Sunday, July 16, 2023

A Brief Note On Neurodivergent Listening Styles

A colleague of mine posted about how they find it comforting and regulating in social conversation to also be on their phone. Here's my reply to that, and a good proto-article for the important topic of why  neurodivergent multitasking if often their way and need to pay better attention to you, while often signaling and being the exact opposite in neurotypical communication.


 I can unfortunately admit that, if I didn't know you at all, it'd feel the same way to be - feeling and perceiving that I'm being ignored. But .... if there's any discussion at all and I learn it soothes you, it'd probably very quickly stop bothering me.

Also, boy is there that complex "who's responsible". I super appreciate being asked. I can also (as co-responsibility) bring up the topic myself. "I'm feeling ignored, am I?". I think a bit of both can go a long way, and it's also about how others react.

Interestingly, I know some personality types who kinda hate being asked "is this okay" all the time, and operate on a "if there's a problem, I'll tell you, so don't ask!" wavelength with I try to respect but is hugely unnatural to me.

And in a better world, we'd all have "conflict" skills to chill the heck out about different needs and finding mutual accommodation solutions.

Whew, did not expect to go so deep on the reply. Partly to say - as long as I knew you were still attentive and engaging, not a problem scrolling, stretching, etc. A ton of neurodiverse people I know like doing some form of light multitasking and it's a super normative and ableist thing to demand that "full attention" is "best attention". Tons of ND crumple into all sort of dysregulation when normative "full and complete attention" is demanded.

Also one final warning label that some ND people, regardless of attention, are assholes just as much as some ND folks are assholes and aren't even trying to care. Which is very different than working within and accommodating an ND attention span while wanting and, in fact, actually, deeply caring. There's a difference.

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