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Do you struggle with verbal instructions?

Verbal instructions are something I’ve always grappled with. 

It wasn’t until my autism ADHD diagnosis in my mid-40s that I started to understand why I found them so difficult.

Before my diagnosis, if someone gave me a string of verbal instructions, I needed them to be repeated three or four times, and even then I still wouldn’t remember them.

What frequently happened?

I’d go away and do something very different from what was asked of me.

That was hard, particularly when I worked in a corporate environment where my manager would ask me to do something – give me a string of verbal instructions – and I’d walk away absolutely clueless.

Often, I’d do the work and it would be wrong, or I’d go off on some wild tangent. 

When I delivered something entirely different from what was asked of me, I felt shame and embarrassment.

Does that sound like you?

You’re absolutely not alone.

Being autistic or ADHD can mean we process information very differently.

If you struggle taking in, absorbing and retaining verbal instructions, ask for them to be provided in writing.

Or, email the person who gave you the instructions and say:

Can I just clarify ‘xyz’ is what you need from me?

I wish I’d learned to do that sooner.

It would have saved an awful lot of time doing work that wasn’t relevant. 

If you need to ask for written instructions or something to be provided in a way that’s digestible and manageable for you, that’s completely valid.

If you struggle with verbal instructions, I’d love to hear from you. 

Reach out to me on my socials – @autisticjoyologist / Nikki Butler – The Autistic Joyologist | Facebook – or email me: [email protected].

I know what it feels like to not fit in, so my mission is to help neurodivergent women shine.

I’d love to support you on your journey – I understand you and have been where you are.

Nikki x