Welcome back! This week I will be talking about a topic, a milestone of life you could say, with an Aspie (and maybe a little bit of a country) twist: Moving out for the first time. A frightening, opportunity-laden experience that, in my opinion, will be as close to a baptism of fire-like experience as most of us will get. It will help shape us into the responsible adult we can all be. And believe me when I say emphasis on the word, responsible, as I am already starting to find that part out for myself. I will be writing about my experience with this milestone, some of the ups and downs, as well as what you can expect, as an Aspie/Autistic, if you yourself are thinking of or are going to move out. Kind of like a tell-all scenario, except only about the whole moving out scenario.
So kind of like a tell-all-concerning-only-moving-out scenario. It still counts.
First of all, you’re going to need to start packing for the extended trip, making sure you pack enough food, clothing, and the correct equipment (toiletries, cooking equipment, etc.) I say correct equipment, because trust me when I say that if you don't bring the right kind of stuff, like a comb, shampoo, cooking pot or, in my case, razor, you’re not going to have a fun time. It won’t be world ending, though it may start to feel like it. When I started packing, with the assistance of my parents, and it came down to getting toiletries, I understood that some stuff would need to be bought and packed for the trip. That they should not be brought from home, in case I lose them at my temporary place of stay (and also so that I did not have to keep lugging them around). I thought that my razor was one of those items, I was right. Though the replacement razor that I bought wasn't (at all) much better.
See, the razor that I decided to buy, after speaking with my parents, was an electric razor. An electric, cheap (for an electric razor here in Canada, $50 counts as cheap), beard trimming, razor. What's so wrong about that? Well concerning that I would really only be using it a couple of times a week, and that if I lost it, it would not be that much of a loss (though I would certainly miss the next $50 I’d have to spend on a replacement), not much. The sticking point, dear reader, is the whole beard part. I don’t have a beard to shave off, only stubble. And, as I’m sure you’re well aware and have already put two and two together, a beard trimmer is not a good way to shave off stubble. Or even to look moderately good looking at best.
For those of you who saw the movie Bernard and the Genie, I looked like Bob Geldof but with the hair combed back.
You can imagine how impressive I must have looked walking out the door, going on public transit, and walking around the university looking like I had forgotten what proper hygiene is. A very pretty picture. That's why I stressed the correct part when buying your equipment, otherwise the transition will not go as smoothly as you hoped it would. Right up there with making sure you brought enough food to last you some time, and having enough money to make sure you can buy groceries when you need to. Think of it like camping, but preparing for a prolonged stay, you bring along way more than just some toothpaste and a toothbrush, and (most likely but not always) you’re in the city. The best way to experience camping
Well, that does it for this week. Next week I will continue to regale you with my… interesting experiences (I’ll just chalk up the whole razor bit to a bad facial hair day). The main topic being navigating a new routine, while navigating a new transit route...twice. In two different weeks. One week after the other. If that’s not enough to cause you to hyperventilate, I don’t know what will. Until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Pictured left to right: Dylan Salviati, TRU Co-op student, Starr Carson, Partner, KPMG and Jennifer Mei, Accessibility Career and Experiential Learning Coordinator.
Written by Jennifer Mei, Accessibility Experiential Learning Coordinator, in collaboration with Dylan Salviati October 1, 2019
Thompson Rivers University co-op student, Dylan Salviati, recently accepted a full-time position as a junior accountant with prestigious accounting firm, KPMG. For Dylan, getting to this point in his life was not an easy ride. When Dylan was young, he was diagnosed with autism and told by the assessor that he would never read or attend post-secondary education. Disappointed by this news, Dylan believed that a future that included a university degree was impossible. While still in elementary school, Dylan participated in a research program that involved the use of singing to help children with autism learn how to read. Through this program, Dylan learned to read and went on to attend high school. In high school, Dylan approached his academics with a positive attitude and discovered he was excellent with numbers. Through his openness and willingness to help others, Dylan gained the respect and friendship of his peers. As you already know, Dylan went on to attend post-secondary and is now a successful co-op student with a promising future as an accountant. But, that’s not the whole story.
As a co-op student at KPMG, Dylan had an important decision to make: whether or not he should disclose to the employer that he has a disability. While he believes that attitudes about disability have come a long way, he was still worried about discrimination. Dylan says, “Invisible disabilities are the most difficult to talk about because a first impression from an employer might be that I look normal but once they have a chance to interact with me they realize there's something different.” He also explains that, “Everyone is different and while there are similarities, each person’s experience with autism is unique.”
Dylan wanted to be able to speak openly about his disability because he believes that describing how he works best is an important aspect of working with employers who might not understand how a person’s disability impacts them. Dylan’s disclosure was received by the employer as an opportunity to learn and understand how to best accommodate his work style. Throughout his work-term, Dylan was able to demonstrate his strengths through commitment, hard work, and his belief that for him to be successful he must be open and genuine.
Dylan’s courage opened up opportunities for learning and created a safer space for conversations about how disability touches people’s lives. He hopes that sharing his experiences will bring awareness to the impacts of stigma and discrimination and empower other people with disabilities to pursue their own versions of success. For Dylan, he is profoundly grateful for the people who supported him along the way and attributes much of his success to those who believed in him.
“It’s people that change the lives of other people.” – Dylan Salviati
Welcome back! This week, We’ll be looking at an article that, while it does not specifically deal with issues concerning the Autistic/Aspie community, does show an inventive way of how we can solve one of our major problems: how society at large sees us. I’ve talked a bit about this in the past, but the reason I’m bringing it up a bit again is because I like how the people in this article went about trying to solve it, albeit for a not-so-very different reason. Please welcome our next guest: CNN.
