Do you/would you want to work with autistic people?

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Tom
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13 Oct 2006, 6:10 am

I keep hearing that (high funtioning) autistic people themselves are the best people to work as carers or special needs teachers with autistics, as they understand them more. Do you think you would enjoy a job like that particularly? Would you consider it?



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13 Oct 2006, 6:21 am

Interestingly enough (for me, anyway) I've always considered myself too lazy or too busy to consider care work, but that changed on holiday this year. I did some backpacking across Europe with a friend, who unfortunately turned out to be a narcissist of the first calibre, and during the time I spent in Corfu, stayed at a family run hostel called The Sunrock. The owners had an autistic child, who I found, frankly, fascinating. Simply watching how he interacted with the world, and people, and seeing the things that made him happy/sad was very humbling, and changed my opinion on the profoundly autistic forever. He was five years old.


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Tom
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13 Oct 2006, 7:02 am

Wow, thats great. I think meeting Autistic kids and adults is a very intresting experience.



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13 Oct 2006, 7:59 am

I've actually worked with the autisitc population in the past. I worked as an instructor at a computer workshop at one of the local universities for people on the spectrum. I also worked with one individual with aspegers when I used to work in group homes. I also used to volunteer at the early intervention program I was in when I was younger. It can be a very rewarding experience.



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13 Oct 2006, 8:22 am

I think I'd be very good at it, but I'm not sure I'd enjoy it.


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13 Oct 2006, 8:36 am

That intrigues me, usually I have the potential to be good at almost anything I try, but I can't excel at something unless I actually enjoy it.


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13 Oct 2006, 11:20 pm

I wouldn't want to. Caring for one Asperger's sufferer (me) is enough.


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13 Oct 2006, 11:42 pm

>>I wouldn't want to. Caring for one Asperger's sufferer (me) is enough<<

Indeeed. And I don't have much patience at all (says a person who is studying to become a teacher...crap).



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13 Oct 2006, 11:51 pm

I have been giving this a lot of thought the past few days.Doing research about it on line.I work with DD clients right now but one has severe autism as well.I really feel a bond with him as well as an aspie I met who lives at a different house run by my company.

My biggest concern with "working" with people with autism is that I can not stand yelling and physical violence....it stresses me out.The other concern would be what kind of "therapy" they were receiving. more I learn about ABA,the less I like it.Sounds like trying to train a cat to act like a dog...it may work but it doesnt make sense or seem ethical to me.Until I find a company that respects the basic humanity of the autistic,I dont have any interest in working with them.I plan on doing more research to see if such a place exists in my area.


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14 Oct 2006, 12:04 am

I used to know someone who was very high functioning.


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14 Oct 2006, 12:09 am

I would like to meet some people with autism. I'm the only officially-diagnosed Aspie I know, except for a friend's 4-year-old sister whom I met once or twice who is suspected to have HFA.

I don't know whether I would be a good teacher for other Aspies, but I'd need to find out how I get on with and understand people on the spectrum, before I find out whether I'm any good at teaching. I wouldn't mind mentoring a younger Aspie, if it turned out I was good at that sort of thing.


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14 Oct 2006, 1:05 am

Well, I do work with AS and PDD-NOS kids, but also ADHD, ODD, Tourette's, bipolar, emotional disturbed and whatever else. Do I enjoy it? Somedays. But somedays I just want to quit.

I'm good at it. I have endless patience with most of these kids. I have the hardest time with ADHD and ODD kids, because I'm so not like them. Did you know that ADHD kids are about 10 times more likely to lie and 7 times more likely to steal than non-ADHD kids? Or that ODD kids get a "high" out of defying your instructions, and do so without any other rationale than that it gets them "high"? I have AS - as you can imagine, these issues are a serious strain for my rule-conscientious, ultra-honest, hyperlogical Asperger's demeanor.

As for the autistics, it's hard because I'm stuck between the kids and the school adminstration. I often workwith other teachers/counselors/aidees who don't know about autism very well or have gotten bad information. Then I have theparents, and due to legal issue, I have ot tread very carefully witht hem. I don't openly tell those I work with/for that I have AS, because I fear they will get the wrong impression of my motives or methods. I don't want them thinking I'm playing favorites with any kid due to their dx either. I do really well with AS kids, if they're really AS, and not misdx'd, which seems to happen A LOT. PDD-NOS kids are hit and miss. Some are great, others, ugh.

