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I posted a blog post about a program that I went through that did nothing to help me find a job. I talked about how the coach stressed me to the brink of a breakdown. However, there were signs that I should have picked up on that this program is garbage.
Remember, one thing that could work for you may not always work for me. This is just how I felt about the program.
Remember this is just saying signs I should have listened out for that the program would not help ME.
One thing, the counslor’s attitude. I will call this women Sally. Sally refusing to believe I am autistic should have been an automatic flag on the play. Sally is adding to the stigma.
How someone talks doesn’t have jack to do about autism. Sally thought because I can talk I am not autistic. Communication issue among autistics goes far beyond just talking.
Because an autistic adult can do things on their own, people are less likely to believe they are autistic. Anyone who adds to the stigma for why your people can’t get any help is someone you don’t wanna associate with. Sally blocked out any criticism giving to her telling her why she is wrong. Just because someone can talk doesn’t give you the right to invalidate their disability.
I told Sally I need a job where I do not have to interact with anyone and she said its ‘anti-social’
I am sick and tired of being taken out of context left and right. Communicating with NTs is like play 3 Dimensional chess. They communicate with subtle and vague context and I need direct context.
As a result, I didn’t get the help I needed because of Sally’s ignorance. I believe because of Sally, I did not get placed properly. Any ‘professional’ that tells you you don’t have a disability because of insert stigma here is not a good program. At least in my perspective, a good program should be open to understanding all aspects of a disability.
Before meeting with the coach, Sally did an ‘assessment’ to see what job I can do only to say stock shelves. I think these companies underestimate disabled people. It’s like they think that’s all you can do because of your disability/experience/education. There are probably plenty of tech-related things I can start off with, they probably didn’t want to put in the time to help me find it. Or writing jobs since I’ve got skills with that. We need to look beyond finding jobs that ‘easy’ look at other things like the environment. I have no actual proof but I feel they could have done a little more digging for a job I could handle. Maybe a scenario assessment. You name a scenario that can occur on a job and rate based on how they do.
For this next instance, I am talking about people I see posting about how they want to do X but is stuck at Y job.
The reason some people are stuck with these jobs is that people underestimate them just because of their experience/education. Whether the person has 2 years of experience or none you are taking a chance either way. They can have all the experience and be a shitty person to work with. Then you chose experience over work ethic. Now wanting to be a doctor or a lawyer is one thing, but some folks think ‘why spend thousands of dollars and be in debt from loans for something I can probably teach myself.’ I am talking about coding for instance.
Someone may want to go self-taught with that.
The coach’s behavior. I will call the coach Sarah. Sarah didn’t take any time to understand the people she will work with. Every disabled person’s struggle is different. Sarah seemed to think everyone struggled with passing interviews. I had a private with her before the first meeting. I am thinking this was her chance to understand my job struggles. Then later on she was always hounding me and confused as to why I was not applying for jobs when I couldn’t find anything I could handle. Instead of being understanding that I am having a hard time finding something to apply to, she takes as not being committed. How can you expect someone to apply for jobs when they can’t FIND ONE?! Like Sarah, what did you do with those notes you took when I told you my limitations? I thought you would keep that as useful info. The very few I was able to find weren’t enough because when I told her she’d ask where else have I applied.
Why take notes and not use them? That should have been another sign. When you go to the doctor, they take notes on why you are coming in and may pull it up if you ever need it. I believe that is how I won my disability case because the psych took notes and referred to them when he had to fill out paperwork. The notes she took when I stated my limitations would have given her an idea.
Another reason why I also claim Sarah had no understanding is during a staffing meeting she asks what’s ‘holding me back’ from applying. Uh idk. I CAN’T FIND JOBS TO APPLY TO THAT I AM CAPABLE OF HANDLING, GENIUS.’ I told her I was in therapy and it took a lot of my attention because I knew it was my ticket to freedom.
