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luvsterriers
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17 Nov 2009, 10:23 am

I have aspergers and a learning disability. I don't know if this is a common thing that makes people with aspergers especially uncomfortable. When we get new people, I am to train them. So that means sitting next to them and showing them step by step what to do for a particular task. Well I had to do this for college as a grade. It was part of teaching internship in order to get a music degree. So I had to train freshman non piano majors how to read piano music. I was embarrassed and uncomfortable. The students complained to the professor that I confused them to. So how can I train someone at work? Is it hard for any of you to train someone how to do something at school or work? Now if I can easily do QA/QC where I don't have to sit next to them or even talk to them. At work a co worker can send me a PDF and ask me if there are any edits. I can then email them back any edits they need to make. That is way easier for me.

Oh and I hate parties at work. So I know in few weeks there will be Holiday party at work and I decline. I don't care if a co worker were to beg me to go to party. I think work parties are stupid anyways.

Thanks

Anna



blastoff
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17 Nov 2009, 7:46 pm

Hi Anna.

I don't care for company parties either. It's hard for me to know what to do, somehow. I don't do well at seeing people outside of their normal context, even if I know them pretty well. It takes me some time to make the adjustment. My advice on this subject is not to say to anyone that "work parties are stupid" or pass any type of judgment on them or the people who go to them. Don't make a big deal about it; simply politely decline the invitation: "Thank you for asking me, but I am unable to attend." If someone pushes you on that, be polite but firm: "I really can't be there, but I know you'll have a good time." Or something. Do *not* say "I wouldn't come to this stupid party if my life depended on it, and you're stupid for going to it!"

As for having to train people, this is a difficult issue for many people, and not just those with AS. Can you identify exactly what the problem is? Do you not know what you're doing well enough to communicate it to someone else? Are you not confident enough? Do you have trouble finding the right words? Is it that everything has to happen in "real time," and you don't have enough time to think? Depending on what the issue is, it may be solvable. Or it may not, in which case you'll need to have a talk with your supervisor, and that could be tricky.

I do most of the training of new employees in my department, and I am very very good at it. So maybe if you can tell me a little more about what problems you're having specifically, I might be able to help.



luvsterriers
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18 Nov 2009, 8:19 am

I work for the federal government as a contractor. I do redistricting maps. So come 2010 it will be busy since 2010 is new Census. It's Geographic related. Here is a link that gives detail information about what GIS is.

http://www.gis.leg.mn/html/aboutgis.html



So come 2010 or so there will be new staff coming. There will be tons of redistricting maps coming in. So since I have been at this job since 2002, I may have to train new people. Well that is the problem. Like I mentioned during college, I HAD to do a teaching internship class in order to graduate. I received a BA degree in music. I don't know why I needed to take a internship class when I had no plans to teach music at all! I got out of music after graduation and never looked back. I even had a friend that was in the internship class. I had to get in front of class and teach them how to read piano music. These students were freshman, non piano majors. So it was so difficult. Some of the students complained to the professor that I confused them. So how can a learning disabled person teach a person who has no disability? I started playing piano at age 6, so I knew a lot about piano but still I feel uncomfortable teaching it. Some just aren't great teachers at all. But for me I have poor oral skills thus confusing a lot of people. I avoid social situations as much as possible. I still have issues with oral skills! I don't know if it's part of LD or aspergers.

Back to the redistricting maps. We digitize it and make a PDF. So when a new staff member makes a PDF and I am told to QA/QC it for any errors, that is so easy for me. I can take the time and look carefully at the PDF to see if they spelled everything, and if colors are ok, etc. I can then email them any errors they need to fix. I have good attention to detail. But FORCING me to speak and teach someone how to do what I'm doing, is out of the question. Since I work for Fed Govt, I may have problem. But forcing a LD person to do something they can't do, isn't that illegal? I explained to my supervisor that I have LD, so I shall see what he says. I explained what problems I have too. Maybe my supervisor will then tell the fed govt staff. I don't know.



Last edited by luvsterriers on 18 Nov 2009, 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

blastoff
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18 Nov 2009, 9:59 am

Congratulations on having the same job for seven years! I've never managed that.

Cool job. Working with maps would make me very happy. It sounds like interesting work.

I think your expectation that you may have to train people is probably correct. You're likely one of the more experienced employees they have. Since you don't actually work for the government, I wouldn't think that your supervisor would "report you" to the Feds. It will likely go up the pole a ways at the company who writes your paychecks, but you have to expect that.

