Accessibility and Neurotypical Molds

neurotypical, accessibility, molds, Autistic

As wedding vendors, we have to be mindful of not expecting our potential clients to fit into some neurotypical mold of how we’ve established our workflow.

Many vendors encourage or even require face-to-face interactions (whether in-person or via Zoom), believing they’ll lead to more genuine connections. For many disabled and neurodivergent folks, communicating via email or text is oftentimes more accessible and intimate for us.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a circle of strangers, waiting for your turn to share your icebreaker response and repeating it in your head until your face turns red and you forget how sentences work because your shirt is pounding up and down like it’s on the set of Tremors, you’re not alone.

As someone who has anxiety and is Autistic, I am a much different version of myself when I’m on a phone or video call. For me, the lead up to the call itself is typically an hour of me staring at the clock, counting down the time and rehearsing potential responses internally. It’s just as draining as it sounds.

When I’m responding to emails, I’m able to sink into who I am fully and present my thoughts with care in a way that I just can’t perform spontaneously on a call. Because it does largely feel like a performance to get the part.

Be mindful of urgency popping up

We should all be embraced for who we are and how we communicate is a large part of that. Emails have always been my safe space, where I share the most raw version of myself. However, I try to be mindful of urgency popping up.

A friend shared the email signature below and asked that it be normalized:

“If you are receiving this email outside of your typical working hours, I hope you feel no pressure to read or respond until your schedule and workload permit.”

I often work when our kids are in bed, but I don’t expect clients to meet my hours, so I love the transparency there.

For me, I choose to let my clients take the lead in terms of how they’d like to communicate by removing neurotypical barriers or expectations like 1:1s and allowing them to express boundaries. I don’t ever want folks to experience that familiar feeling of sweating in the spotlight, waiting for someone to feed them their lines.

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