Adult Asperger's syndrome in the Workplace


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This slideshow provides a brief overview on how modest changes or considerations in business staffing/workforce supervisory processes helps enhance “disability confidence”, resulting in greater workforce participation and contributions by qualified candidates/employees who experience life with Asperger’s syndrome

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Adult Asperger's syndrome in the Workplace

  1. 1. Adult Aspergers Syndrome in the Workplace Common Issues & Practical Interventions Rob Crawford EAPA Central Arizona Chapter February 3, 2012
  2. 2. What do employers want?
  3. 3. What the ADA says about AS• That it must be a substantial impairment• That the person must be qualified for the job• That the person must be able to perform the essential functions of a job with or without a reasonable accommodation• A person must disclose the disability to receive accommodations• The accommodations must be reasonable and not present and undue hardship
  4. 4. In the work world, consideration for accommodations is not based onwhether the worker has a disability, but whether they have one UNDER THE LAW
  5. 5. 5 coherent/reliable dimensions of Asperger’s syndrome• Perspective taking• Understanding and expressing emotions• Fact orientation• Sensory sensitivities• Rigidity in thinking
  6. 6. Psychological Factors for ASD· Stress, frustration and anger reaction to change orinterruptions· Struggle to take initiative· Higher anxiety levels particularly when meeting newpeople or encountering change or new situations· Abrupt manner in expressing thoughts, ideas, or opinions· Single-mindedness, unwilling to see the viewpoint ofothers.
  7. 7. What is social thinking?
  8. 8. Social thinking is a way to trainyour brain to help you figure out the people around you.
  9. 9. What is the Hidden Curriculum?Practical solutions for understanding unstated rules in social situations
  10. 10. What aresome of the typical workplacechallenges?
  11. 11. Some typical workplace challenges• Binary thinking• Odd or unusual behaviors• Beginning/ending projects on time• Empathizing, relating, or interacting with customers, coworkers, supervisors• OCD• Sensory issues• Mega-anxiety = poor judgment/decision making• Appears to be oppositional or defiant
  12. 12. Typical barriers to success• Odd or unusual behavior such as talking • Exaggerated or overly sensitive to herself reactions to feedback• Difficulty beginning projects - unsure • Low motivation to perform tasks of no where to start immediate personal interest• Difficulty empathizing with others • Asking excessive questions, or the same thoughts and feelings question repeatedly• Difficulty relating to and interacting with • Perfectionism authority figures • Poor judgment and decision-making• Difficulty interacting in a team skills environment• Difficulty multi-tasking • Poor manners• Difficulty seeing the full scope of a • Reluctance to ask for help or seek project advice• Difficulty with unstructured time • Resistant to change• Difficulty writing reports • Sarcasm, negativism, critic • Slower productivity/performance
  13. 13. What’s Missing?• Individuals with AS are unaware of how to determine if their KSA’s match position• Employers are not well informed on AS• Individuals with AS are not prepared to be effective self-advocates• Employers are ill-equipped to determine accommodations• Neither has not been taught how to determine accommodations based on task
  14. 14. What are some useful strategiesfor workplace challenges?
  15. 15. Some useful strategies for workplace challenges?• Tap into their: – Excellent rote memory – Absorption of facts – Generally good math & science skills – Good language skills – Rules-oriented – Detail-oriented – Kind hearted – Honest to a fault – Guileless
  16. 16. What is the person with AS’ understanding of competitive employment? • Wants to work? • Motivated to learn new skills? • Open to constructive feedback? • Willing to take responsibility for their actions/reactions? • Willing to work on issues that arise? • Committed to being on time, doing their best in everything they do, and to make sacrifices? • Able to handle a reasonable amount of stress? • Willingness to disclose AS work-related issues?
