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AspergerSimpleLife

Autistic people never get the slack that other minorities are given

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Dr-David-Banner
On Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 10:14 AM, Sanctuary said:

Leaving aside the wider "social justice" debate I would accept that there are some occasions where discrimination or mistreatment is wrongly imputed. Sometimes a person genuinely (if wrongly) believes they have been mistreated; on other occasions their motivation is more cynical and centred on getting attention or even compensation or perhaps just to stir up trouble. However that is not to deny that there has been a long history of discrimination against certain groups and that discrimination continues to be a problem in certain circumstances. 

As regards autism I don't think there can be much doubt that almost all autistic people have faced mistreatment. In some cases this is because their condition is not known to others (or even themselves if they are unaware of autism) and therefore their behaviour is misinterpreted. In other cases though their autism is known about and that leads to knowing discrimination by others who see autism as in some way a "problem". 

I think it's absolutely right for those with autism to be treated fairly. it's also quite justified for them to campaign on issues and also to take pride in their autistic identity. There will be some individuals with autism who unjustifiably use it to excuse bad behaviour or see discrimination when it isn't there, or who pursue a dubious idea of autistic "superiority". However I think most on the spectrum have a measured view of their situation and don't make unjustified complaints. They take pride in their difference but realise that difference doesn't have to mean division from others. 

Sometimes the autistic superiority trip is one useful stage in rebuilding broken self confidence. It's very important not to accept false ideas of inferiority that start to be imposed by society. Such as being told repeatedly how bad you are at something. I agree though there comes a time when more self humility and balance is preferred. At some point I started to see more of my faults and less attractive attributes. Also very helpful is to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. 

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Dr-David-Banner

To update this, today I decided to cease working in the area I mentioned earlier. So, money will once again be in very short supply. The work I had came through a family member and for that reason I did my best to just pull out calmly. However I haven't experienced this level of anger in some time. What triggered it was the total disrespect and negative comments over the way I work differently. The bottom line is I believe the individual concerned will now have to pay twice as much for probably less output from someone else. Meantime I am left with little money to make ends meat. I will freely admit manual work isn't my strong point but I can these days fit alternators, wire electrical system, fix bikes and pumps and so on. It will probably take me a day to cool off but I guess it was a mistake to have gotten involved.

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Sanctuary

I'm sorry to hear that David. Unfortunately being treated badly at work is all too common for individuals on the spectrum and is a key reason why many of them have problems gaining and retaining employment. Sometimes the pressure to work means being employed in jobs that are less than suitable, or could be suitable but are made unmanageable by the attitudes of others. As you suggest it may only be after that person has left that they realise they were rather better than they thought. Even leaving aside though the issue of autism employers and colleagues need to realise that a worker who has just joined them needs treating with extra sensitivity and support. There are such people around - good luck in finding more suitable opportunities.

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Dr-David-Banner
10 hours ago, Sanctuary said:

I'm sorry to hear that David. Unfortunately being treated badly at work is all too common for individuals on the spectrum and is a key reason why many of them have problems gaining and retaining employment. Sometimes the pressure to work means being employed in jobs that are less than suitable, or could be suitable but are made unmanageable by the attitudes of others. As you suggest it may only be after that person has left that they realise they were rather better than they thought. Even leaving aside though the issue of autism employers and colleagues need to realise that a worker who has just joined them needs treating with extra sensitivity and support. There are such people around - good luck in finding more suitable opportunities.

Something I noticed: By nature I am very non aggressive and passive so the normal sparks other people vent out tend to bottle up in me instead. This tension gradually builds up but those causing it don't notice. Finally it may explode which is almost what happened yesterday. Another funny thing is the anger will then ramp up and build as the hours pass by. It is still present now but eventually I will just have to move on from it. I am not going to make waves as the person in question at least helped me for a time. All in all he has a right to use his own money to choose how to hires or whatever. It leaves me in a mess of course. Something that actually stabilised me today was a scene I recall from The Incredible Hulk. David Banner had been given minimal employment in a village store and one day decided to thoroughly organise the shop. The shop owner sort of resented Banner's college accent and got angry over the changes made. He decided to pressure Banner and asked him to clean the cellar. With a friend present he taunted Banner and yelled at him to move furniture that was too heavy. When the furniture toppled and Banner was hurt, the startling metamorphosis occurred. Shirt splits and the Hulk takes over, ripping the room apart. This may sound a bit trivial to bring in old TV shows but really it is true people get victimised at work. It happens more to those with HFA or even LFA but anyone can have this experience. In my case though it pretty much happens all the time. Sometimes the individual plain can't understand what's wrong. They get frustrated, become rude, notice no reaction, push boundaries beyond what's acceptable and bang! I think this guy could see something was very wrong with me as I'd gone very quiet and very sudden personality change. When he tried to make arrangements for the following day I calmly declined. Nothing major happened but I guess he will now be aware time to find someone else. Thanks for your support Sanctuary which I appreciate.

