Anna's Reviews > Asperger's on the Job: Must-have Advice for People with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism, and their Employers, Educators, and Advocates

Asperger's on the Job by Rudy Simone
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bookshelves: asd, employment, aspergers, self-help-books, non-fiction, strategy, asperger-self-help-books

Aspergers on the Job is a well structured easy going handbook that outlines typical employment issues for persons with Asperger's.

The chapters are very short and quick to read, and all consistently end in a 3-part recommendations section: 'What the employee can do', 'To employers and advocates', and 'Questions' (for reflection). Simone takes a well balanced, common sense approach (just like in 'Aspergirls'), where she encourages the players (employees, employers and other stake holders) to take each others' views with illustrative examples and recommendations.

The set-up of the book project is a good idea too (a bit like Aspergirls too) - 50 adults with Asperger's were interviewed for the book, and are quoted in all the chapters to exemplify the issues raised.

The foreword by Temple Grandin is excellent.

The book's strength is IMO that it is such a handy, well structured overview and quick read with very accessible insights.

Its main weakness is the recommendations. I was hoping to find actionable solutions I hadn't thought of myself, and while some of the recommendations were useful (e.g. the anti-bullying/anti-gossip strategies), most were either obvious common sense-like, or too naive for real workplaces.

Another weakness is the annoyingly non-scientific personal beliefs promoted here and there - such as the 'leaky gut syndrome', and the crusade against 'chemicals'. Which I suppose refers to all human-created harmful toxics in the environment, none of which have any proven causative link with autism or direct relevance for employment, so I think such 'crusading' is misplaced in a practical handbook.

Another downside is the ridiculous superman cover :-) but that is not important.

To sum up, I think the book is a great 'executive summary' type handbook, perhaps best for employers to give a quick, easy accessible introduction to the issues faced by & with Aspie employees, but less for employees and job seekers looking for practical solutions, and those already familiar with the issues raised in the book.

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Reading Progress

May 11, 2012 – Shelved
May 19, 2013 – Started Reading
May 23, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Petra in 4 days may have a bf fingers crossed Do you have Asperger's? I do. It was hell playing office politics, I never knew what I should do or say. I have some strategies now but they mostly don't work :-D

Anna Yes.

Petra in 4 days may have a bf fingers crossed Found any books you'd recommend?

Anna Yes. All the books I'd recommend (which I remember) are in my "favourites" list.

- Or did you mean specifically books about Aspergers & employment?

Then yes, I would like to recommend the book I am currently reading: Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook. I am not through it yet and have not followed the instructions yet. It is essentially a detailed instruction manual for writing a personal employment autobiography according to the structure and question sequence given by the book. It seems very useful (if it works), and I am slowly working towards the Workbook part of it.

I am not so focussed on employment right now, because the job I have now works for me. However, it is part time, and my income is very low (although I also occasionally work a bit freelance). So in the longer run I am still looking for a way to get employment to work out in such a way that I can make a solid income without being miserable at work and exhausted all the time at home. An ongoing process of discovery:-)

Anna Ah sorry, I get you now, you are after office politics strategies that work:-) I still recommend the same book. It instructs you to consider what others have said to you in the past in 3 different workplaces (and many other things), how to learn from feedback, summarise your development over time and work out a personal employment strategy based on your bundle of strengths & weaknesses and fixing what needs more work et.c. Very systematic & thorough... A bit hard reading... Not easy going like Rudy Simone's book above... but potentially very useful.

Petra in 4 days may have a bf fingers crossed I'm after anything really. I'm self-employed - I have a bookshop - but I mostly don't go to it, I work in my office. I don't go out much, I stay in. I don't have many friends and I'm not young. I can't really deal with people, I seem to get things wrong without knowing what I did. So anything that helps really.

I did find something that helped somewhat for talking too much and being too focused, but I forget to put it into practice!

Anna It probably won't help you to find more helpful resources, if your key problem is failure to put it into practice. The executive part of executive functioning;-)

It also sounds like you want to solve a lot of things at once... So what is most important? And what is OK as it is? You say you don't have many friends - does that mean no friends at all, and is it a situation you are unhappy about, or are you a very solitaire/introvert person by nature anyway (I am, for example...).

