Yup, sentence-closing is only an issue with verbal communication. Part of the trouble is, as fast as my mouth can go, my brain goes that much faster and if something chucks a spanner in the works, I can get lost that way.
The second therapist I worked with was a woman - Colleen Emmens. She's Auckland-based, info here.
Timing is very important.
To throw some context around my story, I didn’t really understand that I could have been on the spectrum until I was 31. Funnily enough, it took a kind of meltdown – albeit a gentle one where I realised I just didn’t see the world the way others seemed to.
As I’d had a history of concussions (I was a magnet for them in my schoolboy league days) I wondered if perhaps I’d been affected by brain damage. I asked some questions, got some answers, and the most likely answer was Aspergers.
It took me three years to get a diagnosis. First came a terrible feeling of isolation, and then I felt like everything was unfair – because I’d have to work harder to understand and to communicate with the world than the world would have to do to get along with me. It just didn’t seem right.
I got over that, eventually, and put the work in. First I worked with a counsellor who specialised in helping men who were on the spectrum, and he gave me the basic building blocks for a new – or perhaps just modified – set of communication behaviours. I then moved on to a therapist who took the treatment and investigation further, and ultimately gave me a diagnosis.
I’m incredibly fortunate that I’m able to, for want of a better word, exploit my particular mutant powers into a good and productive career in journalism and communications. It turns out I can survive quite neatly even at the dreaded middle management level of the corporate hunger games.
I don’t walk about making a big deal of what I have, but I will spotlight it if it’s going to create distractions or deficiencies in our work, or in any interactions. For example, I’m prone to looping a conversation or otherwise repeating myself if I realise I don’t know how to close-off a verbal sentence. So rather than let that happen, I’ll just say I don’t know how to end the sentence, and move onto the next one.
Funnily enough, the one situation in which that doesn’t really happen is when I’m addressing very large audiences, and I’ll thank Russell again for his invitation to join a LATE at the Museum panel in 2013, which still ranks as my favourite public speaking experience.
Don't worry, Sacha. I only received a diagnosis in October - before then it was just educated guesswork. Since then, I have mentioned it only in Twitter yarns only when it would add value.
Not that I wouldn't love to take a more vocal position, stand up, and do some things.