1. Only give me one idea at a time. It boggles me to have to respond to multiple ideas.
2. Please don’t interrupt while I’m typing with new ideas. This confuses me; do you want me to respond to idea 1 or idea 2? I don’t think you know, really, and of course neither do I.
3. Don’t get weirded out if one of us refers to “talking.” I do talk. Sometimes I talk with my voice, and other times I talk with my iPod. It’s all talking.
4. Don’t expect a normal pace of conversation. I type fast, but not as fast as you talk. Patience, grasshopper.
5. Don’t be surprised if I sound somehow different when I’m typing. When I type, I am better able to express my feelings, wants, and needs… I will tell you if you’ve upset me or done something wrong; I will ask you to please stop this or that; I will tell you that something hurt my feelings. This is all normal to discuss, just maybe not what you’re used to from me.
6. Don’t tiptoe. If you bug me or upset me, chances are I’ll tell you (or, more likely, hold my hand up)… point is, you’ll know if I don’t like it.
7. Normal rules of conversation apply. You talk, I talk, you talk, I talk.
8. Also, just talk normally! Most (not all) of the time, my receptive language skills aren’t that bad (not average, but not horrible, either). If you’re going to fast or if it’s too noisy for me to understand… guess what?… I’ll tell you!
9. Silence is OKAY! If you talk and then it’s silent while I type, please don’t keep talking… this will keep me from typing!
10. If you don’t understand the device (because Heather- sorry, my Heather, but that’s her name- can be tough to understand), just say, “Sorry, didn’t catch that” or similar. I prefer not to just let you read because that takes away my voice, but in a pinch, that does.
11. Don’t talk around, over, under, through… you get the idea… me. I’m here, I can’t talk. Don’t direct questions to whomever I’m with, and please don’t engage my mom or staff in extended conversation and just leave me out to dry. If you slow down and give me a sec, I can join in, too.
12. Please don’t grab my iPod for any reason!
13. I do not like to be shown off. I am a perfectly normal 23-year-old girl, and I like to be treated like one and not a spectacle.
14. That whole finishing my sentences thing? So over that. Not okay.
15. Don’t try to tell me that “it’s just me!” or “you don’t have to be anxious around me!” or anything similar. When I talk, I can talk. When I can’t, I type. You don’t need to be worried about why I’m doing what at whatever time. Most of the time, I have no idea why or when I’ll have or lose words. Just go with it; that’s what I do.