Accommodation Note from Mia
Whenever possible (and it almost always is), I prefer written communication rather than phone or video calls. We can email, text, or message on any platform that works for you! You are also welcome to send voice or video messages, if you prefer or require talking out loud. This is essentially an accommodation I give myself as a disabled individual to protect my time and energy.
In a list of accommodations for accessible language & facilitation, The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) includes: "Conduct meetings online when possible (via an Instant Message chat service, such as Skype--no phone or video, text only). Phone conversations and/or meetings can pose a problem for Autistics who have Auditory Processing Disorder and who might struggle with voice as opposed to text. IM chats also often provide a workable solution to address social anxiety issues."
Personally, although I am technically capable of attending and participating in a phone or video call, they often cause me to procrastinate work or avoid opportunities due to the anticipation of anxiety, discomfort, and burnout. Rather than trying to determine on a case-by-case basis if an opportunity or requested meeting is "worth it," I have decided to make this accommodation my default -- for my health, to optimize my energy and productivity, and to reserve social battery for my personal life.
According to The Job Accommodation Network, "Some individuals benefit from having directions and other instructions provided in writing...communicating through email when possible, providing transcripts of meetings, using agendas for trainings, and having checklists for tasks." Similarly, "Individuals who have difficulty communicating orally may be able to communicate effectively by typing, writing, or using sign language." The Attention Deficit Disorder Association also includes "Request[ing] instructions, questions and memos in writing when possible" as a common and highly effective accommodation. In addition to being best for me in the moment, written communication allows me to remember and look back on conversations I've had and information that has been exchanged.
I am choosing to divulge this information not because I feel obligated to defend or explain myself, but because it helps me to organize my thoughts, put my decison in writing, provide information to those who are curious, and hopefully be an example for others who may be in a similar position looking to advocate for themselves. I am grateful that being self-employed, I am able to make this decision for myself, and that I am in a position where I feel safe disclosing my disability, as I realize many are not. I hope to raise awareness and do my part in shifting the entertainment industry toward more accessible communication options not only for neurodivergent people like myself, but also for others, including the deaf community and those with anxiety or depression.
I understand that getting to know someone is often easier when you can see their face or hear their voice, and human connection is no small part of networking, collaborating, building trust, or forming partnerships in the entertainment industry or otherwise. However, it is not the only way, and requiring vocal or visual presence creates a barrier that leaves many people behind.
Thank you for reading & we appreciate your understanding!
Texting & Instant Messaging Solutions: https://askjan.org/solutions/Instant-Messaging-and-Texting-Solutions-for-Businesses.cfm
ADHD Accommodation Guide: https://adhdatwork.add.org/adhd-accommodation-guide/
ADA Fact Sheet: https://adata.org/factsheet/reasonable-accommodations-workplace
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