Balanced communication

The radio programme by autistic people was meant to be prepared soon and as you are aware I was looking forward to it but at the same time deciding what to say was giving me loads of distress. Writing was always coming much more easily for me than speaking, even in Polish so that is not a language barrier, but as I remember, my posts used to be very stiff when I just started blogging so I thought my speaking will also improve, however I didn’t see that happening. I can answer questions but that’s about it. However, preparing a programme would require much more than that and just yesterday I realised I can’t accept this commitment.

It took me loads of time to decide how to communicate that to Shirley. We, autistics, seem to be focused on giving reasons for things, but Shirley was aware I was having this problem so referring to it again in a goodbye email didn’t make sense to me. I am also having the impression that when neurotypicals see real reasons for things in official communication, they see it as accusation, as like if we’re saying that they should have done more. I am not sure if I’m getting that 100 percent right, I may ask somebody when I have a chance but that is my impression and I wanted to avoid that as there was nothing more that Shirley could have done and being a volunteer gave me the chance to improve my communication and also to create some great posts.

I am aware that when neurotypicals say they decided to leave it all looks like ‘the time here was great and I wouldn’t change anything but it’s time for me to go.’ However, when people say things like that it doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever, because if it was so great, why would they want to leave and go somewhere new where they don’t know how things are going to be. This type of communication makes me think like people are hiding something so I didn’t want to copy it.

I needed to come up with something balanced and general, but still something that could be used as an evidence that I had a great time there and I appreciate it; something that the manager could show to someone while looking for funding maybe?

It took me a few hours to write, but obviously it’s an experience I can use to prepare similar correspondence much quicker if needed in the future.

Do you think I did ok?

Subject: With a heavy heart

Dear Shirley,

I’ve been doing some thinking recently about everything that happened in the radio since I started and, unfortunately, I realised the experience is not for me.
Blogging gives me so much more flow and freedom of expression that I feel I will never be able to achieve in the radio.

I do apologise this is almost last minute cancellation and I am aware I led you believe I am serious about my plans, and I was at the time. However, as it often happens with me, it takes a while to take stock of everything that is happening and assess how this will affect me.

Please send my regards to everyone else and especially other autistic volunteers; I’m sure the programme will still be smashing.

I didn’t get to know you a lot at all, although on some level I feel like I know you already, if you know what I mean.
Feel free to have a look at my blog, I’m including the link here if you by any chance lost it.

I made a big shift with my digital art recently, so wanted to give you some as a little thank you, but as I don’t even know your favourite colour, I thought I’d give you two choices. If you like any of them, feel free to print it out and hang on the wall.

I wish you and the station all the best for all future endeavours.

Kind regards,


Shirley responded asking if I’d like to contribute in a different way. I’ll need to think about what that could be though. It would be good but I am not great with speaking; we already tried that and it really doesn’t seem to be working. I need to remember that just because an opportunity is there it doesn’t mean I have to take it and this is not something that I instinctively understand.

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