The autistic community may need to advocate for itself

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StuckWithin
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10 Sep 2012, 12:35 pm

Some days I get the sense that the support needed to help people on the spectrum match their qualifications to real and rewarding jobs is a task that may have to come more from the AS community, than from neurotypical society at large. I have this impression quite simply because, although there are wonderful NT people who "get" what autism is about, and how it affects social communication, the vast majority of society doesn't get it, and can't be bothered to take an interest in it.

It really pains me when educated and intelligent, loyal, persevering people on the spectrum can't attain work commensurate with their qualifications, simply because they fail at the "charisma and bull*&%" that is so critical, so crucial, to making it in this world... The result is that you have very smart people, often times, doing menial work, being pushed around and treated poorly - thanks to which they may develop undeserved secondary health issues (PTSD, social phobias, isolation, depression, etc.). It is all a terrible injustice.

I am so grateful for people like John Elder Robison and Temple Grandin, who, despite their autism (and even to a large degree, because of it!!), are successful, respected professionals, who are recognized and in the public sphere. I am extremely grateful for them and how they speak out for the AS community. I also feel that our society needs a sustained effort from many more such people, so that a critical mass is achieved and barriers to gainful, suitable employment are identified and removed.

Would appreciate your thoughts on this.


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10 Sep 2012, 12:56 pm

I mostly despise this society....I think its a big part of the problem, I think society needs some major changes. Including not being based upon how well you play a bunch of superficial games or how 'competitive' you can be. Though I think it is nice that there are people with autism that have become known by the public and neurotypicals who do try and help........but to succeeding in this society in the face of autism or any other disorder/disability in my mind isn't what i see as a massive accomplishment. I think we need a better society or no society.

I mean the public still does not seem to get it even if you do have a public figure like Temple Grandin, then they just see it as 'oh look how this person finally overcame their difficulties and suceeded and is now a functioning member of our lovely society.' So then they expect that others with autism will do the same if only they develop a positive attitude and try very hard to strive for the status quo, then they can do great things 'for' society. But that is just how I feel about it.


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SpectrumWarrior
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10 Sep 2012, 1:10 pm

Our social problems aren't inherent, that is to say, we can function in society just fine, it's the discrimination from NT's that causes the issue. This is an artificial dilemma derived from their ignorance. Look at their society, they're due for an awakening sooner than later.



StuckWithin
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10 Sep 2012, 1:20 pm

I am inclined to agree that we don't need many of the things that ordinary society promotes as desirable. In that sense, we as autistic people are self-sufficient.

However, I can't help but point out that we as human beings by and large are dependent on wider society to make a living somehow. If an educated autistic person is rejected time and again, in effect, he or she is being barred from earning a living - qualifications notwithstanding. That is a serious issue, and one that does need to be addressed somehow.


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Kalinda
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10 Sep 2012, 1:39 pm

Yeah, I agree. I also think schizophrenia is possibly a part of the Autism spectrum. It really means you have a different way of processing information, but where-as some people are overstimulated to a certain degree, others are more in the extreme. There must be so many unknown brilliant people out there with Aspergers and other mental disorders. It's not really a social issue as much as an issue that is pragmatic although always evolving with social issues.


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Sweetleaf
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10 Sep 2012, 2:01 pm

SpectrumWarrior wrote:
Our social problems aren't inherent, that is to say, we can function in society just fine, it's the discrimination from NT's that causes the issue. This is an artificial dilemma derived from their ignorance. Look at their society, they're due for an awakening sooner than later.


The discrimination is a part of this society though.


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Sweetleaf
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10 Sep 2012, 2:04 pm

StuckWithin wrote:
I am inclined to agree that we don't need many of the things that ordinary society promotes as desirable. In that sense, we as autistic people are self-sufficient.

However, I can't help but point out that we as human beings by and large are dependent on wider society to make a living somehow. If an educated autistic person is rejected time and again, in effect, he or she is being barred from earning a living - qualifications notwithstanding. That is a serious issue, and one that does need to be addressed somehow.


Yeah it is a serious issue that needs addressing, which is exactly why I have an issue with this society, changes to it would have to be made to get rid of that problem.


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10 Sep 2012, 3:16 pm

There are hard working, good, honest NT people in the same board. Under employed, unemployed, working in boring jobs. It's not an AS issue alone.