Another thing during the staffing meeting is Sarah said I need to communicate with her more but never told me how many times a week to email her and what for. This is a huge gate when it comes to autistic people and commands.
You would think a disability ‘coach’ would understand how difficult finding jobs are especially for disabled people.
Another sign. The coach didn’t seem to understand how difficult finding jobs are. Like I said I have no actual evidence but based on how she reprimanded me for not applying, she didn’t understand how hard it is to find an accessible job. You can come across a job ad.
Is the job assesible?
Will the employer accomidate you
Will they punish you for needing days off for appointments etc?
Sarah expected us to have no lives, or at least I felt that way. Remember I have no actual proof. She didn’t outright say it but actions speak louder than words. I got stressed from trying to find jobs to apply to and needed a break. Other people in the group also needed some time away and she reprimanded us for it. We didn’t owe her anything. We shouldn’t have had to explain to Sarah why we didn’t apply. It’s simple. We have a life outside that program and jobs aren’t the only thing on our priorities. Things come up. I’m sorry if not thinking about jobs 24/7 inconveniences you. Did Sarah think we gave up our lives entering that program? I think Sarah set the bar way too high.
I don’t mean to sound like a brat. But scolding someone for not sending out job applications like the sorting machine at the post office is taking things too far.
The way she pressured us, more importantly, me, whenever we didn’t apply for enough jobs was weird. It’s not life or death, damn. Maybe there were no openings that week. Maybe most employers had who they needed until the holidays. I would assume spots needed to be filled when kids return to school. Jesus, it wasn’t our fault if we couldn’t apply for a god damn job.
Or maybe we couldn’t find any accessible, accommodating jobs.
Remember we are with disabled people. Maybe they had some ups and downs with their health. This woman got the nerve to reprimand disabled people for putting their health first. Even then, a person needs a break. A person needs to step away. Even if you do not know the reason, you still need to be mindful. Even though this may not have been Sarah’s intention.
She never thought the pressure she added on me wasn’t helping.
Other times I could not find anything. You would think someone who is suppose to be a disability job coach would be understanding. Nope. You work with disabled people. Its hard for them to find employment yet you’re so puzzled when they are struggling.
Sarah reprimanding you for simply needing a break or something that came up that was higher on your priorities than her is a toxic person you don’t need. Then again, maybe there was no job opening for that person’s area.
Honestly if our mental health/physical health is poor, we are going to prioritize it.
I think Sarah forgot about the notes she took during the private.
Lets say I sign up for acting lessons. The coach should know I have no experience and to teach me the key elements of acting, right?
While Sarah was sooo confused as to why I was not applying for jobs, wait for it….
Firstly, Sarah never gave me a specific number of applications to send in. By the looks of it, everyone in the group previously worked while me a person who has no experience and never worked. That was the problem.
Sarah didn’t seem to understand disabled folks’ struggles with employment. I asked how much longer was the program and she said until you get a job. The reason I am appalled is because of how difficult it is for some disabled folks to gain employment and the limitations they have. Or better yet, most disabled folks struggle to KEEP a job due to their condition. Or their condition makes it impossible in general. If you file for disability, they are gonna ask you have you tried getting a job.
WTF?! I was at the program for 3 months, that’s how long I’ve applied for jobs and no one called me back. Not to mention, this program started late fall and most employers have who they want by then. At least for when kids return to school. At most, they have who they want before Halloween. I may be wrong but different managers need people for a different time, at least I think so. Halloween can be busy with people buying treats for trick-or-treaters, outfits, decor, etc.
