so today I was diagnosed with mild autism and mild aspergers, I wanted to ask should I tell everyone?
I would be careful about telling your employer - depending on your management and HR department's attitude to disabilities. It can be used against you if they choose not to support you - you might become 'too much bother' - so even though nothing has changed about you or your worrk, they might start to look at you very differently.
They might start treating you like a hand grenade with the pin pulled out - just waiting for you to do something that they can make a mountain out of.
If your employer is positive and caring about their staff - go for it.
Plastic said:I would be careful about telling your employer - depending on your management and HR department's attitude to disabilities. It can be used against you if they choose not to support you - you might become 'too much bother'
Sorry, Plastic, but I must take issue with you there. It's not about management or HR's attitudes to disabilities. It's simply illegal for them to discriminate on the grounds of a disability (and that's if you think of autism as a disability). The same as it's illegal to discriminate against someone who became pregnant, or developed a heart condition (depending on the context of the job being done). And if they use it against a person and choose not to support them, that can be regarded - depending on circumstances - as bullying or constructive dismissal. I'd certainly think it would be a wise option to have a union on board, mind. There are still avenues of recourse, though. If you're doing your job well, and there's no reason to fault you in any way, why should an employer try to make life difficult? Another point is, if you don't say anything, you could put yourself at risk later on - if it's found out - for being deceitful. It could happen if, for instance, there was an incident at work that resulted in an anxiety attack or meltdown, or if you were moved to an environment which was detrimental to any hyper- or hypo-sensitivity. More noise, brighter lights, etc.
Having said that, I do realise that some employers are more 'enlightened' than others. Again, I think Jason should take his time - and he will know best what the situation is, and what the reaction is likely to be. Just as long as he is aware that there could also be attendant risks of non-disclosure.
I totally agree with everything you say - but in the real world there are subtle ways of making your life difficult - I was on the receiving end of it for many years - nothing you can create a scene over - nothing you could make an issue of without being labelled as petty - but just lots of omissions and minor mistakes that make life very difficult.
My union rep was useless - didn't seem to understand their responsibilities and the HR dept was 110% behind whatever management wanted to do.
Utter incompetence all round.
I'll give you a slightly edited, simplified example - let's say if I found spilt drinks all around the tea machine, I would wipe it up because it is a safety hazard. (aspie following rules)
If it kept happening, I would report it to the manager as a lack of staff following procedures.
The manager would agree and say he would do something about it.
The problem continued.
I would bring it to the attention of the manager again.
He would say oh, sorry, didn't get around to telling the staff due to "xx" (insert plausible reason)
If I ignore the problem and don't mop it up, I am guilty of wilfully leaving an unsafe situation.
Also, as management know that I was aware of the problem, I am double guilty of leaving an unsafe situation.
End result = I am the highest paid cleaner in the world mopping up after incompetent people.
What would you do.....
Luckily, through good people supporting me externally, when it came to the crunch I walked away with a good payout.
I've had similar in my current job, where they know I'm autistic (in fact, as it's working with an autism trust, they saw it as a positive attribute). At my recent supervision, I was asked openly if everything was to my satisfaction and if there were any issues that I wanted to discuss, as they were anxious to ensure that my needs were accommodated. I mentioned several things.
* Staff using smartphones at work when they are supposed to be giving attention to the service users.
* People ignoring basic health and safety, food safety and infection control procedures - mandatory procedures (I'm the only staff member there who has refused to sign the general 'Infection Control Risk Assessment', and they know why).
* People being lazy and neglecting general cleaning duties - leaving toilets blocked and smelly, floors wet, crockery and utensils unwashed.
I was told that all of this would be addressed. It hasn't been. So... I intend to take it further. It'll be very interesting to see if, because of this, they make things difficult for me. I'm sure it'll look very good if an autism trust fails to take proper consideration of the needs of an autistic employee!
Another real world factor to consider is this. On most application forms and employment contracts, it states that if a staff member fails to disclose any relevant information which is subsequently found out, it can result in instant dismissal. I know of someone who got sacked for failing to disclose a long period of sick leave from a previous job.
I've also been on the receiving end of discrimination (prior to diagnosis) where I was getting such bad bullying from a colleague that it resulted in a serious mental breakdown and three months off work. When I returned, I was reassigned to a different department - which was the condition of my return. But a little way down the line, they asked me to cover for sickness in the previous department, which would have brought me back into contact with the bully. Basically, they closed ranks against me because the bully had seniority in terms of years of service (not of actual employment status). So... I left. This woman was the most horrendous bully. Other staff members afterwards told me that she'd caused problems. But there you go. Such is life.
I agree with the points you make. But I still think that you have to be very aware about the possible risks of non-disclosure.