We always roll out the red carpet for our extinguished guests who come on our grass roots blog. I hope I spelled extinguished right, and not in the same way that is used to describe a fire being put out. Never ends well to spray your honoured guests with an extinguisher.
Now, big news articles like CNN rarely go on the spot light on this blog (Because mostly because they rarely feature topics about our community), but this time I thought would be different simply because what’s been reported here we can easily recreate ourselves. Have you heard about the photo art series “Eyes as Big as Plates”by photographers Ritta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth? It contains photos of elderly people from multiple nations (Japan, Norway, and others) dressed to look like the gods, goddesses, or spirits from their respective regions in natural environments. Essentially, they go about meeting seniors, asking if they would like to have their photos taken, and then letting them wear whatever style that would make them look more like vegetation than man (look at the pictures and you’ll see what I mean).
The meaning of this is, like all art, subjective. To me, the pictures are meant to empower senior men and women, showing them to society in a new light through images of them dressed up as powerful gods, goddesses and spirits of nature. Not to mention also showing the beauty and power of nature, while also that we may be closer to the natural world than we think we are. It’s on the first thought though, that caught my attention. If it could work for the elderly, why not for the Autistic/Aspie community? Why can’t we take pictures of ourselves or others in the same light, as powerful gods or goddesses, or even our favorite heroes like Superman or anime character/superhero?
Or be your own superhero! Dress up as a hero of your own making: Your own costume, tools, powers, all that stuff. Even your own back story! Like being bitten by a radioactive mosquito!
Through that medium, by showing ourselves in a different, empowering light than is normally associated with us, we could change how society sees and perceives us. Rather than as violent, angry, awkward social outcasts who are only good at math or computers, we could present ourselves as strong individuals whose natural abilities are that, like the mythical gods themselves, varied in strengths and weaknesses, with no two being exactly the same (unless a domineering empire takes over your country and starts to absorb your culture, than break international copyright laws by making an entirely “new” god with the same looks, same powers and same backstory, but a different name. Think of Rome and any other ancient culture).
So why not. Why not take a picture of yourself that way and post all over social media. In fact get a bunch of friends/family/both and do it! Make a day of it! Combine two of the best things in the world: Having fun and changing societies views for the better. That does it for this week’s post. Next week will once again be a completely different topic, and maybe later than usual as right now I am preparing for a major change, plus start working on another side project that might tie in to this one. Until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, I will be talking about my own thoughts on the topic of poisonous workplace environment towards Autistics/Aspies, which I’m sure everyone wants to hear (which is the whole point of writing any blog ever. Everyone knows that). So without further ado, I’ll get to the talking bits.
Come one, come all! Here my opinion on this particular topic today! I promise you won’t get sick of my voice at all!
I’ll admit, I have been relatively lucky when it came to working environments and employers in general. Either I stuck around long enough to eventually win them over, left before the working environment turned sour, or just had really good bosses and coworkers in general (one job my boss was a great guy, but one of my coworkers was...yeah). So I can’t say I know what it’s like to be in a poisonous environment, at least not all throughout my tenure (I have been in a couple of poisonous classroom environments, but that's another topic). That said, the reason that I did not have to many negative work experiences is probably because, as the article says and what I hear and read from other fellow Autistics/Aspies, employment opportunities for us are both few and far between.
It’s pretty much to the point of nearly every Autistic/Aspie experiencing a year or more of unemployment before they get a job, and even than the quality of the work itself and it’s environment may not always be up to snuff. And true, I am writing from the experience of a young university student, where employment, full time or otherwise, are now famously seemingly non-existent to us, I have noticed a pattern between them. When it comes to the employment troubles of typical NT youth, while there are some complaints of work being few and far between, they usually mean good, non-entry level jobs where you don't need either a degree or a certain amount of experience to get in, once their degree is done.
Oh sure, everyone says that getting a post secondary is a rich experience, but what they don’t tell you is that it makes you poor, have a poor diet and aroused at the same time. Okay the other two can happen before and after college but not the first! Okay the first to.
And as for the time of being unemployed, they usually measure such periods in, well, weeks. Months at worst. When it comes to Autistic/Aspie youth though, such unemployment periods, mine included, can be measured in years, one, two or more. And those that do find work will...yeah. And true, places like Mcdonalds or Harveys are always looking for people, but you try getting someone who is A) introverted by nature. B) after facing years of being bullied for something that they cannot help, gaining a feeling of dislike for the human race in general. C) Most likely has some mental health issues (probably thanks to B) or is neurodiverse in more ways than one (ADHD, high anxiety, etc) which will hamper them to a large degree in working in a culture were speed is key and pressure is always present.
In other words, what little jobs that are out there, would not necessarily be ones that we could, or should, do. And in most cases, may actually come out of it in a worse condition than we went in. So what can be done? This is something that will take more than the Autistic/Aspie community to handle, as it affects more than just us. What we can do, for our part, is show potential employers that we can be more than just coding captains, banking barons or menial work masters. We could be doctors, police officers, politicians, and more (If you are a coding captain, you could make an internet showing videos of Autistics/Aspies performing work, more than the stereotypical ones. Just an idea).
You know, just a tiny little suggestion that, if it doesn't work out, I don’t need to be credited for it. But if it does work out and is a big success (especially if it is a big success), than I definitely need to be credited for it.
As for the other part, it’ll take all of society to help change that, to make more well paying, none-menial type jobs available for those in the workforce. Unless automation takes all the jobs away, then it’ll be a whole different ball game (bloody machines, slowly taking our jobs away. I blame the terminator movies for giving the idea to companies like Apple and Amazon).
Well, that does it for this week's post. Next week will be (as I said many times in the previous couple of posts) will be an entirely new topic for us to explore (tired of hearing it yet? No? What about now?). Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Source to use: