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wavefreak58
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31 Jan 2011, 11:06 am

I tend to be pragmatic. If stating I am autistic is potentially harmful is some way, then I would likely suppress the urge to say anything. If it is neutral or potentially positive, then I see no point in hiding.

Part of this is I have the apsie trait of being brutally honest. My impulse is to let it rip, damn the consequences. So part of this conversation is to allow me to reign in something that can often cause me grief.


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wavefreak58
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31 Jan 2011, 11:50 am

Another reason for this thread is that while I have lots of experience with people ignoring me, treating me with disdain and contempt, being misunderstood, etc, I have no experience with how people react to autism specifically. People react to my quirks, even without bringing autism into the picture. I have no clue what will happen if I mention the 'A' word.

It's all new.

What is the downside to telling people?


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31 Jan 2011, 12:34 pm

wavefreak58 wrote:
Another reason for this thread is that while I have lots of experience with people ignoring me, treating me with disdain and contempt, being misunderstood, etc, I have no experience with how people react to autism specifically. People react to my quirks, even without bringing autism into the picture. I have no clue what will happen if I mention the 'A' word.

It's all new.

What is the downside to telling people?


My guess to the downside is that the learning curve for understanding autism is much steeper than the learning curve for understanding face blindness. You will have to spend class time (or after class time) giving a fairly long explanation that both explains autism and renders obsolete all the misconceptions that people have about it from media exposure. Each person will have their own set of misconceptions which will have to be cleared up.

The odds are that nobody has heard of face blindness so there are no misconceptions to clear up. That saves time on the explanations. It's also a pretty simple concept that people can adjust to easily. That also saves time on the explanations. Once people have a face blindness label to apply to you, further quirks will probably go into the mental file they have just created called "face blindness".

So I guess whether there is a downside or not depends on how much time and energy you are willing to invest in educating your students. If you are willing to invest the larger amount of time that will be needed for autism education- as opposed to face blindness education, which will not require any clearing up of media based misconceptions- then there is no downside. If you are looking for the quickest route to getting people to cut you some slack, then sticking to face blindness education only is more efficient. Since each new class means the education task has to be started all over again, efficiency might be less annoying. But if you are willing to do the more involved autism education then it will be more helpful in the long run.



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31 Jan 2011, 12:52 pm

I tell people all the time.

We are responsible for flying our flag.

If we wimp about with it at half mast, how can we feel good about ourselves?

Everything has good and bad points, and its just the same with telling. However, the good far outweighs the bad in this case.

This case, being more to the point, that you prefer to be open about autism, to mitigate your faux pax, You also wish to remain closed in fear of???

The only people who have taken advantage of my disclosure are super meanies, and after one good stare at them...

.... they cringe inside from their own still faintly beating conscience.

You have just helped them to help you and help others by being HONEST

Be a clear mirror and live in the light



aghogday
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31 Jan 2011, 1:36 pm

wavefreak58 wrote:
aghogday wrote:
I don't see a need to explain the Autism, but explaining the faceblindness might reduce the potential, not only for your discomfort, but also possible discomfort that a student might feel when they approach you in a different environment and you may not recognize and acknowledge them.


This is the most important thing to me. My class goes fine. I always get a good response. But I have met people out of context that I should recognize and it must seem terribly rude that I don't.

I don't understand your caution about bring autism into the explanation.


No caution, really. Just that if you were weighing a decision on whether or not to do it, I didn't see an objective reason to have to explain it.

These days most everyone knows of someone with Autism or has someone in their family with Autism. In my case, the explanation of my Autism to others that I knew, along with the fact that I was able to function normally in society, with it, most of my life, gave some hope to those that had relationships with children with Autism. Many of them are concerned whether or not their children will be able to function in society.

There could even be someone in your class with an ASD, diagnosed or undiagnosed; an explanation from you could be a life changer for someone like that. You don't seem to feel slighted by your diagnosis, so I don't see how an explanation can do anyone harm.



another_1
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31 Jan 2011, 2:10 pm

Janissy wrote:

My guess to the downside is that the learning curve for understanding autism is much steeper than the learning curve for understanding face blindness. You will have to spend class time (or after class time) giving a fairly long explanation that both explains autism and renders obsolete all the misconceptions that people have about it from media exposure. Each person will have their own set of misconceptions which will have to be cleared up.

The odds are that nobody has heard of face blindness so there are no misconceptions to clear up. That saves time on the explanations. It's also a pretty simple concept that people can adjust to easily. That also saves time on the explanations.


