So many terms surrounding autism are confusing to start with. Then different groups try to make the terminology theirs and another definition joins the fray. Because most of the definitions you find are written by people who study autism they are often quite different from a definition of the same thing as seen from the perspective of an autistic person living it. Sort of the difference between knowing the chicken crosses the street and knowing why the chicken crosses the street. To bring the perspective of an adult with Asperger's I created this set of definitions to start with. I have updated this post with more clear definitions and utilize the Neuro Cloud™ terminology of Neurodistinct to indicate individuals or groups that are clearly distinct from Neurotypicals.
Abbreviation for Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the USA and much of the world mental health conditions are defined and diagnosed with the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In the...
Just a quick mini review of Jude Marrow's book "Why Does Daddy Look so Sad?" So far I have only skimmed it and read sections of random chapters. I am already so impressed I felt it worth sharing initial impressions and thoughts.
Jude is autistic with a presentation which previously would have been called Asperger's. As is common with many of us bright autistic boys, poor social grace and diminished ability to sense and interpret emotion lead to disruptive behavior and being branded a trouble maker in school. Jude had a very different experience than I did with a 30 year more advanced school system. While I continued being treated as a bright trouble maker, Jude was give extra support. This became something which in adulthood both helped and hurt in dealing with his own autism.
Links to purchase the book on Amazon:
Why Does Daddy Look So Sad? by Jude Morrow - Paperback
Why Does Daddy Look so Sad? by Jude Morrow - Kindle
Jude had an event which made him recognize the...
A friend shared this with me and I felt what he expressed was so accurate I asked if he would let me share it.
I spend a good deal of my working day and my personal time researching the topic of leadership, from working with academic faculty to develop new theory, to helping executive coaches and facilitators of leadership training assess if and what change their efforts are creating in organizations. This provides me with a lot of insight into the type of rhetoric used to motivate change in leaders. Examples of this rhetoric include: ‘be radically candid and verbalize your emotions; take risks and don’t live in fear; be a visionary and make your voice heard!’ Implicit to this rhetoric is the expectation that leaders have been granted the freedom to enact these socially non-normative behaviors. Employees, by contrast don’t have this freedom. If an employee speaks up too often in a meeting, even if highly respectful and choosing the right moments to offer...
This is the first guest post I have put on my blog. I met Tacy on LinkedIn through our common interest of life as an autistic adult. Tacy shared this with me and I thought it does such a great job of conveying the world as some of us on the autism spectrum experience it, I asked if I could share it and am very appreciative the answer was yes.
Autistic Intent and Perceptions of Dubiousness
By Tacy Traverso, The Autistic Wolf
First, a quick story: One day, I was hanging out with a person I love, very much, and said person went to the fridge to grab some food to suffice for dinner. On the plate was a large pile of salami. I said “WOW, that’s a LOT of salami!” As it happens, this person has self-image challenges based on self-perception of weight. (Note, I hadn’t noticed a change in their weight, nor cared anyway.) After my comment, which I made because I had never seen that much salami on such a...
Disclosure is a complex subject. You don’t have to tell your co-workers. It is totally your choice and there are a number of areas to consider when making the choice. Even if you decide now is not the time you can always decide later it is the time. Following are some areas to consider and a few thoughts around them.
I believe the most important item to consider is the motivation and the potential benefits. I think motivation falls into a few categories, self-identity, understanding of co-workers about a large part of who you are which they may notice on their own, as a proactive approach to avoid negative interactions in the future, because it seems the right thing to do, to allow you to advocate for autistic adults openly, or any of a range of personal reasons. I don’t think the reason is of great importance on its own, but I think a solid assessment whether disclosing will accomplish the object. Some reasons take more thought than others to truly evaluate. Take...
When I initially created the management and co-worker tip sheets I had in mind using them as training aids for managers and co-workers of the talented and challenging or autistic leaning worker. But in discussion with Dr Dave Caudel Executive Director of Vanderbilt's Frist Center for Autism and Innovation he suggested it could become a great self advocate resource with a few tweaks.
Can't thank Dr Dave enough as it is a great idea. I now have 2 versions of the tip sheet. The original training version and this self advocate version that Claire from the Frist Center helped me refine are both available. The original is in this blog post: 10 Advanced Management Tips
Here is a very short video explaining how to use the self advocate versions of the tip sheets. Same idea applies to all versions but be sure to tailor your communication to the particular audience. There is a download link for the full size document below the image of the tip sheet.
Download a pdf full size...
I came up with this idea after seeing a number of tests/surveys on the internet designed to determine if you likely autistic or spectrum leaning. While I found them interesting and useful in convincing myself the doctor was right in my diagnosis. As I dug deeper into Asperger's, autism, and neurodiversity it became obvious to me that the low to high function continuum model does not represent the experience of living autistic. Further, it gives people a very distorted idea of a condition that has been a very beneficial part of human advancement. Based on my perception from living with Asperger's, I realized my years of data and visualization work could solve this problem with an easy to interpret chart designed for multi-variate data. This Neuro Cloud™ Survey and Charts is proving to be a very effective tool in understanding others, neurodistinct or just part of the neurodiverse cloud of humanity.
Interesting as I was finishing up the first round of work on this project Seamus...
In this paper I talk about an effect I have experienced personally and many of my Asperger's friends agree to having similar experiences. This curse comes about when as an autistic person I can mask and blend in or even excel in a neurotypically aligned environment. I get accepted as one of the social tribe. But when some obvious trait associated with autism appears, and it will, the table is turned and I am worse than an outsider. I am an imposter.
I believe that the goal of making an autistic child indistinguishable from a neurotypical kid long term can have the effect of setting them up to regularly fall into the Uncanny Valley of Autism. Instead of trying to transform neurodiverse kids into neurotypical it would be much healthier to teach pride in neurodiversity, but also that methods, tools, and approaches to interact with neurotypicals must be learned. Long term the child will still be autistic either way. Just one way is with pride and confidence and the other is...
What is the Autism at Work Playbook and where did it come from?
There is a loose collaboration between some of the worlds largest corporations focused on programs for sourcing, interviewing, onboarding, supporting, and retaining autistic workers. This effort is generically referred to as Autism at Work. The Autism at Work Playbook guides you through much of what needs to be considered for a successful program. It also includes the learnings from the programs of the various companies. The Playbook came from the direct effort of these companies:
Having Asperger's and taking words literally I find the title to be misleading. I think of a playbook as exact steps, patterns, or moves which is reinforced by the cover graphic of a football play. Once I got over the title not matching the content and started looking at the work as guided discussion of the many aspect to a comprehensive end to end program, I found it to be a great resource.
The points to consider and advice in the...
I was on a panel discussion titled "Autism & Work, Creating a Neurodiverse Workplace" with 4 of the leading academic scholars from the USA and the heads of SAP's and JPMorgan Chase's Autism at Work programs. This made a unique panel as it offered academic understanding, corporate experience and the rarely heard perspective of an autistic adult. The video is my opening presentation for the panel discussion.
In this post I talk about my thoughts, impressions, and research from the perspective of a first time conference attendee, not as a speaker. For more details about the panel and our presentation please see my SIOP2019 entry in my Appearances & Media section of the site.
Before I was invited to participate on a panel I wasn't even aware of psychologists specialized in the dynamics and measurements of workers and jobs in the workplace. The conference is quite large with near 5000 attendees and 1000 presentations squeezed...