July 22, 2021

When someone teaches me a new process, I usually ask them to go slow. Historically, this has helped me to stay calm amid an onslaught of new information.

Today, however, I learned that speed is not the issue. What my brain actually needs is a pause at every transition, and the right to decide when I’m ready to keep going.

Before each step, it helps to hear: “This is what I’m about to do. Are you ready to see me do it?”

And after each step, I like to hear: “That part’s done. Are you ready to hear what I plan to do next?”

Sometimes, I’m ready immediately. Other times, I have clarifying questions. Most times, I need a moment to figure out how I feel.

Going slow has a similar effect, because it gives me a chance to interrupt before the next step – putting my foot on the brakes. But getting to choose when the lights turn green is even better.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.