I was diagnosed at a young age and went through the special education system in public schools. Family is incredibly important to me as I grew up in a large supportive family. I enjoy being outside in nature and arts and crafts.View all posts
Focusing on employment
Looking beyond autism acceptance to me means that everyone, neurotypical and neurodivergent, has opportunities to do the best that they can. I believe one of the big areas that we need to approach is employment. Why is it so important to me? It gives me independence, a sense of self-worth, a way to spend my time productively, and of course, money to spend on bills, necessities, and some things that bring me joy as well. Having the opportunity to contribute to the workforce gives me much more than a paycheck. It allows me to feel more secure in my world and it allows me to build skills, make friends, and learn new things.
I know there is a problem within the autism and neurodivergent community with underemployment and unemployment. I think that in a lot of ways this is because of lack of opportunity and options that fit the individuals for employment.
I’m incredibly lucky to be a blogger for ASDNext. ASDNext is an awesome employer because they’re supportive, flexible, and understanding of the different needs that I have as an individual on the autism spectrum. What I like about them best is that they listen to me, and they appreciate my feedback and then they actually follow through on my feedback. It often seems that very few places actually do that, value and appreciate your input, and then, if possible, act on it. If I have questions, I can ask my supervisor for support and feedback. I like the fact that I don’t have to wear a mask where my autism is not only accepted but celebrated.
There’s nothing I would change about my job; they are great allies, and they do a great job of promoting autistic employment. I know they go above and beyond what most companies do, and I appreciate the time and effort that they put into making sure everybody feels included.
Recently somebody asked me what they can do to be a better supporter of the autism community. I would say the best way you can support an autistic employee is to ask them what you can do to help or how can help make this place more accessible to them. Then really listen, take notes, and ask more questions if you don’t understand. Be willing to be a sounding board or someone helpful and safe that they can ask about the hidden curriculum or the things that people don’t talk about that are important to work. This is mostly meant as a starting place to begin thinking about how you can be a better ally and what others could do to support you if you have autism or another type of neurodiversity.