The phrase “but you don’t look autistic” presupposes autism as an “other,” ostracizing autistic people from the conversation and discounting the community’s diverse lived experiences. So how do we respond to anti-autistic microaggressions, and what can we do to foster a sense of belonging through inclusive language?

To help us unpack this loaded question, Brave Conversations with LCW Host Larry Baker (he/him) is joined by Becca Lory Hector (she/her), who shares her lived experience as an openly Autistic Professional on a mission to close the disability gap in leadership.

After tuning in to the conversation, we encourage you to share your takeaways on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Meet Our Guest

Becca Lory Hector
Lead Consultant and Founder, Truly Inclusive Leadership
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-Fi | Website

Becca Lory Hector is an openly Autistic Professional on a mission to close the disability gap in leadership by working with companies to attract and retain disabled talent via their DEIB initiatives. Becca was diagnosed autistic as an adult and has since become a dedicated autism and neurodiversity advocate, researcher, consultant, speaker, and author. In addition to her work in DEIB, she is focused on autistic quality of life research, and her personal development course called ‘Self Defined Living: A Path to a Quality Autistic Life. All with the goal of spreading acceptance, building understanding, and encouraging self-advocacy. She is also an animal lover with a special affinity for cats who spends most of her “free” time with her many animals, her husband Antonio, and her Emotional Support Animal (ESA), Sir Walter Underfoot.

Show Notes & Highlights

5:15  Becca shares her personal experience with coded language and autism

8:52  Becca explainssome societal barriers and disclosure of disability

13:52  Becca breaks down the connection between unconscious bias and privilege

18:58  Becca defines stigma, bias, and ableism

27:32  Becca gives examples of responding to microaggressions in different scenarios

30:51  Becca talks about being an ally through authentic curiosity

Show Transcript

Larry Baker: Hello, and welcome to Decoded: Brave Conversations with LCW. I’m your host, Larry Baker, and I use he/him pronouns.

For those of you unfamiliar with LCW, we are a global DEI training, consulting, and translation firm that partners with organizations to develop mindsets, skills, and systems to succeed in a culturally diverse world.

This season we’re unpacking coded language in the workplace. “Coded language” refers to phrases that could be potentially masking bias, or quips that may have unintended negative impact. Each episode we’ll discuss the real meaning and implications of a new coded phrase, how it connects to larger systemic issues, and then hear personal stories and some tips to help us notice and call in bias.

So thank you for joining us today on Decoded: Brave Conversations with LCW. Today’s phrase that we’re going to take a look at is “But you don’t look autistic.” So this phrase, “but you don’t look autistic,” presupposes autism as an “other,” or ostracizing autistic people from the conversation and discounting the community’s diverse lived experiences.

So today we’re gonna talk about how do we respond to anti-autistic microaggressions and what we can do to foster a sense of belonging through inclusive language. To help me unpack this conversation, I am joined by Lead Consultant and Founder of Truly Inclusive Leadership, Becca Lory Hector, who uses the pronouns of she and her. And I’m gonna give Becca an opportunity to introduce herself in a moment.

But this is the phrase that we’re going to tackle, and I think that this phrase has so many wide-reaching implications. And Becca, I’m super excited for you to join us on today to kind of break this term down. So Becca, I gave you a very cheap introduction, so I want to give you the opportunity to expound on who you are and what you do. So Becca, if you would, thank you.

Becca Lory Hector: I appreciate that so much. I like to say that I’m a lot of things cuz I wear a lot of hats and that list gets long, but really my whole mission and everything is to kind of affect the changes that we need in our workplaces by helping to close the employment disability gap. It’s a big issue for us, and it affects a huge portion of our population.

So that’s something that I’m really working towards, and what that looks like out in the world is a lot of DEIB consulting, so diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging consulting. And I say that because that was the way that the disabled community was finally heard about the workplace—we snuck in in under that DEI mission. For a really long time, we were left out of that conversation. So we finally made it into the DEI conversation, and I’m able to do consulting and change up the workplaces via that. That’s what I do.