I emailed her asking if I can leave and she said no that if I don’t show up they close my case. She asked if It was too much attending the program how could I attend a job several days a week. She answered her own question basically. If her program was too overwhelming then a job will be too overwhelming. If she knew about the autistic brain, she would have known how easy it is for us to get overwhelmed and not blame me for not applying for jobs 24/7. I asked would they close my case if I got sick and she said you can miss 3 days. She only gave us 3 DAYS TO MISS. 3 FUCKING DAYS. I don’t think Sarah has the tiniest understanding of disabled people. The reason I say this is because depending on how often they need medical appointments or have flare-ups. If someone with IBS has a flare-up 3 times a week let’s say, someone, can EASILY eat up those 3 days. Or it could simply be the doctor’s schedule. You have to take whatever the doctor has. At times, I was left to take really early or really late appointments due to how booked the doctor is. Or had to wait a month to get in and either take that day or wait another month. Let’s say the day the doctor has open is the day of Sarah’s club. My health is more important than Sarah’s club that’s doing nothing to help me.
Sarah knew damn well I have no work experience and acted so surprised when I bombed the interview answer I gave her. Someone that acts so surprised when you butcher interview questions when they KNOW you don’t have experience…
When Sarah asked follow-up questions, the interviewer can do the same thing. Being hammered with questions like that can be overwhelming for an autistic. Because they need time to process it. This traces back to Sarah not understanding autistic employment issues. Interviews are a struggle for autistics due to the questions and not understanding the intent of the question. It seems like Sarah assumed I had the same issue as everyone else in the group. This is the thing, I need someone who understands autistic employment issues. Which I could not get because Sally didn’t believe I am autistic.
Sarah said the tell me about yourself question has to relate to the job. How in the hell can I do that if I have NEVER had a job?! It would make sense if it’s already what I do. Say I am applying to write for a non-profit autism organization, I can tell them about this blog and the topics I write about. There was a major miscommunication. My thinking of this program is they help you get a job while Sarah’s intentions are job interviews and expecting you to apply for jobs. Then again maybe they offer more than one service and I got misplaced due to Sally refusing to believe I’m autistic. It doesn’t make sense to jump to interviews. If your resume doesn’t stand out from the crowd you won’t get an interview. You may be asked to explain gaps in your employment which could mean hospitalizations due to your disability, needing time off for healing after surgery, etc. Or simply taking off for maternity/paternity leave. What if they use that as a way to pass you up?
Thats what Sarah should have taught. I don’t mean to come off as telling her how to do her job, your resume has to stand out to the hiring manager before contacting you for an interview.
Back on track. Sarah never taught us questions they should not ask you.
Sarah never covered that while I was there. It’s the first thing you should teach anyone when it comes to interviews, questions they should not ask you. Signs to decline the job. Signs the employer is a poor quality employer. There are people out there who will try to take advantage of a desperate job seeker. It’s important they know the red flags.
It boils down to Sally refusing to believe I’m autistic. If Sally didn’t invalidate me, I could have told her I need a sum up in an e-mail as a way to recap what happened during the meetings. I would have told her it’s important you make sure I understand, it’s important you are specific when giving instructions. Writing it down doesn’t work because while I write one thing I miss what else you will say.
Sarah was not transparent when it came to job applications. I never got a certain number. I had a completely different message when it came to the program than the services Sarah actually offered.
If I see ‘we help disabled people get jobs’ I will think you help them get some training for the job with in their skills and/or what fits them. Not interviews. Because your skills has to stand out. The skills for the job and your skills have to match. If that doesn’t stand out to the hiring team, you won’t get called for an interview.
Then again Sarah may not be the only coach there but I feel like I was misplaced since everyone in the group previously had jobs. Instead of Sarah faulting me for not applying and not understanding her services question the placement team as to why they put someone with no work experience in a group for people with work experience. That could have been why I didn’t get the help I needed.
Lesson learned. Don’t join a program you don’t fully understand. Join a program that understands YOUR employment struggle. I need someone who gets autistic employment issues.
When Sally invalidated me I should have walked out. Like I said before, you do not want to associate with someone who adds to the stigma for why your people can’t get the help they need and go ignored.
It takes some autistic time to learn certain things. Sally made me feel bad for asking questions so. You don’t need to be around someone who makes you feel bad for being you. Sally is not the person I want to associate with. Cutting that program out was the best thing I ever did.