so today I was diagnosed with mild autism and mild aspergers, I wanted to ask should I tell everyone?
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.
When I got my diagnosis, I was working in another care role to the one I have now (where I disclosed it at the interview). I'd only been in this other job for a few weeks. I went and told my manager and her first question was 'Why didn't you say at your interview that you had gone for a diagnosis?' I said because I didn't really expect to get diagnosed, and I apologised for the omission. They said it was fine and just asked that I brought in a letter of proof so that it could go on my record
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.
My policy on this is very flexible. It's not a secret, but nor is it something that I would tell everyone, and it's not something I reveal in its entirety.
The people who I'm closest to all know now that I'm autistic. I had some strange reactions at first, but no-one so dismissive that, over time, I haven't been able to explain in more detail so that they've slowly come to understand better. However, it should be said that most of them were well aware of my long history of mental health problems, and always tried to support me with those, so I think that my diagnosis has been seen by them as explanatory, just as it has been for me.
With other people, I have never just "come out" with a big announcement; people's reactions can be very negative and insulting sometimes, so I always give myself a little time to get to know them first, so that I have some idea how they might react. In particular, I look for how they react to my autistic traits when they have been noticeable. In many cases, just explaining a particular trait that is causing difficulty is sufficient; "I'm just one of those people who....". Even with people who are sympathetic, it's worth weighing up whether being bombarded with "so what's it like?" questions and having to counter misinformation is worth the bother for relatively casual or fleeting interactions, or with people who's opinions you aren't going to be able to change.
So there's no black-and-white decision between tell everyone or tell no-one; I take it case by case, weight up the pro's and con's, and decide accordingly whether I'll say nothing, admit to a particular trait, or reveal my diagnosis.
You should also take into account other people's tendency to gossip. What you tell to one person can easily be spread around very quickly. They may well have no bad intent in mind, but it means that people could potentially find out who you would rather didn't know. At the very least, you should be very explicit with people about how public or secret what you're telling them is
Trogluddite said:You should also take into account other people's tendency to gossip.
Yes. Welcome to the small world of neurotypicals.
If you do don’t use the word mild people mite brush it of as nothing. I look like a normal but I have autism and a learning disability I don’t like telling people unless I need to.
I greatly admire Martian Tom's approach to being autistic. I tend not to tell anyone, although I feel like it must be obvious to people who know me that l'm DIFFERENT. It's a good question which I need to think about some more.