Tag Archives: a workplace is a social world

Aspergers on the Job: a Book Review

Asperger's on the Job: Must-have Advice for People with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism, and their Employers, Educators, and AdvocatesAsperger’s on the Job: Must-have Advice for People with Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism, and their Employers, Educators, and Advocates by Rudy Simone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars ★★★

Aspergers on the Job is a well structured easy going handbook that outlines typical employment issues for persons with Asperger’s.

The chapters are short and quick to read. Each ends in a 3-part recommendations section: ‘What the employee can do’, ‘To employers and advocates’, and ‘Questions’ (for reflection). Simone takes a well balanced, common sense approach just like in her prior book’Aspergirls‘, where she encourages all parties to take each others’ views with illustrative examples and recommendations.

The set-up of the book project is a good idea too (a bit like Aspergirls too) – 50 adults with Asperger’s were interviewed for the book, and are quoted in all the chapters to exemplify the issues raised. The foreword by Temple Grandin is also excellent.

The book’s strength is IMO that it is such a handy, well structured overview and quick read with very accessible insights.

Its main weakness is the recommendations. I was hoping to find actionable solutions I hadn’t thought of myself, and while some of the recommendations were useful (e.g. the anti-bullying/anti-gossip strategies), most were either obvious common sense-like, or too naive for real workplaces.

Another weakness is the annoyingly non-scientific personal beliefs promoted here and there – such as the ‘leaky gut syndrome’, and the crusade against ‘chemicals’. Which I suppose refers to all human-created harmful toxics in the environment, none of which have any proven causative link with autism or direct relevance for employment, so I think such crusading is misplaced in a practical handbook.

Another downside is the ridiculous superman cover 🙂 but that is not important.

To sum up, I think the book is a great ‘executive summary’ type handbook. Perhaps best for employers as a quick, easy accessible introduction to the issues faced by & with Aspie employees, but less for employees and job seekers looking for practical solutions, and those already familiar with the issues raised in the book.

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Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed: a Book Review

Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed: Growing Up With Undiagnosed AutismTwirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Autism by Jeannie Davide-Rivera
My rating: 4 of 5 stars ★★★★

Twirling Naked in the Streets is an autobiography about growing up as a girl with undiagnosed autism.

   
The story unfolds in a straightforward manner that makes it easy to follow along and relate to the ways the young girl’s quirks, hypersensitivities and presumed princess manners cause social friction, bewilderment and hostility in her near surroundings.

It is a lonely story, a path of misunderstandings and mysterious dysfunctions into an ever more complicated adult world where the alienation seems to grow with every anticipated and missed milestone, up till the ‘moment of truth’ where Jeannie’s diagnosis, emerging self insight and discovery of online communities of fellow aspies gives her the explanation she was looking for.

Despite the gloomy plot, the story isn’t a heavy read – it is vivid, humorous and entertaining to read, and the simple, matter-of-fact like observations of Jeannie’s fellow characters make them easy to imagine and relate to.

What I liked most about the book is how it shows ways autism symptoms can present in girls and women who may otherwise not come across as stereotypically autistic. Jeannie is a girl who talks well (and a lot). Who has friends at least some of the time. Who goes out (drowning the sensory overload with alcohol), studies (albeit interrupted), lands jobs, and initially comes across as socially capable at job interviews (although she can’t hold onto the jobs). She also gets married and have kids.

In other words, from an outsider’s perspective her life may seem fairly normal, but in reality her autism pervades all spheres of her life, draining her energy and limiting her capacity to meet the standards of a so called normal life / womanhood.

Also, it was interesting to read along as the book was being written as a blog project by Aspie Writer. Go visit her blog to have a chat about her book, or to see what else she is writing!

 

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An easy life

‘You are living an easy life, aren’t you? You ain’t doing nothing!’

the old man said. I pass his house every day when I walk or run* with my dogs. When he and his dog are out in his front yard, I stop and talk, so my dogs get this beautiful rare chance to hang out with another dog that, albeit a bit cranky, doesn’t behave like an erratic maniac like many other dogs around here.

 
Most of what the old man says is difficult to hear, because his voice is like a soft, mumbling creek of linked words strayed with Aussie idioms, and garden noises in the surroundings zap out some of them too. However, I usually manage to pick up enough key words here and there to estimate what we’re talking about, and make friendly expressions and statements (one syllable is sufficient) every now and again to prove my participation in the conversation.

I like him, and I like listening to him.  He is a bit like my grand mother (R.I.P), and I enjoy seeing his joy about having someone to talk to, while my dogs have a great time relaxing in the grass and pestering their ‘friend’.

The above quote is one of the sentences that I did hear in full, and I’m pretty sure that’s what he said. Slightly insulted, I told him that I work as a research interviewer with variable hours, I ain’t ‘ain’t doing nothing’. ‘OK’, he said, and maybe something along the lines of ‘that sounds like a great job’.
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