Larry Baker: Awesome. Thank you so much, Becca. And how long have you been engaged in this work?

Becca Lory Hector: I’ve been really actively focused on this work for the last three years. Prior to that, I’ve been focused on just autism and neurodiversity segment of the disabled population cuz I was diagnosed autistic myself almost 11 years ago now at the age of 36. So I’ve been in nonprofit advocacy and nonprofit management for the last 10 years.

Larry Baker: Awesome. Thank you so much for that, Becca. So, Becca, as we hop into our conversation around this phrase, one thing that I do want to acknowledge is that we truly do understand that in many cases when people are making this phrase, “but you don’t look autistic,” it’s almost from a point of not having any harmful intentions, if you will. So if you could share with me just a little bit of insight on your personal experience with this phrase—How does it make you feel? How do you interpret when someone says that? So if you could gimme just a little bit of your own personal experiences around this phrase, “but you don’t look autistic.”

Becca Lory Hector: Absolutely. For me, that phrase obviously entered my life a lot later than for some people. I was 36 years old, and I got a new identity label and I had to figure it out at 36. So there was a lot of work surrounding it. But what I understood as I entered into the community was that people were saying it like it was a compliment. The people that were saying it to me were saying it in the same way that people say, “You don’t sound Black.”

Larry Baker: Yes. Yes.

Becca Lory Hector: It marries that parallel, right? It’s a really similar thing: you’re saying that to me like it’s a compliment, and that’s a huge insult. Like, what do you mean by that? What is the baggage behind that statement?

Larry Baker: Absolutely.

Becca Lory Hector: So for us as autistic people, the baggage behind that statement is autism doesn’t have a look. All of us look different because we’re all different human beings, and there is no look to autism.

It also digs up layers and layers of trauma for us where we have been invalidated about our experiences, where we’ve been told that, “No, you’re not autistic. You’re just weird or unique or this or that. Or broken.” Which was what a lot of us heard. And so there’s that layer to it.

Now all of these years later, it’s like an ironic red flag of a toxic human being to me. If somebody says it to me now—10 years into advocacy, seeing the world change, watching people talk about DEI issues, talk about microaggressions, talk about bias, talk about all of these things—if you’re still saying, “But you don’t look autistic,” I know the level of human I’m dealing with. It tells me something about you now.

Larry Baker: That’s awesome, Becca. And that just shows the amount of work that’s going to have to go into engaging in that conversation. I love how you made the parallel about the fact that when this phrase is used, it’s typically viewed as a compliment, and it absolutely resonated with me when you said, “Oh, you don’t sound Black” or “You don’t act like other Black people ” like that’s a compliment. And the way you tied it in with the whole correlation to the association with being Black is being broken or there’s something that’s not right with being Black. So that connection is absolutely something that I receive and that really, really resonates with me. So I absolutely appreciate you doing that.

It leads me to another thought process that I’d like you to venture into with me because you talked about how you are such a proponent of breaking down those barriers in the workplace for individuals with autism. Can you talk to me a little bit about what are some of the barriers that an individual might face when they choose to disclose that they’re autistic? Can you talk a little bit about that? You can do it for the workplace or you can do it for society. I’m gonna let you pick.

Becca Lory Hector: I have to tell you, I’m gonna talk to you about society because to me, the workplace is just a microcosm of our society.

Larry Baker: Agreed.

Becca Lory Hector: Same rules should apply, if they don’t, I’m sorry that’s not the case for you. So that’s how I really look at it. And the thing is that when we’re talking about these issues, there’s the current state of affairs and how we wanna deal with it now, and then there’s our wishes and dreams and hopes for the future and what it would look like.