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Dr-David-Banner

To be honest, I think a few people have finally realised something with me has been very wrong. Those who used to get angry I don't go to regular work seem to have figured out there is a deeper issue. One or two plainly told me they detect obvious problems in personal interaction or maybe motor issues. Family seem now to be aware I wasn't coping after months with insufficient income. All I do is study electronics in my specialised area. Accumulate masses of knowledge. This old guy I was working with was probably talked into the idea through people who sought to help. It has sort of backfired. It's impossible to communicate but my current psychological condition is between two extremes. On the one hand I've peaked in creativity with so many hours studying but, on the other hand, I feel totally unemployable and definitely discriminated against. By a system for that matter you'd expect of Victorian times despite advances made in neurology and psychology over the decades. 

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Dr-David-Banner

It was this episode where Dr David Banner had his meltdown after being stressed out by an employer:
 

 

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Dr-David-Banner

I've actually noticed a pattern which is a puzzle in itself. What I find is victims of employment bullying tend to be academically smarter than their other employees or managers. By that I mean not specifically better workers but just visibly "different". I am also noticing the poorest members of society in many cases are very highly qualified people. Case in point: A girl I met once when we were both trying to survive in a warehouse job. She was on her second PHd in neurobiology with emphasis on autism study. During conversations we had she told me she had had absolutely no income and stayed with family. She had at times gone hungry and cried over lack of money. We were both victimised at the warehouse although she took her experience to a small tribunal (internal).
Very recently another PHd I got to know was apparently bullied out of her routine shop job. There may well have been genuine performance issues in some areas but I definitely got the impression she wasn't accepted by 90 per cent of the other employees. Personally to me she seemed like a nice girl and always called me by my first name and took time to talk to me.
"For most jobs, there is no desire for you to think for yourself. Quite the contrary. If you see some horribly inefficient process that could be improved, you are supposed to just leave it alone because it’s not your problem. That horribly inefficient process probably keeps a few people employed who otherwise wouldn’t be, and there are reasons that it must be that way."
This is what was happens to me. I am asked to do the most time-wasting methods of doing something and only try to just suggest something different. That just provokes some sort of threat to ego and an atmosphere. It makes no sense. Despite the fact I am aware practical, hands-on work is not my strong point, I do often carry out such work to save my expenses. So far as stuff like electrical installation, I've come across some very dangerous instances of work or design flaws that required a whole installation to be redone from zero. I once had to totally dismantle an entire electrical system simply to get at one fuse in a unit that was not accessible (but had blown). I found neutral wires on circuits at full voltage and lives at zero! I don't talk down to the person in charge but simply try to suggest why the job is being made more difficult.
The point? Maybe part of the HFA discrimination phenomenon is a little close to the PHd employee problem in as much as both groups don't blindly follow directives but may in some ways be daring to think for themselves.

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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Sanctuary

Many interesting thoughts David. New workers, whatever their background, are in a vulnerable position. This is even more so for those who have been out of the labour market for a long time. They need to be much better supported. Too often this doesn't happen. One key problem, especially in more "routine" jobs, is that new workers are just expected to "learn on the job", "pick things up as they go along", etc. While there is some merit in these ideas it all too often means no real training or support at all and the new worker makes mistakes (or supposed mistakes). Much more thought needs to be given on how to support and teach someone the skills of a new job or the systems of a new employer if that type of work has been done before. Just giving lots of information verbally or expecting someone to pick up skills just by observing is not enough. New workers need coaching and supportive advice, not criticism (or even worse abuse). A problem though in many workplaces is staffing issues which means the established workers often don't have the time to offer support and because they haven't been themselves trained in how to support new workers they don't know how best to do it. This can lead sometimes to them getting frustrated and resorting to criticism or even abuse. Those sorts of responses though cause upset and bad feeling. New workers may feel they have little choice but to accept this as they fear that "standing up for themselves" or even just querying comments will get them labelled as "difficult" and lead to worse treatment or even losing their job. Therefore as you outlined they may feel they have to keep quiet but this can lead to bottling up unhappiness and anger. Ultimately this can't be managed any more and leads to the new worker leaving or even having an outburst resulting in their resignation or being sacked. Such bad experiences can plague the mind for much longer and make finding and keeping future work more difficult.