  17. 17. Speak in a direct & clear mannerStatements w/ implied meanings Direct statements • Are you going to work on • I want you to work on the the database assignment? database assignment. • Brian, you’re the last one • Please put the alarm on because leaving today. you are the last to leave the office. • I feel like lunch. • I’m hungry, let’s go out for lunch. • We are behind schedule on the • You are going to have to stay Jacob’s job. late to meet the deadline.
  18. 18. State expectation & show how to meet it• Become gifted at stating the obvious: – Deadlines-time frames, schedules, etc. – Outcomes- what they look like, format, etc. – Behavior- dress, hygiene, appropriate conversation.
  19. 19. Looking at functional assets/limitations relative to a specific setting• Must know how personal skills, abilities, training, education, and experience relate to specific position within the company• Identify essential functions & environmental considerations of job• Identify potential functional assets & limitations• What CAMS are practical & reasonable for this employer?• How or will I disclose?
  20. 20. Situational Assessment Focus AreasTypes of workplace behaviors to be observed and assessed1. Ability to get along with co-workers/staff2. Ability to follow directions3. Ability to learn new tasks4. Speed of work5. Accuracy of work6. Frustration tolerance7. Safety8. Motivation9. Ability to follow complex directions
  21. 21. Consequence Chart: Potential employersObjectives Alternatives ADEQ- Family Sonora Quest Environmental Practice Labs-Lab Health Specialists- Technician Specialist Lab TechIntellectually interesting 1 2 3Know what to expect 3 1 2Social considerations 2 1 3Benefits / Compensation 2 1 3Work environment 3 1 2Physical problem 3 1 2accommodationsEducation 3 2 1Personal considerations 2 1 3Totals:
  22. 22. *Good jobs for visual thinking people with AS• Animal trainer or veterinary technician -- Dog obedience trainer, behavior problem consultant.• Automobile mechanic -- Can visualize how the entire car works.• Building maintenance -- Fixes broken pipes, windows and other things in a commercial setting.• Building trades -- Carpenter or welder. These jobs make good use of visual skills.• Commercial art -- Advertising and magazine freelance work.• Computer programming -- Wide-open field, especially in industrial automation, software design, business computers, communications and network systems.• Computer-troubleshooter and repair -- Can visualize problems in computers and networks.• Drafting -- Engineering drawings and computer aided drafting.• Equipment designing -- Many industries, often a person starts as a draftsman.• Factory maintenance -- Repairs and fixes factory equipment. *Some• Laboratory technician
  23. 23. *Why are these examples bad jobs for a person with AS?• Air traffic controller• Airline pilot• Cashier• Casino dealer• Futures market trader• Receptionist and telephone operator• Short order cook• Taxi dispatcher• Waitress
  24. 24. Uncertainties Chart: Am I able to work?Outcomes I am unable to work I am able to work part-time I am able to work full-timeChances Most Likely Likely Least LikelyConsequences I will remain at home I will work and will be I will work and will be unable and become my unable to attend to to attend to household wife’s homemaker. I household duties. I will be duties. I may not be able to will be able to attend unable to attend to my sustain this work pace for to my interests as I interests. Moderate anxiety more than a year or two. I will no longer be “on and stress. will be unable to attend to the clock”. Least my interests. High anxiety anxiety and stress. and stress.
  25. 25. Self-Accommodation Take 1• Sectioning in progress.• Please be so kind as to knock on the door before entering as this process is very sensitive to vibration and air currents.• Also, your friendly ultra-microtome operator has an over-developed startle reflex… ;)
  26. 26. Self-Accommodation Autistic Jihad• Please Knock On The Door Before Entering.• Please be so kind as to knock on the door before entering as I am very easily startled and I do not wish to die prematurely as a result of a heart attack.• Also, I have no wish to conduct an uncontrolled experiment with an un-capped syringe full of Uranium salts… ;) - Carlos
  27. 27. References used forthis presentation
  28. 28. Local Resources
  29. 29. National Resources
  30. 30. Employer Resources Employer Resources
  31. 31. In case of emergency:Rob CrawfordLife Development 773-2774, ext. 217