Being Autistic in a Neurotypical Workplace: Here's Something to Think About by Carrie Watts
Everyone has challenges at work, and most people cope effectively with those challenges. But how many of us have thought about where our colleagues might be in the “assault cycle” before speaking with them? How many of us think to stop and ask ourselves (if we don’t already know), “If this person was autistic, how might that change my perception of the situation?”
My 20 plus years as an autistic person surviving neurotypical (NT) workplaces has taught me that very few NT people think about these things. They may not know a lot about autism or have only heard about the “deficits” that cause autistic people difficulty. That’s understandable, to a degree. But in this day and age, every human being has a responsibility to consider the impact of their words and actions, regardless of their specific neurodevelopment.
It is not the obligation of autistic people to react and behave “normally,” so as to not challenge the status quo in the workplace. It is time for us, as a society, to recognize the deficits inherent in the status quo and to change those, so that all needs are met and all people are treated with equal dignity and respect.
It’s something to consider before that next meeting.