I think this is the strongest argument against mentioning "autism" during class. If you just kind of throw out, "Oh, BTW, I might not recognize you outside of class. It's a problem for me because I'm autistic. Just remind me who you are, and I'll remember and we can carry on normally," you risk having some class members drop the class - which, presumably, reduces the studio's $$$ from your class. If you bring it up, you need to allow time for a fairly adequate explanation, and to respond to questions which your comments are likely to spark. This is, IMHO, not an appropriate use of classtime. Not because it will take your time to explain it, but because you have a responsibility to your students to spend their time teaching them about the subject of the class - and that subject is not autism. I see nothing wrong with the disclosure itself, but feel it is a "do it right or don't do it at all" type of thing, and don't think you should be taking class time to "do it right."



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31 Jan 2011, 2:24 pm

another_1 wrote:
I think this is the strongest argument against mentioning "autism" during class. If you just kind of throw out, "Oh, BTW, I might not recognize you outside of class. It's a problem for me because I'm autistic. Just remind me who you are, and I'll remember and we can carry on normally," you risk having some class members drop the class - which, presumably, reduces the studio's $$$ from your class.


The class is prepaid. If they drop the class simply because I say I am autistic they can just go f**k themselves. Life is too short for me to deal with people with minds that narrow.

Quote:
If you bring it up, you need to allow time for a fairly adequate explanation, and to respond to questions which your comments are likely to spark.


This is a practical matter worth consideration. They pay for an art class, not to be educated in autism.

Quote:
This is, IMHO, not an appropriate use of classtime. Not because it will take your time to explain it, but because you have a responsibility to your students to spend their time teaching them about the subject of the class - and that subject is not autism. I see nothing wrong with the disclosure itself, but feel it is a "do it right or don't do it at all" type of thing, and don't think you should be taking class time to "do it right."


If I do say anything, it would be part of the intro where it is customary to do a brief biography (how long I've been teaching, awards, where I learned, etc ...). If this takes more than a few minutes it gets tedious and boring. I would toss face blindness and autism at the end, stating the practical consequence and suggesting that any other questions be deferred until after class.


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31 Jan 2011, 5:24 pm

wavefreak58 wrote:
Why is everyone so afraid of admitting their autism? How can we ever expect our rights to be honored when our first reaction is to recoil against disclosure at every turn? Autism is not a disease.


I've done so on a few occassions in school and at work. There was a lot of misunderstanding and stuff people thought but didn't say even when I asked. It's the associations with and assumptions about autism that gave the problems, even when I explained them cleary.

Autism and all other mental deviations are still viewed in general as a 'disease' and can easily result in being viewed upon as a lesser person. As long as neurodiversity isn't accepted or tolerated in the public view it's a near certainty you will get troubles with it.

I've got one friend who disclosed his autism to his employer and got fired because his boss googled autism and found something he didn't like about it. He got fired because for some other reason then autism, but this was the main motivation of his employer.
Funny thing is he worked as a programmer at that employer, most IT people I know could easily fit in the autism spectrum.

I guess the fear of the unknown makes lots of casualties, thank human nature for that :wink:

But in the end it's your choice.


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wavefreak58
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31 Jan 2011, 5:49 pm

Wallourdes wrote:
wavefreak58 wrote:
Why is everyone so afraid of admitting their autism? How can we ever expect our rights to be honored when our first reaction is to recoil against disclosure at every turn? Autism is not a disease.


I've done so on a few occassions in school and at work. There was a lot of misunderstanding and stuff people thought but didn't say even when I asked. It's the associations with and assumptions about autism that gave the problems, even when I explained them cleary.

Autism and all other mental deviations are still viewed in general as a 'disease' and can easily result in being viewed upon as a lesser person. As long as neurodiversity isn't accepted or tolerated in the public view it's a near certainty you will get troubles with it.

I've got one friend who disclosed his autism to his employer and got fired because his boss googled autism and found something he didn't like about it. He got fired because for some other reason then autism, but this was the main motivation of his employer.
Funny thing is he worked as a programmer at that employer, most IT people I know could easily fit in the autism spectrum.

I guess the fear of the unknown makes lots of casualties, thank human nature for that :wink:

But in the end it's your choice.


I guess I'm I'm a little surprised at the reluctance to disclose when there are no obvious negatives. If there are this many misconceptions about ASDs, then there are problems that go beyond my little corner of the world. One thing I have learned is that you get nothing without standing up against that which resists you. This is a life lesson, not one about autism. If someone like myself, that on first blush is 'normal', can't stand as a positive example of life on the spectrum, then we are all screwed.

"Stand up and be counted", right? I guess that sounds fine in the abstract. This may be my first real encounter with prejudice. We'll see. I haven't decided what to do.

The psychologist that DX'd me thinks I would be an effective advocate for autism. I can't do that if I am not open more often than hiding it.

Things are moving too fast. Discovering autism in myself was like having the sun suddenly penetrate my previously darkened mind. Every day is a new discovery about myself, the spectrum, and people in general. Right now I'm riding the wave. I hope I don't wipe out.