So when we talk about disclosure, I always wanna start with please understand that having the ability to choose disclosure is a privilege. Some people have a on-the-outside visible version of their disability that they can’t, you know what I mean? Like if the bias is someone’s seeing them walking, it’s happening. When you have an invisible disability that people can’t see those supports you need—like those are not external supports that you need or they can’t see your external challenges—you then live in a small land of privilege. You’ve taken a step into privilege because of the way our world is structured, the hierarchy of our world. So I now have the option as someone with an invisible disability to choose disclosure or not, and that already puts me in a step ahead of a lot of people, a step ahead of a lot of the bias and discrimination and all of that.

So I lead a conversation on disclosure and remind you that it’s a privilege to be in a conversation about it, to be able to have that conversation. Then I talk about it realistically—is it safe to disclose an invisible disability in our current workplace? I would say no. Not right now. I would say unless you are a hundred percent secure in your job or if you lose it, you don’t care or if you are running your own business and that is under your control. Unless you are in those circumstances, I do not advise disclosure in the workplace.

There are ways that you can ask for the things that you need without necessarily disclosing your disability. I say that because currently our workplaces are full of stigma, bias, and ableism, and until that changes, it’s not safe to disclose. There’s currently still repercussions for disclosure, whether they are overt and documented or less overt and not documented, like bullying and gaslighting and things like that. But there are absolutely repercussions of folks knowing that you are different in some way or that you belong to a marginalized community in some way. And if you are not a strong person mentally, physically, whatever, it’s not always smart to have to take on that extra weight that it means to be open. It’s unwise.

So that’s where we’re at now. What I hope for is a world in which disclosure doesn’t count, or we don’t even have conversations about disclosure—where our workplaces are built under concepts of universal design and anticipating the differing needs of all different human beings, that those needs are met ahead of time, and folks don’t need to disclose something personal about themselves in order to have their needs met. They don’t have to separate themselves.

Larry Baker: That is such an amazing concept of that doing it beforehand, the anticipation that you’re going to have to make those accommodations for individuals.

But you touched upon a couple of things that I’d like for you to dig a little bit deeper in. You talked about this whole concept of individuals with invisible disabilities, they have a certain level of privilege. Can you break that down? Because I think that when most people hear that phrase, “privilege…” and I know from conversations that I have around the topic of privilege, that is the phrase that shuts people down the most. And the reason why it shuts people down is because I don’t feel like they truly understand the definition of privilege.

Becca Lory Hector: Correct. I was gonna say that.

Larry Baker: Because the assumption that most people have when we say privilege is that your life was easy. You didn’t have to work hard. That has nothing to do with what we’re talking about with privilege because my definition of privilege, it’s not about the things that you had to go through to accomplish what you accomplished; it’s the things that you didn’t have to go through to accomplish what you accomplished.

So talk to me a little bit about that, how you present to individuals with invisible disabilities that they have a privilege. Because I know they’re saying to you, Becca, “I have autism. How do I have privilege?” Can you talk a little bit about that conversation?

Becca Lory Hector: So here’s the thing: inherently, human beings have bias. It’s called unconscious bias. It has to do with being raised by who you were raised by, where you were raised, and all of those things. And whether when you grew up, you decided to throw that to the wind and say, “I am gonna start all over and recreate these things for myself” or you continue to live under what you were taught, either way, everyone has their own version of unconscious bias, right?

Larry Baker: Absolutely.

Becca Lory Hector: When I step into a room, whether or not I identify as a woman or all of those things, the first thing people will see is that I’m a woman. They will then notice that I’m a white woman. What they will not notice is that I’m autistic because they can’t see it. It goes back to that “you don’t look autistic.” So you don’t see it, and the problem is that autistic people are currently categorized as either high or low functioning. We also get different levels sometimes, which is the current way we are diagnosed. And folks like to try to look at the spectrum as though there’s two ends of it: you’re very autistic or not autistic at all. And it’s not like that. We all kind of present differently.

So some people you can visually, externally see their support needs. And you as an outsider experience their challenges with them because you see that they have external supports. We say “externally presenting.” They have “externally presenting autism.” It has nothing to do with their abilities or their inabilities or their strengths or their weaknesses. Just fact, you can see that they need support.

