Welcome back! Last week we left off with how much more potential harm than good hiring initiatives towards Autistics/Aspies are doing. You know, cheerful stuff. This week we will...continue looking at that topic still (you can never have too much of a good thing), finding out some of the ways the message, though positive on the cover, has some, well, unfortunate messaging behind it (though again, that is not necessarily always the intention with every initiative). Anyways, enough talk, time to walk (to the next paragraph).
If you look to your right, you will see the wonderful white space with the scroll icon at the very end. If you look to your let you will see a lovely picture of the author himself and some relevant info (please no screen caps while the tour is in progress).
What’s one of the jobs Autistics/Aspies are usually pigeon holed into? Why, tech or data entry ones of course (not to say that that’s necessarily a bad thing if you are skilled in that way, fair play to yeah if you are). Often the companies hiring Autistic/Aspie'ss are being sold the message that we are all coding savants. Which is wrong obviously, ‘cause if we were all coding savants there would be a lot less misunderstandings about us out there on the internet, and a lot more references about obscure things that we happen to like at the time. Less lies about a cure, and more articles on how certain anime shows, or graphic novels, are the bomb.
Then of course, there is the mistreatment: vocational agents disclosing employees disability/diagnosis with hiring manager without the expressed permission of the employee. Telling said hiring manager what negative, stereotypical behaviours the employee will be exhibited once hired. Then, according to the article, forced to make eye-contact, “criticized for their natural way of being” (The Dark Side of Autism in the Workplace, Paragraph 14), and made to work with either a job coach or undergo ABA training, just to name a few. Fun times for no one.
See this wonderful picture of a father and his child having fun together? This is all the fun that you will not be having if something like the above happens to you.
The workplace trainings, the article says, are barking up the wrong tree: they are trying to understand Autism/Asperger's (In a way where they don’t just ask us about it. Talk about fighting a battle with both hands tied behind your back and on your knees). What they should be doing instead is trying to improve conditions by providing quality leadership, improved communication practices and “universal diversity and inclusion training” (The Dark Side of Autism in the Workplace, Paragraph 15).
Well, that does it for this week! Next week will be my personal thoughts on the topic before moving on to a different topic altogether (I actually have one already picked out this time! Go me!). Hopefully this has not left you feeling to distrustful and/or full of dislike towards all hiring campaigns geared towards Autistics/Aspies, as not all are this bad (and we should definitely demand for, and make good use of, those that are actually worth while). In the meantime, this continues to be, The Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week we will continue our look at a certain part of the issue of unemployment in the Autistic/Asperger community, mainly the poor workplace environment. Last week we left off, I was reviewing a section of an article going on about how we are a marginalized minority in the workforce living in a broken culture. Now let's continue off from last week with some good old-fashioned what-ifs on a social-justice scale. You know, fun stuff!
Who says political games can’t be fun? They’re fun for everyone under the sun! And by political games, don’t mean the ones where one person fights, lies and cheats their way to the top of political power. That's just fun in general.
Here's a surprise for you guys: did you know that it’s easier for people who are Autistic/Aspie to communicate with other people who are also Autistic/Aspie? No? Will apparently science is, or at least the people who performed a study on just such a topic, showing (duh) that its not our Autism/Asperger's that's the issue but rather our culture, lack of workplace Autistic/Aspie role models, managers and leaders. In other words, this is a classic case of “we told you so”, except now they are now finally listening to us rather than talking at us.. Like man-splaining, but for NT’s: NT-splaining (copyrighted by me). Here's a link to the findings of the study.
Need a clearer case of what I mean? Well imagine that the roles were reversed: most of the people in the workplace are not NT, but in fact are Autistic/Aspie. All the managers, board members and CEOs, right down to most of the average Joe worker’s are Autistic/Aspie. And you, my friend, are one of the view, or perhaps the only one, who is NT and hired to work for the company. You become, in effect, the token NT of the company, and become the one that they will constantly point to and say “see? We are an equal-opportunity employer, the NT community love us now that we have hired one of their own!”. All the while, of course, we try, subtly or otherwise, every day to change you and make you into one of us. From NT to Autistic/Aspie. Sound like a dark, sci-fi themed scenario? Yep.
Maybe not as dark as 1984 or a clock-work orange dark, but dark enough. Dusk-like dark perhaps, with the sun still shining through but still a lot of darkness around the edges.
The article gives this kind of scenario, or mentality, an interesting name: “Autism in the Workplace” (Paragraph 12, The Dark Side of Autism in the Workplace. See? I’m not the only one coming up with crazy names for certain events and scenarios. I just like to think that I do it better). Supporting Autistic/Aspie stereotypes, highlighting people with disabilities as somehow less than and in need of help, education and low-end work. All the while ignoring the vast majority of us who have some university/college degrees and have had some low-end jobs as well. As Kermit the Frog once said: It’s not easy being green.
Will, that does it for this week. Next week will be my last review of this subject, after which a list of my own personal thoughts on it will follow, because I think we can all agree when I say that the sound of my voice is beautiful. Then moving on to something completely different (Monty Python Reference). Until then, this continues to be, The Audacious Aspie.
Job Searchers! If you’re looking for some creative questions to ask post interview and you want to know if the employer is a good fit for you, take a look at this article by Anne Shaw published on themuse. These tips are a great way to find out whether an employer is open to accessibility without disclosing any disability related information.
To access this article, click here: Daily Muse Inc.
Your colleague hasn’t been themselves lately. They seem short tempered, erratic and withdrawn but you are not sure how to approach them about your concerns. If this is a situation you have experienced, check out this article by Camille Howatt and Camille Quenneville on how to start a mental health conversation with a colleague.
As a caring friend and co-worker, it’s ok to wonder how you can help. Creating awareness about mental wellness in the workplace is an important step in reducing stigma. And starting the conversation may just provide an opportunity for your colleague to get the support they need. To access this article, click here: The Globe and Mail