It is true that "fitting in" is a key aspect of employment and workers who are deemed "not to fit in" for whatever reason can have a very difficult time. Coming from a very different background doesn't necessarily mean someone won't be considered to fit in. For example highly-educated students have long been found doing fairly unskilled work alongside or in between their studies but many of them still seem to fit in with the other workers. Sometimes they seem able to "tune in" to the broader culture of the workplace. That "tuning in" is much harder for some new workers such as those with ASD. Even if they can do the actual work very well they may be considered to "not be part of the team" and that can be a big problem from the viewpoint of some of their colleagues.

Perhaps all this shows the value of new workers putting their employers / colleagues in the picture about their ASD or maybe just their personality differences or different approach to work. This could lead to better understanding and support but also carries the risk of being negatively labelled as an applicant and being rejected from consideration. It's hard to know the best approach - perhaps the key (easier said than done) is to find the employers who really do want to do the right thing..  

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Dr-David-Banner
9 hours ago, Sanctuary said:

Many interesting thoughts David. New workers, whatever their background, are in a vulnerable position. This is even more so for those who have been out of the labour market for a long time. They need to be much better supported. Too often this doesn't happen. One key problem, especially in more "routine" jobs, is that new workers are just expected to "learn on the job", "pick things up as they go along", etc. While there is some merit in these ideas it all too often means no real training or support at all and the new worker makes mistakes (or supposed mistakes). Much more thought needs to be given on how to support and teach someone the skills of a new job or the systems of a new employer if that type of work has been done before. Just giving lots of information verbally or expecting someone to pick up skills just by observing is not enough. New workers need coaching and supportive advice, not criticism (or even worse abuse). A problem though in many workplaces is staffing issues which means the established workers often don't have the time to offer support and because they haven't been themselves trained in how to support new workers they don't know how best to do it. This can lead sometimes to them getting frustrated and resorting to criticism or even abuse. Those sorts of responses though cause upset and bad feeling. New workers may feel they have little choice but to accept this as they fear that "standing up for themselves" or even just querying comments will get them labelled as "difficult" and lead to worse treatment or even losing their job. Therefore as you outlined they may feel they have to keep quiet but this can lead to bottling up unhappiness and anger. Ultimately this can't be managed any more and leads to the new worker leaving or even having an outburst resulting in their resignation or being sacked. Such bad experiences can plague the mind for much longer and make finding and keeping future work more difficult.

It is true that "fitting in" is a key aspect of employment and workers who are deemed "not to fit in" for whatever reason can have a very difficult time. Coming from a very different background doesn't necessarily mean someone won't be considered to fit in. For example highly-educated students have long been found doing fairly unskilled work alongside or in between their studies but many of them still seem to fit in with the other workers. Sometimes they seem able to "tune in" to the broader culture of the workplace. That "tuning in" is much harder for some new workers such as those with ASD. Even if they can do the actual work very well they may be considered to "not be part of the team" and that can be a big problem from the viewpoint of some of their colleagues.

Perhaps all this shows the value of new workers putting their employers / colleagues in the picture about their ASD or maybe just their personality differences or different approach to work. This could lead to better understanding and support but also carries the risk of being negatively labelled as an applicant and being rejected from consideration. It's hard to know the best approach - perhaps the key (easier said than done) is to find the employers who really do want to do the right thing..  

I figure with autism a lot builds up not over months but over years. I am ultra sensitive to discrimination although I do understand this person I refer to isn't doing it on purpose. His frustration is over my not being good at verbal attentiveness or doing things my own way. However, with autism there is often poor verbal attention but strong visual information processing. For example, Nesf has shared already how her language skills developed much better not through audio and listening but doing it her way. At any rate I am very sensitive and touchy over being talked down to or even bullied just because I process information differently. Many years of such negativity had once left me with zero confidence. Teachers calling you "thick" and a system that boxes people into categories and so on. My experience with autism is it can in a few cases leave you unemployable in the routine sense but you gain other, special talents in exchange. Often these talents can be very useful even in the area of employment. In other words I don't mind my shortcomings being noticed but I do react to being dismissed as inferior. I also think everyone is entitled to respect and once disrespect, or abuse, looks like setting in, for me these days it's not something I can tolerate. I tend to react to discrimination even if it's directed towards someone else. 

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Dr-David-Banner

One more detail. This incident upset me more than it ought to have done. I think it's because it follows a pattern of repeated bad experiences. Over the last two days I had this relapse into being anti-neurotypical which is a bad phase I once went through. Then today I saw two women I know well and they were chatting nicely to me and really nice people. Then reality knocked back on my door and I remembered many people can be kind-hearted and reach out to you. So, I will just have to sleep on it and hope for better days.

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