This is my first post as recent - Covid 19 catalysed - issues have caused me a few problems that have led me to the waiting list for an adult assessment for autism.
Long and the short of it is that I have a job I love but that requires a lot of interaction with a small group off colleagues. The dynamic worked well in the office and as an information provider I managed quite well.
Move it to remote (thanks to Covid) and I am working with messages (no inflection to help me understand if people are annoyed, dissatisfied or happy with my work) or worse Zoom meetings (how does anyone cope with a series of faces on the screen that randomly freeze and voices that sound like they're underwater?) So three weeks ago I fell apart.
It was my standard meltdown I suppose. A body that wouldn't move and a brain that was just a cascade of a million fragmented thoughts. ...but because I couldn't see a cause, I knew it wasn't anxiety or depression (my previous diagnoses when this has occured).
A brief chat with my GP after realising this happens repeatedly, and that there are a lot of telltales throughout my life that indicate potential ASD traits, and she has referred me for assessment. Probably, realistically, in 6 months time.
So does anyone have advice about how to survive in work in the period between meltdown and diagnosis. I was signed off for two weeks and spent the first one resting and just letting my mind spin away...but I get destructive if I don't work, so even though I'm not coping, I'd rather be doing my job.
How would I go about asking for adjustments without medical backup?
Thanks in advance, and apologies if this makes no sense.
I think employers need to be mindful of mental health these days, so I would choose the best person to approach about talking through what might make things easier for you - eg categories on your emails, one-to-one zoom meetings?
Do you have any ideas in mind as to what they might do to help at work? I ask because I'm in a similar position. I'm diagnosed, but still struggling with the laptop meetings etc., and despite not having to commute, and face people in the office, it did provide a communication yardstick on a daily basis. Now I don't communicate regularly, it makes running meetings etc. and general communication even harder.
I've been told I'll be working from home until at least the end of the year. I've already had to explain to my boss that I can't run a recent meeting, and he'd have to get someone else to do it. I just couldn't face the c.70 people on the call, several senior, asking me questions.
So, even if you had a diagnosis, I'm not sure it's the trigger for things to change. It might depend what your job is of course. What can they do to help?
I hope you get sorted, and I'd be interested to hear what your employer might do. I'm also interested to hear from others in a similar position.
I can only see my state of mind getting worse in this isolated working environment, notwithstanding some advantages it brings.
Best of luck on your diagnosis and work.
you dont actually need to have a diagnosis to have protection under the law you just need to Believe/think you are autistic. So you can ask for adjustmets now. eg headphone in the office to cut out noise. A place you can go when you have shutdowns/meltdowns etc. Talk it over with HR if u have one. But dont expect too much from your empoyer they will only do so much. Have a wish list ready. Working From Home once a week ?
i really like Working From Home (WFH) -- in Zoom/Microsoft Team meeting I dont use the camera just audio I only have one meeting per day to keep me in the loop. WFH allows me to control my environment eg my music/white noise on, cup of coffe tea when I want. I can walk around my garden as a break and watch the wildlife get on with it. No office politics and smalltalk. I can also meditate more which I find helpful.
my empolyer bought me a set of really good phones and a slighly bigger laptop and thats it. I asked to WFH home they said no then COVID-19 came along and now I am WFH !
WFH I dont have to commute to work everyday which is brillant.
I agree with all you say, and they are the benefits I referred to, but if you were suddenly asked to communicate with people, a lot of people, wouldn't you find it harder, having been isolated, as opposed to having been exposed to people regularly, albeit an uncomfortable daily exposure?
That's what I'm struggling with, it's like zero to 100mph. Very little contact to a big meeting. Nature of my work I suppose.
I've been unable to do it. I'm not sure where that leaves me, as I'm effectively saying I can't fulfil my role in totality.
Hi, I had this issue last year before my diagnosis. My supervisor arranged for occupational health to do an assessment . They advised that the company make some adjustments. These were implemented.
Since diagnosis, I have had further adjustments agreed. Maybe you could ask your boss /HR if they can help in this way.
You do not need a diagnosis for any condition to receive 'reasonable adjustments' at work, and even those with a diagnosis do not necessarily get any help if the condition does not affect them in their everyday life.
Make a list of how you are affected, and then write down what help you would like. You may get anxiety and depression, be unable to change the way you work, have trouble on the telephone, forget things easily (poor short term memory), take things too literally and misunderstand other peoples nuances, be very rigid in your timetable and what you do, not be able to rapidly change between one job and another. Then make a list on how you feel you may be helped. If you are a member of a Trade Union, discuss it with your representative and arrange to see your manager.
Or you could contact Access to Work, it depends where you live what help is available as they will look to third parties to give help. This could include training for other members of staff to understand your condition and a support worker for a session or so a month to help you over the difficulties you have.
You could also be exempted from certain 'duties' at work if these give you particular difficulty. I know how difficult it can be to ask for adjustments, this is why a third pary is very useful. Occupational Health may help but their purpose is to represent the employer, not the employee.
You may find the following publication useful:
I'm with you there. If I have to communicate with a known group of people every day it's hard work but it keeps me 'in practice'. Having relatively few, remote, interactions means I'm losing that skill set quite rapidly which - like you - affects my ability to do my job properly.
I like being able to fidget and have frequent breaks when working from home, but my office is normally a maximum 10 people and it's in the middle of nowhere, so quite nice, whereas home is next door to a house with 3 small children and 3 barking dogs. So it's only pleasant when it's raining and they're all trapped inside!!
I think a few of those replying are missing the point that you're working from home.
Anyhow, some interesting points raised about the reasonable assistance employers should provide. I wonder how far that extends before an employer says that notwithstanding your autism, we've done all we can to create an environment that's comfortable for you, but you cannot complete your duties as we require per the job description.