Life doesn't always work out where you land the dream job right away, sometimes never. It's sad and unfair, but it's life. Your not entitled to a job, and not to a good job either.

Quote:
Our social problems aren't inherent, that is to say, we can function in society just fine, it's the discrimination from NT's that causes the issue. This is an artificial dilemma derived from their ignorance. Look at their society, they're due for an awakening sooner than later.


I see a lot of posts that would beg to differ.



StuckWithin
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10 Sep 2012, 3:20 pm

thewhitrbbit wrote:
Life doesn't always work out where you land the dream job right away, sometimes never. It's sad and unfair, but it's life. Your not entitled to a job, and not to a good job either.

I'd say it's not necessarily about landing the dream job, but one that one's education and experience qualify you for. If you are qualified on paper, but interviewers don't like you for, say, your lack of charm or because of your inherent matter-of-factness, then as far as I'm concerned, that is unjust. You would be able to do the job in question, but may have to take something well below your qualifications, simply based on the fact that a person who values charm found none in you and chose to turn you down.

Yes, it's life, and yes, it's unfair ... but as a species equipped with reason, I say humans can and should aim for better than that.


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10 Sep 2012, 3:28 pm

StuckWithin wrote:
thewhitrbbit wrote:
Life doesn't always work out where you land the dream job right away, sometimes never. It's sad and unfair, but it's life. Your not entitled to a job, and not to a good job either.

I'd say it's not necessarily about landing the dream job, but one that one's education and experience qualify you for. If you are qualified on paper, but interviewers don't like you for, say, your lack of charm or because of your inherent matter-of-factness, then as far as I'm concerned, that is unjust. You would be able to do the job in question, but may have to take something well below your qualifications, simply based on the fact that a person who values charm found none in you and chose to turn you down.

Yes, it's life, and yes, it's unfair ... but as a species equipped with reason, I say humans can and should aim for better than that.


In some cases I would agree with you, in some cases I would not agree.

If your job involves sales, or direct customer service, I would disagree.

If your job doesn't involve working with the public, I would agree with you.

But then again, you have to be able to work on teams and things. It's not always cut and dry.



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11 Sep 2012, 6:05 am

It's a 'dog eat dog' world for everyone basically and unfortunately most people are not going to go out of their way to make life easier for others. It is unfortunately far more practical to try and modify yourself to enable you to fit in with what society wants than to get society to change.

I've never found it easy in the workplace but I've always strived to find jobs or voluntary work in the interim and this has worked out ok for me. Life will never be free of stress or bad situations - that goes for most people, whether they have AS or not, but it's the striving that's the main thing not the results in my opinion. The harder you try the more likely you will get some good results in amongst the bad ones.

Having some kind of vocational qualification is important to give you more job opportunities. I have an IT qualification and have worked mainly in IT support for 15 years and switched to administration work over the last 8 years. The stress of the IT Helpdesk support work and all the travelling on bus and train to and from work was unbelievable but I have my own mortgaged house to show for the effort I put in so despite it nearly killing me with stress/depression at times I'd far rather have my own house than not, so I think in the long run it has been worth the pain.

You will wait a long time for society to change to accommodate people on the autistic spectrum for the very fact that there's no incentive for it to change - certainly not a financial one, which is usually the main factor. People will usually only do what they need to do and it will invariably also be something that benefits them and they do not need to give us a helping hand as we are in effect competing with everyone else as we're human beings and life is all about competing to get the best resources (in the real world that is)



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11 Sep 2012, 9:36 am

thewhitrbbit wrote:
There are hard working, good, honest NT people in the same board. Under employed, unemployed, working in boring jobs. It's not an AS issue alone.

Life doesn't always work out where you land the dream job right away, sometimes never. It's sad and unfair, but it's life. Your not entitled to a job, and not to a good job either.

Quote:
Our social problems aren't inherent, that is to say, we can function in society just fine, it's the discrimination from NT's that causes the issue. This is an artificial dilemma derived from their ignorance. Look at their society, they're due for an awakening sooner than later.


I see a lot of posts that would beg to differ.


Yeah precisely why there are things like unemployment and welfare...my only question is how idiotic exactly are the politicians that would like to eliminate those and turn this society into even more of a 'every person for them self' senerio than it already is.


