Should I seek an official AS diagnosis, or not?

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LupeLauraly
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08 Oct 2009, 3:33 pm

Below is an excerpt from my post in the “Getting to Know Each Other” room. Someone suggested I post it in here to see if anyone had advice for me.

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I’ve gotten by in life so far by memorizing the rules (or etiquettes) in any new situation that I’m placed in and then trying to adhere stringently to those rules. This is what has continually gotten me in trouble, both socially and professionally, because there’s a great chasm between the written or verbal rules and what is socially or professionally accepted as “bending” those rules. I simply do not intrinsically know how to bend the rules. For example, in the Army, I learned to show courtesies to anyone who outranked me. I did well with this until I befriended a girl who well outranked me. It didn’t matter if we were in uniform or not, I could never bring myself to call her anything but Staff Sergeant So-and-so, no matter how many times she asked me to call her by her first name. Of course, now that I’m no longer in the military, I have no qualms about calling her Kolleen, because this is acceptable according to the “rules” between girlfriends. I have all sorts of rule sets, from rules for how to be a wife, to rules on how to talk on the phone, to rules on how to deal with chatty strangers, even rules on how to chew gum in public. Sometimes I feel like I can’t win because I get frustrated when my rules are shown to be incorrect, but I also get frustrated when others don’t follow my prescribed rules, either. Does any of this make any sense to anyone? I also feel awkward most of the time because I answer rhetorical questions 100% of the time, use $5 words in casual conversations, and I have no clue when someone is being sarcastic. I’m always outed as “the weird one” shortly after entering a new environment. This has been my life since I started Kindergarten.

I’ve been getting myself into trouble recently at work, too, because of my need to follow the rules. I work as a software tester for a software development company and when I was hired, it was explained to me that as long as I was at work from 10am to 3pm Monday through Thursday (i.e., core hours), however else I chose to reach a forty-hour workweek (and no more than forty hours, unless I am specifically approved) was up to me. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays aren’t included in core hours. Recently, however, I’ve been getting myself into hot water with management. A few weeks ago, I was told to inform my manager if I was ONLY going to work forty hours. (To work more or less than forty hours is not my choice.) And then another time, I was told to inform my manager if I didn’t intend to work on Saturdays and Sundays. (This after I had not been approached by anyone to work over the weekend. I ended up being the only person who didn’t come in.) And just this week, I was asked to inform my manager of the days in which I intend to leave before 5pm. (Five being the latest I can stay without incurring charges for not picking my son up from daycare on time.) I’m trying to adapt, but it’s so difficult when I can’t read between the lines. I feel like an awful failure and an idiot most days at work for not getting what most of my other coworkers just simply understand. I’m not breaking any of my company’s rules, per se, but I’m being treated as though I am. Add to that that I work deliberately and methodically in an environment that demands quickness and you have the recipe for me hating my job. Because of this, I’ve been wondering if I should seek an official diagnosis of Asperger’s. All of my work woes are related to my inability to understand small group dynamics, read between the lines, or stray from my established work routines. Would I be afforded any kind of protection (from adverse personnel actions, or even from being fired) if I could demonstrate that my behavior is attributable to Asperger’s and not to my desire to be a bad employee (which has been suggested)? I would like to tell my manager exactly what I’ve just told y’all, but I don’t feel like I can do that without first being officially diagnosed with Asperger’s (or something from the ASD/PPD spectrum). Does anyone who’s dealt with this have any advice for me?

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Thanks for reading. :D



kbergren21
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08 Oct 2009, 4:54 pm

Its not a good idea. Do not give him a reason to single you out. The bottom line with employers is that they are there to make the company money. If they cease to see value in your abilities to make the company money... He will let you go. Nothing personal its business for you manager.



LupeLauraly
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08 Oct 2009, 5:08 pm

I hadn't even considered that, kbergren21. Thanks for the heads up.



drowbot0181
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08 Oct 2009, 5:28 pm

If it were me, any time somebody said something like to me, I would point out the rules that *they* have laid out and that if they want to alter those rules, they need to make it official and do so for everybody. They are clearly in the wrong.



zeichner
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08 Oct 2009, 9:07 pm

LupeLauraly wrote:
...Does anyone who’s dealt with this have any advice for me?...

If you wish to have your employer officially make accommodations for you (i.e. treat your AS as a disability), then you will need to get a diagnosis.

However, if you were able to get along well in the Army, you probably don't require special accommodations. It seems to me that your best course of action would be to come to a specific understanding with your manager as to the hours you work, just as any other employee might do. That way you are addressing the specific issue & AS doesn't even have to enter into it.

I would advise you to talk to your manager & express your concern that the rules regarding working hours seem to be constantly changing and you are worried that some of the rule changes will affect your daycare schedule (just as any other parent would be concerned.) See if you can come to an unambiguous solution specifically for the hours you will work (get it in writing, if you can.)

If you would still like to get a Dx, I highly recommend it. I was diagnosed in February & it's a very good feeling to know for sure. I don't see any reason to mention my diagnosis to my employers - even if I do sometimes address specific issues with them. The accommodations they make for me are quite informal (things like, I prefer to not be approached from behind.) The Dx was for my own benefit - to provide validation for what I was feeling.


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So I will keep a deliberate pace - Let the damn breeze dry my face."
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LupeLauraly
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08 Oct 2009, 9:43 pm

Thanks y'all. Zeichner, I think I feel the way you do about a diagnosis. It would be for me, for the most part. I wouldn't want to have to pull my Asperger's card at work, because I try to go along to get along, but it'd be nice to know it was there. I have to add, though, that my time in the military was awful. I was pretty bad at being a soldier. Every last minute of the five-plus years I was in was spent absolutely dreading the next minute. I chose not to get out before my enlistment was up because I naively assumed everyone had as difficult a time in the Army as I did and I wanted to honor my contract. I've been out for almost two years now and getting out honestly felt like coming home from being held hostage in a hostile environment. (No offense meant toward anyone here who actually HAS been held hostage in a hostile environment.)

Thanks for the replies, everyone. It helps to have your inputs. :D



zeichner
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08 Oct 2009, 10:26 pm

Sorry to hear that you and the military didn't get along. My last assignment was pretty cushy (playing in an international military jazz band in Belgium), so I left with mostly happy memories. I wasn't a very good soldier, either - but I was a good musician, so they put up with me.

You must have a very strong character to be able to tough it out for over five years, especially when it didn't agree with you. Your present employers are lucky to have you.


_________________
"I am likely to miss the main event, if I stop to cry & complain again.
So I will keep a deliberate pace - Let the damn breeze dry my face."
- Fiona Apple - "Better Version of Me"