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How The Workplaces Weeds Out Neurodiverse People

August 15, 2020

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Believe it or not, the workplace does weed us out. The next time you apply for a job look at the description and what the expected duties are. Not just autistic people anyone disabled.

Listen to people’s stories about working at certain companies. If it was hell for them, think about how bad it will be for us.

What is required of the job is one way the workplace is weeding out ND people. Let’s say the job calls for good social skills, communication, smiling, waving, etc. Social skills are something we don’t have.

At least not by nature. Every job on the planet should not have a main focus on smiling, waving, etc.

Masking is painful for us and it’s the sole reason why you may have trouble getting someone to believe you’re autistic. Remember the idiot lady from that program that I keep ranting about? Well, you can mask w/o knowing because you are so used to it.

Like in the military, the soldiers will wear camo that will help them blend in with their surroundings. That’s basically how autistic people mask, but mimic what they see NTs do. Blending in with my surroundings.

Jobs being inaccessible is a major one. Having lighting that the person is sensitive to.  Or if it’s too hot/cold etc.

Just like someone in a wheelchair can’t work at a place with no ramps, elevator bathrooms w/disability access, etc, positions they can manage, we cannot do jobs that do not have the appropriate setting

If the job makes it hard for us to take needed breaks can play a role.

Jobs nowadays weed out disabled people. Let’s say the job calls for unloading trucks, standing for several hours, etc.

Someone with joint pain would not be able to do that. This is just a mere guess. The job itself may not even call for that

Some autistics are afraid to inform the employer about their autism and what adjustments they need in fear of being harassed or fired. No one should have to fear being treated differently because of a disability they didn’t ask for.

Most applications have the option to check whether or not you have a disability. When the person checks ‘yes’ they don’t hear back. They may be scared to check that option out of fear they will be passed up.

That weeds us out, for sure.

A big one. Not having a work-from-home option.

I feel work from home can help a lot of us. Some people may not be able to get a job due to transportation, bad weather, or anxiety with transportation.

Say you rely on the bus/train in your area, the busses stop running after a certain hour (when I used to live in the burbs, I saw on the schedule the last bus left at 9 on weekdays and 10/11 on weekends.

Say they need you to be in at 12, you don’t have a car so you can’t drive. If the job had work from a home option you wouldn’t have to worry about getting to work.

Some of us have anxiety with public transit or driving in heavy traffic so remote working can really help us.

Unfortunate events can divert the busses, too. Back in May when the riots and robbing were happening, I got an alert on my phone that the buses were suspending service after 9. Say someone works until 10, they’re stranded and may not be able to afford a cab. This is another reason why I favor working from home.

Or the other way around, they can’t get to work, have no money for a cab, no friends/family free to drop them off.


Where do I start? Not getting the job for not enough eye contact or a firm handshake. On an autism post, someone said there were times when they would find out that the interview would be a group interview. Sometimes those types of interactions can be hard.

Vague directions. If the person didn’t get enough clarity regarding a task and the boss gets angry at them. Sometimes you ask for it and they won’t give it to you.

On YouTube, I get vague feedback all the time. I posted a travel vlog to a forum on Reddit. One guy told me to ‘work on my thumbnails’ but didn’t

  1. tell me what they saw that made them think that
  2. give me ideas to make the layout better
  3. tell me what was wrong with the pictures they saw

Just telling me something needs work or to work on it without telling me what is lacking does nothing. Maybe they give feedback to a graphic designer and ‘work on this’ tells them what’s weak. Remember, I am NOT a GD.

One time my mom didn’t give me a specific time to be ready and when I was not ready she gave me the silent treatment and got angry at me and yelled at me the whole ride.

You can’t expect us to read your mind to know what the hell you want and then get mad when it doesn’t get done. Just like at McDonald’s it’s like not telling them no mustard on your burger and getting mad at them for putting the mustard on your sandwich.

Expecting us to just know the rules rather than taking the time to make sure you are aware. I can’t make it in my own home with everyone expecting me to know what they want rather than taking the time to communicate. How would a job be any different?

Being put on jobs that were not in the description. If someone applies to be a cashier, that is what they expect their job to be not pointless tasks thrown in the for the fun of it. It gets overwhelming.

No predictable schedule. Having a schedule that is not consistent. Having to constantly guess what the schedule is for the week or what the tasks are can send us into anxiety. This is why we like predictability.

Making social gatherings mandatory. There are so many things that weed us out of jobs. The blog will be too long if I list them all.

I think more jobs should add work from home, that is one way to get us in the workforce.

Instead of expecting us to know what you want, freaking say it. Be clear in your directions.

If someone applies to be a cashier, that should be their job and not random tasks.

I think having actually autistic people on the HR staff or companies run by autistics is a good start. Companies run by NTs are the sole reason the workforce is not for us. NTS doesn’t have the sensory problems we have.

Remember that program I talked about? Have some programs run by actually autistics. The term ‘actually autistic’ is a way for autistic to share facts about their disorder, due to misinformation, myths, and stigmas.

This isn’t to block out other disabilities but simply because autistic employment issues and needs are different from someone else.

During the program that’s why I didn’t get any help because I was lumped in with folks with completely different issues than me. Let’s say Tom needs a ramp to get into the building. I’d need a phone book worth of adjustments.

I don’t mean literally but the employer’s impression of the adjustments we need could look like a phone book.

I mean Tom’s issue is different than mine and being lumped in his group, the coach will assume everyone has a similar problem to Tom.

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