I, however, have a lot of internal challenges. A lot of my challenges have to do with self-regulation and sensory issues and executive functioning issues and depression and anxiety and things people can’t see, yet they are disabling to me. The supports that I need for them, you don’t experience, and that puts me in a place of privilege. I step in, and I get to choose which one of people’s unconscious biases I want them to have. Do I wanna deal with all three of them? Do I not wanna deal with that third one today? And that is a privilege.

Larry Baker: That’s good. That is amazing, Becca. And I thank you for breaking that down because, again, that word privilege tends to shut people down because they want to use it in a way that it’s not specific to whatever we’re saying.

Becca Lory Hector: Correct, and I hate that as a disabled person because that language has been co-opted. People took the word, and it started being a thing with air quotes. And now people think that that thing with air quotes is the thing that the word means. It happened to the word “accommodations” for people who are disabled. People hear that, they go, “ADA, oh my God, lawsuit.” And it’s like, no, no, no, I’m asking can I control the lighting in my room. That’s an accommodation.

So it’s a co-option of language. My language was stolen from me. The ability to use the language I need was taken from me. And the disabled community is now in the place that the civil rights community was in, that the LGBTQ community was in. We are in those footsteps. It’s not like we can’t anticipate what’s coming. The charge has been led. We can see where it’s going.

So that’s where we’re at in that space, like reclaim our language, take back our culture.

Larry Baker: I love that statement because for me personally, reclaiming our language… that’s one of the biggest concepts that I focus on when we talk about the word “woke.” People have hijacked the word “woke” to make it mean something that it never was intended to mean. But because I want to control the narrative, I take these words and I hijack them so that I don’t have to deal with it. If I demonize this word to such a level, it insulates me from having to engage in these conversations. So I absolutely agree with you, Becca.

The other thing that you said that I really want you to give me some examples of—because in my mind, I kind of know what examples would relate to these two—but I want you to give me some specifics. So you talked about stigma bias and ableism bias. Can you give me some examples of what that looks like? And it could be in the workplace or again, like you said, society primarily, but the workplace is a microcosm of society. But can you give me some examples for people that may be like, “Yeah, I still don’t get it.” Give me an example.

Becca Lory Hector: We’re gonna get a little bit nasty though, right?

Larry Baker: That’s fine.

Becca Lory Hector: Because this is it. These are the hot topics. This is what real people are dealing with on a regular basis. People don’t like these words. They’re fiery. A lot of time, I use the word “bias.” It’s a little softer than discrimination. But really, bias is discrimination. That’s what it is. It’s when you have the bias and you act upon that bias is discrimination. So that’s the area that we’re talking about in here.

When we talk about stigma, we’re talking about that unconscious bias but the global unconscious bias. So sort of a societal belief about a group of people. For example, the word “disabled.” It’s become a dirty word in our society. Disabled people do not feel dirty about the word “disabled.” We will use it all over. You don’t have to tiptoe around us and say “differently abled” or “special needs” or any of that stuff. We’re not afraid of that word, but the world is afraid to use it because they made it a scary word. And so now it’s a word people whisper behind your back. Now it’s a word that people use to make you a difficult employee, and we create myths around these words.

I’ll give you a workplace example. There are a huge amount of myths about disabled people in the workplace. There are endless amounts. My favorite is that we’re more expensive to have as employees, that we are more difficult to have as employees. Not true. None of that is true. But if you look back into history, those same excuses get used for other marginalized groups too, right?

Larry Baker: Absolutely.

Becca Lory Hector: It’s the way they are controlling the narrative. It’s that piece. So that’s the stigma that we deal with. I walk in, people have a concept of what disabled means in their head, and it kind of covers the whole organization or whatever group I’m dealing with. I can guess that’s the majority belief in that room: stigma.