I don't work often with LFAs. I can handle the ones that are somewhat functional, but the ones that are profoundly low functioning, well, work a few days with those ones, and you'll understand why some many people want to "cure" autism.



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14 Oct 2006, 8:26 am

Cade wrote:
I don't work often with LFAs. I can handle the ones that are somewhat functional, but the ones that are profoundly low functioning, well, work a few days with those ones, and you'll understand why some many people want to "cure" autism.


Read a few posts like that one, and you'll understand why a lot of us who have been viewed that way at some point don't hang out in the communities of the so-called high-functioning. :roll:

Just Look At Them and You'll Understand is a post I made in my blog awhile back on the topic of people who say things... much like you just did. I hear it all the time, it never gets any better, and it never inspires my confidence in institutional staff, special education teachers, or volunteers in either of same, to hear them saying things like this in such large numbers. Because I'm certain there's people who at one point went home and said things like that about me.

It also doesn't inspire my confidence in autistic people's ability to "work with" each other without being just as biased about some of us as many non-autistic people are about all of us. I once asked Laura Tisoncik whether an autistic person who had not been institutionalized would have been good at the job she did (working in a group home for people with developmental disabilities, including one autistic person). Here's a quote from that part of the interview.

Quote:
Amanda: That makes sense. I'm thinking though, can you imagine an autistic person who had not experienced institutionalization going in there and understanding what they were up to as easily?

Laura: No. Absolutely not. Because they would not have any real clue. At all. About the institutional experience. I think if an autistic person just walked in there, they'd have had the problems with staff. They would not have had any special abilities to relate to the clients, including the autistic client.

Amanda: So they could have easily just gone in and made the same mistakes as any staff would as far as misinterpreting clients' behavior?

Laura: Absolutely, because you have to remember that the kind of thing that happens, the brutalization of clients, does not come from the individual per se. It's part of the system. It's just inherent in the way it's all designed. And you can pretty much plug everybody in, and if they don't understand it in a deep way, if they don't get what's wrong here, they will simply plug themselves very neatly into the staff role, and they will act staffy. And they don't even need to have social skills enough to figure out how staff are supposed to work, because it's just built into the role. I don't know how to describe that very well, but it's built into the role. It's built into what you're expected to do.


That is why I cringe rather than celebrate when I see most autistic people going into the "helping professions" with other autistic people. (And, for reference, I've had a few autistic or otherwise neuro-atypical staff who thought being autistic made it easier for them to relate to me -- without understanding of certain power dynamics, boy did it ever not.)


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16 Oct 2006, 2:03 am

Tom why are you asking? Are you hiring adults to work with autistics? For one thing I wouldn't do it because they never pay those people decent wages. Emotionally rewarding is all nice and fuzzy, but it doesn't pay the rent.

I just recently met two other adults with AS and I found it interesting that my Aspergers/autistic traits came out more when I was around them. This was something going on on a subconscious level I think. Did I just let my hair down a little more because I was in the company of similar people or was it something more? Maybe it was an Aspie mind-meld? I usually do fairly well faking it, that is giving some eye contact and talking, but then I started having trouble expressing myself and even stuttering. Besides meeting the 2 AS adults several parents of AS kids came to talk with me. I guess it was like having the spotlight suddenly turned on me because I could not look these parents in the eye or complete sentences very well. Not a good thing to do when you have parents surrounding you wondering what their kids will be like when they grow up.

I have been around some lower functioning autistics and do not think I could work with them. I don't think this is a prejudice against people. I think its a matter of having a low tolerance of people in general as an AS person and then when confronted with someone who's is unruly its hard to feel pity for them instead of running from them screaming. I have a Autie neighbor whom will just stare at me for like a hour straight, say nasty things and burps loud. For some reason this scares me more than the usual NT being mean.



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16 Oct 2006, 4:02 am

I guess I could, but, as Werbert said (100% seriously this time, I think), one person with Asperger's is enough to take care of for me.


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