Feb 16, 2009

Accomidations at Work?

A reader recently asked me about asking for accomidations at work:

As an adult Aspie who worked for a major pharmaceutical corporation, I never initially asked for acomidations. That said, I had an excellent reputation and once I was diagnosed my employer made some accomidations informally.

1. Some one with whom to check my perceptions. I was able to go to my boss and a coworker and ask questions about social rules or what certain e-mails meant. Such as the e-mail from the CEO asking everyone to help the new VP of sales feel welcome. I took it to my boss and asked if the CEO really expected us to do anything or if the CEO was making "happy noise". I would also swing by my coworkers cubicle to check how I should respond to certain things (i.e. e-mail, phone call, ignore the comment).

2. Headphones. If you have a desk job in an office environment get headphones so that when you are trying to concentrate you can have something that masks out other sound.

3. My coworkers new that I brought a book or something to fiddle with to every meeting. If meetings were to slow or boring I would get agitated. Thank God for laptops and wireless internet. If a meeting leader would challenge me, my coworkers would step in. I really was in an ideal situation. People were curious about my condition, supportive (Pfizer is big on inclusion), and I was doing good work accept for the occasional Aspie goof. If you have one of those smart phones that allow you to access facebook or to blog or something, you couls set it on your lap so others couldn't quite see it, and then you could fiddle with that.

4. I live by sunglasses. They really help cut glair if you have the right kind. They can also help the discomfort of making eye contact. They need to be light enough so that people can see your eyes. Yes, I used to where them inside if I felt I needed to. Not alot though. Interestingly, most people would assume they were transition lesnses that weren't clearing up for some reason.

5. I also had coworkers that would proof my documents for spelling and gramar.The thing is this, If you are good at what you do and people value your work, they will put up with all sorts of things. They will consider you skilled, but eccentric. Especially if you are an easy person with whom to work. That said, I built the reputation first over several years. What does the Aspie need that would keep him/her from successfully completing the work? That is a better question. The other question is, what is the marketable talent this Aspie has? If an employer wants what you have, they will make accomodations so that can have it.


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