Re. getting things wrong without knowing what you did - (sounds familiar:-)

There is a range of potential ways to approach such problems - from social skills classes learning about social skills more generally, over reading self-help books about social skills ... to invite feedback directly from the annoyed persons (depending on their attitude of course and only if they are not deliberately mean).

The latter can be extremely useful. It can teach you directly what you did wrong and tend to do wrong and why it offend people. Inviting feedback/critique is also a great signal to send - it tells people that you care how they feel and that you don't annoy them on purpose. However, I don't know if you are defensive to critique (as many aspies are, apparently... I am not). - if that is the case, then that would be what needs work first...

Anyway, that was just some random advice based on the sporadic information about what problem needs to be solved:-)

If you are looking for more self-help books, then try looking at Lynne Soraya's book list (unfortunately she doesn't seem to tag her bookshelf... good luck digging). This one looks particularly relevant for what you are talking about:

Learning the Hidden Curriculum: The Odyssey of One Autistic Adult

Petra in 4 days may have a bf fingers crossed Thank you. That was interesting to read. I'm not sensitive to critique. I have asked people and got nowhere. Or rather my friend (I do actually have a bff who is very popular so she is a good person to ask) and she helps me out. I will check out the book list.

message 9: by Anna (last edited Jul 26, 2013 04:27PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna That is very good:-) My husband is my best friend, and he helps me out a lot too.

and that is a good, safe way, because you best friend is definitely on your side.

What I talked about is to directly ask the persons who may be annoyed when you have the feeling that you have done something wrong but is not sure, or don't know what it is. So:

1. When people say they are upset, ask them to explain what the problem is in details and why it upsets them - in a friendly, cooperative tone. Genuinely listen and ask additional questions to map the social issue as thoroughly as possible, approaching it like a personal research project not like a defence/judgement situation.


A. It will give you valuable information you can use to update your social understanding in the long run, and your understanding of your impact on others

B. It will make the person less upset and more understanding onwards by letting him/her let off steam

C. It is likely to make the person change his/her view on you in a more positive direction, because it signals universally valued social traits: That you are someone who cares about how others feel, works to develop yourself, and is willing to correct your mistakes, is genuine, willing to listen, honest, et.c.

It can get that person more "on your side", so he/she is more willing to try to see your perspective, guide you and maybe even help mediate issues with others. The person would tend to be less likely to join vicious gossip about you, or may even stand up against it if he/she has "guts" (that's a personality issue... some people just don't).

That's a "best case scenario"... It can also turn bad. Some people are just mean gossipers eager to find a target, and being upfront can make you more vulnerable too.

However in the long run, I am sure the "feedback-searching" approach works best, because it gives you more information + gets at least some good people on your side rather than working against you.

2. To ask people who you think might easily get you wrong, or in situations where you tend to get people wrong, if everything is OK, let them know that you are doing your best to come along well with people and attentive to others feelings (even if you are not... the point is to get them to tell you). So train people to guide you:-)

It may come across as insecure, reassurance-seeking behaviour, but I think that is OK:-) The alternative is much worse: doing things wrong and not understanding how and why, being the target of collective resentfulness and even bullying, or even getting sacked without understanding why et.c.

I think "partial disclosure" of Aspergers is a good approach: so don't mention Aspergers (because their understanding of it will be patchy of it anyway), at least not initially.

Instead, explain the traits of it that are relevant to you and make them used to it, such as:

- "I am not good at picking up hints, so I would appreciate to be told things directly..."
(everything has to be repeated every now and again... people will forget it regularly)

- "I am very sensitive to noise, so I don't go to parties and dinners" (if that is the case).

- "I have a tendency to talk too much, please let me know if I am starting to talk to much"
(You can invent a specific signal they can use, like a word or other sign".

- "I tend to get to focused and forget my surroundings, so I may fail to respond to my name at times... "
(and then suggest ways that this may work out so they can get their message through without interrupting you, etc)

That's a summary of the social approach that works best for me (albeit not always), developed over a lifetime. Probably some of it is obvious:-) at least to some people. It wasn't obvious to me in the past.

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