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31 Jan 2011, 9:32 pm

My hours at work weee already cut. I was told it was due to a slow down but nobody else was cut. In fact they actually hired more people and gave them thw hours. I suspect it is due to my back injury from a motor vehicle accident where i was not at fault but they dont want to admit it. If i disclose AS firing is a given since theyare already giving me grief over a back injury which has less stigma. On the plus side, if someone bothers me for the way i walk i would have much better standing and more rights if i said it was due to my back injury than AS if i sued for harassment.


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aghogday
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31 Jan 2011, 10:00 pm

Tory_canuck wrote:
My hours at work weee already cut. I was told it was due to a slow down but nobody else was cut. In fact they actually hired more people and gave them thw hours. I suspect it is due to my back injury from a motor vehicle accident where i was not at fault but they dont want to admit it. If i disclose AS firing is a given since theyare already giving me grief over a back injury which has less stigma. On the plus side, if someone bothers me for the way i walk i would have much better standing and more rights if i said it was due to my back injury than AS if i sued for harassment.


In the US the ADA "Americans with Disabilies Act" protects people with disabilities in the workplace including those diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Are their any disability laws that protect people with ASD in your country? Also, same question to Wallourdes regarding the Netherlands if he reads this.



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01 Feb 2011, 2:58 pm

aghogday wrote:
Tory_canuck wrote:
My hours at work weee already cut. I was told it was due to a slow down but nobody else was cut. In fact they actually hired more people and gave them thw hours. I suspect it is due to my back injury from a motor vehicle accident where i was not at fault but they dont want to admit it. If i disclose AS firing is a given since theyare already giving me grief over a back injury which has less stigma. On the plus side, if someone bothers me for the way i walk i would have much better standing and more rights if i said it was due to my back injury than AS if i sued for harassment.


In the US the ADA "Americans with Disabilies Act" protects people with disabilities in the workplace including those diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Are their any disability laws that protect people with ASD in your country? Also, same question to Wallourdes regarding the Netherlands if he reads this.


We have Act on Equal Treatment on the Grounds of Handicap or Chronic Illness (link) here in The Netherlands.
I just Googled it, but I did know purely on discrimination people could get court ordered.
My friend didn't file a lawsuit since it was a temporary thing anyway.

Theory and practice don't really parrallel though.


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01 Feb 2011, 6:29 pm

I was waiting in line at the supermarket to get my diabetes meds. A woman infront of me kept apologize for her child's behavior because of the noise he was making and could not stand still. She told me he was autistic. I told her don't worry about it I have Aspergers and I was quite the handfull for my parents when I was little. She seemed relieved that I was not pissed about her kid's behavior. After we were talking for a while as the pharmasist was setting up our orders. She told me after meeting me it gave her hope that her kid will be as articulate and polite as me when he gets older.

Telling people you have Aspergers especially someone who has above average talent allows NTs to see we are capable of more than rainman type behavior. It shows the NTs we are as good as them we are just a little bit different. :wink: I say come out and tell them so you can squash some negative steryotypes of autism. 8)


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02 Feb 2011, 4:40 am

I'm just newly diagnosed and so I'm kind of facing this issue about disclosure now. In the past I have wished there was some way of explaining the problem with a label so I guess I thought being able to disclose would be a good thing.

I'm leaning towards telling people rather than not. I think it will challenge people's misconceptions about autism which is good for making the world a more accepting place. I think if you're not ashamed of it then other people will also learn that it's nothing to be ashamed of like others have said. Also, I think on a personal level I value being honest and transparent and I probably only want to be friends with people who will accept me as I am anyway.

My difficulties have caused me enough problems and created problems with work etc so I guess explaining my problem can't really exclude me anymore than my actual difficulty does, if that makes sense. Maybe it's different for people who can pass as NT more easily though.



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02 Feb 2011, 4:27 pm

wavefreak58 wrote:
The class is prepaid. If they drop the class simply because I say I am autistic they can just go f**k themselves. Life is too short for me to deal with people with minds that narrow.

If I do say anything, it would be part of the intro where it is customary to do a brief biography (how long I've been teaching, awards, where I learned, etc ...). If this takes more than a few minutes it gets tedious and boring. I would toss face blindness and autism at the end, stating the practical consequence and suggesting that any other questions be deferred until after class.


As long as it isn't going to cost the studio (or you! 8) ) money, and you don't take an unreasonable amount of classtime for it, I see no reason why you shouldn't disclose your ASD. Hey, let's face it - everybody thinks of artsy types as being a bit weird anyway! Maybe they'll start thinking of Auties in terms of Picasso and Dali (:thumright: ) , instead of those uncontrollable, screaming children that Austism Speaks always shows in mid-meltdown. :roll: