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Phone a Friend Before you call the actual office for an appointment, it’s a great idea to have someone you trust go through all the steps with you.
Our coaches help clients prepare for important phone calls and sit with clients while they make the call to support them until they feel confident enough making calls on their own.
Many times, people with ASD just take the first appointment that they are offered.
Sometimes they may not be aware that they can say no thank you and either suggest another day/time or request another appointment time.
So given all this context, what can someone do if using the telephone gives them the sweats?
Find What Works When you call for an appointment, the secretary (or whoever else may answer) will often suggest an appointment day/time.
Have you ever made a phone call to schedule an appointment and the person answers and asks, “how may I help you…” and then you freeze. You have to give an explanation of why you’re calling, you have to summarize for this gatekeeper to schedule, and you have no idea what that person will then ask you next!
Your friend (or Autism coach) can also help you prepare for a call back to schedule an appointment.
This causes the telephone experience to be stressful.
Even if a person with ASD imagines a script of how the phone conversation might go, as soon as the actual conversation deviates from the script, that person might not know what to say or do.
This is a common practice with psychologists or talk therapists, for example.
If you know in advance that you’ll be leaving a voicemail, you can prepare a script of what to say–your name, the general reason you’re calling, and the best phone number to reach you.