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11 Sep 2012, 9:42 am

nessa238 wrote:
It's a 'dog eat dog' world for everyone basically and unfortunately most people are not going to go out of their way to make life easier for others. It is unfortunately far more practical to try and modify yourself to enable you to fit in with what society wants than to get society to change.

Maybe for you it is more practical....but society must not make you as uncomfortable and angry as it does me. Besides every time I've tried fitting in people still can tell I don't. Its always been that way.

I've never found it easy in the workplace but I've always strived to find jobs or voluntary work in the interim and this has worked out ok for me. Life will never be free of stress or bad situations - that goes for most people, whether they have AS or not, but it's the striving that's the main thing not the results in my opinion. The harder you try the more likely you will get some good results in amongst the bad ones.

Not in my experience, in my experience the harder you try the less people believe you're trying and the more burnt out I get.

Having some kind of vocational qualification is important to give you more job opportunities. I have an IT qualification and have worked mainly in IT support for 15 years and switched to administration work over the last 8 years. The stress of the IT Helpdesk support work and all the travelling on bus and train to and from work was unbelievable but I have my own mortgaged house to show for the effort I put in so despite it nearly killing me with stress/depression at times I'd far rather have my own house than not, so I think in the long run it has been worth the pain.

You will wait a long time for society to change to accommodate people on the autistic spectrum for the very fact that there's no incentive for it to change - certainly not a financial one, which is usually the main factor. People will usually only do what they need to do and it will invariably also be something that benefits them and they do not need to give us a helping hand as we are in effect competing with everyone else as we're human beings and life is all about competing to get the best resources (in the real world that is)


Ha well then its hopeless....the idea that life is about competing to get the best resources is more disturbing than anything as it is totally the opposite of community. How people figure our BS pseudo-survival of the fittest society based more on financial heirarchy than anything else is 'the real world' I can't quite figure out. That said that's just my opinion if what you're doing works for you great.


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nessa238
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11 Sep 2012, 9:48 am

Sweetleaf wrote:
nessa238 wrote:
It's a 'dog eat dog' world for everyone basically and unfortunately most people are not going to go out of their way to make life easier for others. It is unfortunately far more practical to try and modify yourself to enable you to fit in with what society wants than to get society to change.

Maybe for you it is more practical....but society must not make you as uncomfortable and angry as it does me. Besides every time I've tried fitting in people still can tell I don't. Its always been that way.

I've never found it easy in the workplace but I've always strived to find jobs or voluntary work in the interim and this has worked out ok for me. Life will never be free of stress or bad situations - that goes for most people, whether they have AS or not, but it's the striving that's the main thing not the results in my opinion. The harder you try the more likely you will get some good results in amongst the bad ones.

Not in my experience, in my experience the harder you try the less people believe you're trying and the more burnt out I get.

Having some kind of vocational qualification is important to give you more job opportunities. I have an IT qualification and have worked mainly in IT support for 15 years and switched to administration work over the last 8 years. The stress of the IT Helpdesk support work and all the travelling on bus and train to and from work was unbelievable but I have my own mortgaged house to show for the effort I put in so despite it nearly killing me with stress/depression at times I'd far rather have my own house than not, so I think in the long run it has been worth the pain.

You will wait a long time for society to change to accommodate people on the autistic spectrum for the very fact that there's no incentive for it to change - certainly not a financial one, which is usually the main factor. People will usually only do what they need to do and it will invariably also be something that benefits them and they do not need to give us a helping hand as we are in effect competing with everyone else as we're human beings and life is all about competing to get the best resources (in the real world that is)


Ha well then its hopeless....the idea that life is about competing to get the best resources is more disturbing than anything as it is totally the opposite of community. How people figure our BS pseudo-survival of the fittest society based more on financial heirarchy than anything else is 'the real world' I can't quite figure out. That said that's just my opinion if what you're doing works for you great.


It may be disturbing but it's also plainly obvious. Community can still play a part but you will tend to find that's people banding together to get the best advantages for themselves/their community. While a hard thing to accept if you are at a disadvantage, survival of the fittest is obvious. It's far cleverer to try and get your needs met to the best of your ability and most of us have more than enough intelligence to do this if we focus our abilities in the right direction. You don't have to be a part of the system or agree with it to want to get something out of it but you need to understand how the system works at the very least.

Can I ask if you work and where you live?