Bias is a belief in some way, shape, or form that one group of people is better than another group of people or one way of being, one way of looking, one way of acting, one way is better than some other group, that there’s a hierarchy out there in some way of human nature. And that hierarchy, creates this idea of bias that somebody’s better than somebody else. That somehow the people that are all the same are better than the people that are different.

And that’s why we built our workplaces for sameness. We built it around that concept that we should all work the same way, put out the same amount of work, work the same amount of hours, work the same days of the week, all of that stuff. And what that does is leave marginalized groups out. Because if you’re part of that sameness group, that’s a privilege.

So there’s that bias immediately. It’s everywhere. It’s not even just in our workplaces, right? Ableism—I am gonna use the word here, so get ready—I equate to racism. It is that serious. It is exactly the same thing. It is those inherent biases that exist within our language, our societal norms, our public spaces, our employment space, whatever it is that that exist and are allowed to exist freely that discount disabled people, that leave us out. That is the ableism.

What does that look like? It looks different for all the different disabilities. What can it look like? It can look like having a deaf employee but not ensuring that captions are happening at your meetings, or there’s no translator. It’s about requiring everyone to be on camera in meetings because otherwise they’re not really there, which isn’t true. Some people are shy on camera. They never chose to be on camera in their lives. They just wanna do their job. And also, whether or not your hair is clean and done and you’ve brushed your teeth that morning doesn’t necessarily affect whether or not you can do your job or whether you can make that meeting. Let’s be real—that’s a made up thing. And when we put in those made up barriers, we discount the people who actually need to be off camera or who actually are feeling physically disabled that day and don’t have the energy to shower, and so they can’t be on camera.

Larry Baker: And you know what, Becca, that’s one of the things that… and you know, full transparency for me because 90% of what I do is facilitated sessions. Now, in this more recent environment, they’ve turned into more virtual sessions. So my interaction with people, they are less and less face-to-face, and that was one of the things that I had to consciously mitigate my bias towards individuals that didn’t have the camera on.

So until I became aware that that is actually something that may inhibit someone’s ability to fully engage in the session, I didn’t know. I felt like it was about me. It was about my perspective. It was about how I wanted the classroom to be represented, and it was absolutely a shift for me to say, “No, I need to meet other folks’ needs, and it’s not about them focusing on meeting my needs.” So I’m so glad that you brought that out as an example.

Becca Lory Hector: And really it’s actually about paying attention to our human needs, I think. Like it’s about your needs too. I’m sure there are days when you’re like, “Man, I can be there and I can give you the stuff, but I just can’t smile today. I’m sorry. And so camera off” Or something like that. We all have our days and it doesn’t mean we don’t wanna be there, and it doesn’t mean that we’re not doing our best work. It just means we need a little flexibility around our humanity. Like, be cool if today I can’t use a camera, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It doesn’t mean that I’m not there.

And it is, it’s a shift in habits. But that’s what the whole world is asking for right now. We’ve integrated this new pronoun thing, right? You even introduced me with my pronouns. We all have to learn that. I had to learn it. I have to consciously still as a almost 50-year-old woman, I have to be like, “Nope. Don’t just assume. Say ‘they’ instead just in case” and things like that because I’m still learning. And not only am I learning, but I’m also trying to relearn old habits, which is really hard the older you get. So there’s some kindness to self in there for that learning curve and having to know that. And you also hope that the groups that you’re doing it for appreciate that you’re trying. And all of those things.

So it’s about all of us, all of this flexibility and this ask for our needs to be met is like, cuz we left our humanness out of so much for so long to chase the almighty dollar or whatever the concept was. The power or whatever people want. But that means that a whole lot of people are unhappy all the time.

Larry Baker: That’s great—that human element that we tend to overlook so much because, again, in pursuit of x, y, or z goal or initiative or whatever the case may be. I absolutely resonate with that.

So, I wanna ask you just for some advice. And I want you to give this advice on two different levels. The first focus that I’d like for you to consider giving advice to—I want you to speak to the people that are on the receiving end of this microaggression, “But you don’t look autistic.” What advice do you have for them to engage or to deal with those types of comments? So I’ll ask you to do the folks that are targeted by it, but then we’ll talk about the allies in the moment. What kind of advice do you have?

