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Has No Idea What They Are Talking About

, , , | Healthy | April 22, 2018

(I am seventeen years old, and claim disability benefit. Part of my autism means that I cannot speak over the phone — I literally start shaking and have a panic attack if my phone so much as starts ringing. Usually this is not a problem, as my mum will talk for me if it’s an urgent call, and the words, “Does not speak on phone,” are plastered all over my documents and disability claim form. Unfortunately, though, we’ve had some variation of this conversation too many times.)

Caller: “Hello, this is [Disability Allowance]. What can we do for you today?”

Mum: “Hi, I’m calling on behalf of my daughter.” *explains problem*

Caller: “Okay, [My Name]—”

Mum: “No, I’m her mother.”

Caller: “You’re not [My Name]?”

Mum: “No.”

Caller: “Oh, okay. Who are you? Are you the power of attorney?”

Mum: “No, I’m just her mother. She can speak for herself, just not over the phone.”

Caller: “That’s not allowed. We have to speak to [My Name].”

Mum: “But she can’t—”

Caller: “We’re not allowed to have this discussion with you without her direct consent, even if you are a blood relative. Is she there?”

Mum: “Yes, but—”

Caller: “Please pass us over to [My Name], or I will have to terminate this call. All she needs to do is give consent for you to talk on her behalf.”

Mum: *giving me an apologetic look* “So, let me get this straight… You want my autistic daughter to talk to you over the phone, to tell you she can’t talk over the phone?

Caller: “Yes.”