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User stories: Autism

Using Microsoft Teams – during the current home working period, our team has been having a twice weekly catch up via Teams. As an autistic person I find Teams difficult for a couple of reasons.

I can’t use a headset, as my brain interprets the sounds as pain, so had to obtain a wireless handset. This improved my experience from a purely sensory perspective, but there are other barriers to overcome.

We don’t use cameras. I can understand people’s reluctance, however for me, it’s a nightmare. If you are just listening, it’s difficult to work out when someone has finished saying their bit – autistic people struggle with conversation and knowing when it’s our turn to speak. This is exacerbated when all you are looking at is a grey circle! There are no visual clues to pick up on, and what’s more my colleagues don’t know from looking at me, whether I have something to say. With the result that sometimes two or more of us end up speaking at the same time!

Think I’m going to have to persuade my colleagues to use cameras, lockdown hair or not…