Becca Lory Hector: Um, I have mixed advice cuz it depends on what kind of person you are. And it also, to me, depends on the kind of company you’re in. So like if I’m hanging out at a bar and somebody wants to say that to me, my response to them is probably gonna be something snarky, right? I’ll probably at this point in my life make a joke out of it cuz I’m out, I’m socializing.

And at this point in our culture, it has become a joke within our community that people still say this to us. So we, we say things like, “Oh yeah, I went out and I met some people. They found out I was autistic. They did the whole, ‘You don’t look autistic’ thing.” We’re at the point where we’re laughing at ourselves, but also laughing at you guys in that way.

So I would say if I was out on a bar, I’d probably say something like, “Really? Well, what does autism look like?” We tend to do that kind of snarky response or, “Oh shit, I forgot to put my mask on today. I’m sorry.” But stupid things like that that really point out the ignorance of the statement because I’m out socially.

If I’m out for my job, it’s a learning experience. Stop, we must all pause in this moment. Because if somebody’s still saying a microaggression out loud, it’s a learning moment. They likely don’t know that it’s a microaggression, and so it’s a chance to educate and then educate anybody else who might be listening too. It’s a learning moment. But really say, “No, we don’t say that because X, Y, Z, and here’s why. And I know you think about it this way, but try saying X, Y, Z.”  We go into that scenario, I put on my little advocate hat and we have a nice conversation.

And then there are times too when I’m with family where that has happened—where when I was first diagnosed, I was dealing with family members or friends, and that response is really painful. So when it’s people who are close to us, what it means is that you’ve made no effort to learn anything about us, or our community, or our lingo, or what it means to us, or how to talk to us, or any of those things. It also means you’ve never stopped to ask us any clarifying questions about it or anything cuz we would’ve told you, right? So what it really feels like is “What you need doesn’t matter to me” or “I don’t love you, I don’t see you.” All of those things if it comes from a family member or a friend, and that’s the truth.

So how we deal with that is up to how your relationships are with your families and friends and where you are with your diagnosis and understanding your identity, how strong you feel, how much you can tolerate in that way. But those are the most painful ones for sure.

Larry Baker: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so let’s expound on the advice because you kind of touched upon a group that I wanna make a natural transition to. What advice do you have for those individuals that want to be allies to the autistic community? What advice do you have for those family members? How do you encourage them to engage in that deeper knowledge? What type of advice would you offer?

Becca Lory Hector: Well, what I offer to people is to be curious. Just be curious. Remember when you were eight years old and you didn’t think about people’s feelings when you wanted to ask a question? You just wanted to know and you didn’t understand social niceties and all that stuff.  Remember that person inside you and be curious. Let it light a fire under you that someone has a perspective that you’ve not seen before or you don’t understand, and ask those questions.

Oh my God, this person has shared with you something vulnerable that you may or may not be able to see, and they’ve shared this truth about themselves. They shared with you perhaps their strongest identity. For some it is not—they have other identities. They may have shared their intersectionality with you, all the other identities that they live in, and that’s a trust moment. That is, “I’m being vulnerable with you and trusting you that if I tell you my truth, you’re not gonna use it against me.”

Larry Baker: That’s good.

Becca Lory Hector: And so when someone shares that information with you, be curious and be kind because that person is in a vulnerable state. It’s like if they told you that they just had their heart broken. They’re not coming to you and sharing this information like they just got a haircut, what do you think? And so we don’t wanna treat it like that’s what they’re telling you. So we wanna be curious and say, “Okay, thanks for sharing that with me.”

