn more about communicating with each other, and raising, managing, and communicating with their autistic son.

There's a lot of good information here, good guidance for those with ASD in working with the neurotypical majority, and for the neurotypicals working with autistic coworkers--and honestly I think, for anyone working in groups, whether ASD or neurotypical.

As someone who grew up as an undiagnosed autistic girl in the 50s and 60s, it really hit me in the feels to listen to the parts about Sarah working out what routines and patterns help her ASD son cope, and how to manage those occasions when the plan has to change. I remember, all too clearly, trying to communicate what was wrong when sudden changes in plan, that seemed minor to everyone else, flipped me into meltdown. It wasn't that no one cared, but for sure no one understood why I was "being so difficult."

Some of the advice and guidance here for navigating a professional environment, I worked out on my own, painfully and with great frustration. Others, I never did. I made myself into the person everyone brought the weird questions to, because I'm good at it, it's fun, and it's of real value, but I remained, quite unintentionally, a somewhat difficult person to work with--and I had no idea why the people around me were so confusing and difficult.

This is a really interesting and useful book.


I bought this audiobook.

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