Safe Conversations


I talk to a lot of people at work each week. Most of them are people who I see regularly, and I get to know them after a while. There is a lot of small talk about weekend plans, weather, etc.; so it is no surprise when the topic of children comes up. People are always asking me if I have any children.

I usually answer with a simple, “Yes, we have one.” This leads to questions about gender and age. Sometimes it stops there, but often it continues into something along the lines of, “Oh, five is such a fun age….” And then goes on to conversation about what typical five year olds are like and what kind of things my daughter likes or enjoys doing.

It’s all very safe conversation for most people. But at some point, this line of questioning forces me to explain that my daughter has autism and is nonverbal. And, unless I am going to outright lie about the things she enjoys doing, I am going to need a disclaimer with my answer.

It’s not that I have a problem sharing this, it’s just that it changes the tone of the conversation a bit. The safe, barely-engaging banter we were both enjoying in our brief time together now suddenly becomes deeper than either of us had intended.  Continue reading