When I first got diagnosed, I would’ve loved this response from people. It now sounds robotic to me, but I would’ve loved this. “Thank you for sharing that information with me. I appreciate your trust. What does it mean to you to be diagnosed with autism? What does it mean to you to be autistic?” Whatever. Mirror the language that person is sharing with you and be curious. “What does it mean for you? What are those challenges for you? What will it look like for me?” and most importantly, “What can I do to support you?” Because we can’t assume other people’s needs. We can’t try to be a people pleaser and fix things before they’re broken and do all that crazy hovering mom stuff… It doesn’t help anybody.

So what we wanna know is curiously, “Is there something I can…” and it may be nothing. It might be “No, you don’t have to do anything. I just wanted to share that with you.” Which, how priceless is that? If you’re in a romantic relationship or you’re in a friendship or in a family relationship with someone and that’s all that that was, what a beautiful moment you’re sharing. And what they’re saying to you is they invite you closer. And if your response to that isn’t, “Thank you for inviting me in,” that’s your social problem, not their social problem.

And so that’s really the response. It’s just “Tell me what that means for you.” What has that meant for you in your life if you’re an adult? What does that mean for you if you’re a little kid who’s unlearning your own identity? Curious questions.

Larry Baker: Yeah. That’s such a great piece of advice, Becca. And it, I think it’s universal, right? I think it can impact so many different marginalized groups, if you will—approaching those lived experiences with genuine curiosity and authenticity just to understand their experiences more.

And not feeling like, “Well, I’m uncomfortable asking Becca that question because what if she says something that I’m uncomfortable with?”

Becca Lory Hector: Right. “What if you’re uncomfortable?” I love that one.

Larry Baker: I think that that is such a great piece of advice to go in it with a genuine curiosity and authenticity that shows that you care about that individual. So thank you so much.

Becca Lory Hector: That’s the great part. The best part about that is that you can’t really offend somebody if that’s the route you take. It’s a safe zone too, right? Yeah. Just, “I don’t know, so help?” That’s a really humble place to come into a conversation, and I don’t know any other human being who doesn’t turn and respond kindly to that kind of inquiry. It’s the way to go.

Larry Baker: I love that, Becca. You just provided the answer for many people that say, “I want it to be a safe space. How, how can I ensure that I’m creating a safe space for this conversation to occur?” And you said it: you just be curious. Just be authentic. Just be humble and caring to engage in the conversation, and you’ve created a safe space. Yeah, I love that.

Becca, this has been an incredible conversation. We could do this for hours and hours, and of course we just don’t have the time to do that. But before we go, Becca, I wanna give you the opportunity to tell folks who are listening to our podcast and may have pulled some of these nuggets that you’ve shared—how can we get in touch with you? How do we reach out to you to maybe potentially engage in this conversation even further? So tell the folks how they can reach out to you please.

Becca Lory Hector: Absolutely. Real easy way is to head to my website, which is You use my contact page there and get in touch with me directly.

Another really great way to find me and probably find me kind of in real time would be on LinkedIn. I tend to be on there a lot. I do a lot of work in there, so you’ll definitely find me in there. You can connect with me there and reach out through direct message. I’m happy to answer those.

And my favorite, favorite, favorite thing to do is to come in and have these kinds of conversations, give these kinds of presentations. I do that in corporate settings as part of training protocols and other things that I do, but I’m also happy to come into ERGs and talk about my lived experience. I’m happy to come into other groups that are wanting to learn more about the autistic and neurodiverse experience or the disabled experience.

I really just wanna leave the world a better place than I found it for myself. So that’s what I’m up to. And if you think that that’s cool and you wanna collaborate on something, or you wanna hire me to talk to you about it, that’s how you can find me and I’m happy to do that.

Larry Baker: Awesome. So this has been such an amazing conversation, Becca. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your transparency and your vulnerability to engage us in this conversation, “But you don’t look autistic.” Thank you so much.

Thank you all so much for joining us for another episode of Decoded. And to all of you who are listening, we want to know—what were your biggest takeaways from this conversation? What coded language do you want us to unpack next? Please share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn at Language and Culture Worldwide or LCW.

Until next time, I’m Larry Baker, and this has been Brave Conversations with LCW.

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