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Using her personal experience living as a professional woman with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sarah Nannery, together with her husband, Larry, offers this timely communication guide for anyone on the Autism spectrum looking to successfully navigate work, life, and love.
When Sarah Nannery got her first job at a small nonprofit, she thought she knew exactly what it would take to advance. But soon she realized that even with hard work and conscientiousness, she was missing key meanings and messages embedded in her colleagues’ everyday requests, feedback, and praise. She had long realized her brain operated differently than others, but now she knew for sure: she had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
With help from her neurotypical partner—now husband—Larry, mostly in frantic IM chats, Sarah rose to Director of Development at one of the world’s largest nonprofits. Together they have tackled challenges in how Sarah navigates personal and professional relationships, how they navigate marriage and parenthood, all of which are differently challenging for someone with ASD. But she wonders, at times, how life would be different if she’d had to figure it all out herself. So, in What to Say Next, she offers advice, empathy, and straightforward strategies from her own tool-kit—not only for others who see the world differently, but for their families, partners and colleagues.
In What to Say Next, Sarah breaks down everyday situations—the chat in the break room, the last-minute meeting, the unexpected run-in—in granular detail, explaining not only how to understand the goals of others, but also how to frame your own. Larry adds his thoughts from a neurotypical perspective, sharing what was going on in his brain and how he learned to listen and enlighten, while supporting and maintaining Sarah’s voice. At a time when more and more people are being diagnosed with ASD—especially women and girls—this book tells important truths about what it takes to make it in a neurotypical world, and still be true to yourself.
About the Author
Sarah Nannery is Director of Development for Autism Programming at Drexel University. She holds a master’s degree in conflict transformation, and was recently diagnosed with Autism.
Larry Nannery is a technology consultant, with experience in organizational change and life coaching along with a lifelong love of communication.
"This remarkable book offers not only a roadmap for skillful professional communication, but also a unique glimpse inside the complex autistic mind. One of the book’s strengths is its goal of bidirectional growth – helping a person on the autism spectrum adapt to the workplace, and also helping others in the workplace welcome and empower their autistic coworker. I am left with a profound respect for the immense effort people on the spectrum exert to process social nuances. If neurotypicals exerted even half of this energy to understand autistics, the workplace – and world – would be much more welcoming." —Diana Robins, Ph.D., Director of the A. J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University
"Effective comprehension of written, spoken and non-verbal language hinges on one’s ability to accurately process, interpret and apply words, phrases, context and semantics. No easy feat if you are on the spectrum. Building from their own experiences as a neurodiverse couple, the Nannerys offer readers insight, analysis and adaptable strategies that culminate into an invaluable resource for autistics searching to establish meaningful and successful interpersonal and professional communications. But at its core, this book is a great instruction manual for anyone interested in building good communication skills in this ever changing world we live in."—Liane Holliday-Willey, EdD author of Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life