What happens next depends heavily on two things you've already done, unfortunately. When you were hired, way back in 2002, did you disclose that you have a learning disability? There's a box to check on the job application, or sometimes, if the company is big enough, they'll have you call a toll-free number and someone will ask you a few questions. The Americans with Disabilities Act does afford some protection from discrimination, and learning disabilities definitely do fall under the ADA. If you reported at the time of your hire that you have a disability, that will help you now.

The second thing is how you told your boss. If you said, "I'm concerned that with all these new people coming in that I'll have to do some training. I know enough about myself to know that this is something I'm not good at because of my learning disability, and I would very much prefer to help in other ways. If that means taking over parts of someone else's duties so that *they* can do the training, I'm happy to do that. But for me to do the training is going to be difficult and perhaps unsuccessful, and since this is so important, I don't know that we can take that risk." then you have helped your boss be understanding. But if you said "I have a learning disability and I can't / won't do this" then you've probably caused him or her to be defensive, and to wonder why you're all of a sudden refusing to do something.

If your boss already knows you do good work, this will help a lot. Figure out what you can offer in this situation, not just what you can "take away." Give your boss some reason to appreciate what you're saying. You can talk a little about your previous training issues, and maybe you have some insight about why it didn't work out then. It's possible your boss may ask you to do this training anyway, but maybe he or she has some direction for you and can tell you what makes things work well.

Don't give up! Nothing bad has happened yet.



luvsterriers
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18 Nov 2009, 10:48 am

This is my first full time job. I actually got hired summer 2001 when I graduated from college. I was working at our corporate office as a receptionist for a year. Then summer 2002 there was a contractor position opened up within the Dept of Justice So that is where I am now. The company I work for has contracts in Washington DC, Southern Maryland and even down in Norfolk at the Navy base and other places. It's a small company only 80 employees. I have a new supervisor now since my previous superior left the company. My previous supervisor knew about my LD and I gave him a high school sheet of info about that. IEP it's called. I don't know if my previous supervisor kept this info to himself, told corporate office staff about it, or even told the Dept of Justice staff about it. So at least my previous supervisor knew. I gave him the info the first week I started at this job. So I assume that he told my current supervisor about my LD. If he didn't, I just emailed my current supervisor about my LD and my issues. Since the Dept of Justice staff doesn't pay me, I can't really tell them I think. My company, my current supervisor is the man I talk to. I hope this isn't confusing. Like I said I have poor oral skills. I still remember having to teach a friend how to read music. I had to do this as a grade! So even though I played piano since age 6, and this was my friend, I still felt uncomfortable. I don't know if I should get my parents involved. I mean I'm not a teen anymore, but a adult.

In the team, there are 12 of us. Five of them are Dept of Justice employees, thus the contractors client.

Anna



blastoff
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19 Nov 2009, 10:23 pm

You said you just e-mailed your supervisor with this information about you. I sure hope you sent some sort of an intro paragraph, and a closing paragraph that says "We should set up a time to discuss this." I know you said your oral skills aren't great, but to send a surprise "bombs away!" e-mail is going to catch him by surprise. Sending the info by e-mail is fine, but it needs to be in the context of a larger dialog and exchange of information.



luvsterriers
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20 Nov 2009, 8:20 am

I just don't know when to tell a employer about my LD and aspergers. The first week on the job? The day they call me and say I'm hired?


Anna



blastoff
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20 Nov 2009, 9:36 am

Well, you're well past the first day / week / month, so you don't have to worry about that decision. What's important is what you do now. You've already told your new supervisor, through the e-mail, but you really need to have a talk with him too. Tell him how your conditions affect your work (both positively and negatively) and what sort of help you need to do your job at your best, and how these things can help you.

The last part of that is really important, so he'll know what the benefit is to him and to the company. For instance, I have a lot of trouble processing auditory input. Too much of it, and I get overwhelmed and basically shut down. Simple earplugs don't do enough good, so I talked to my doctor and we came up with the solution that I could have a dedicated iPod with only white noise on it, and use earbuds with it to seal out ambient sounds. Since we have a "no personal music" policy at work, I got a letter from my doctor to the HR department stating what I needed and (very briefly) why. He also added a couple of sentences about "this will help blastoff be more productive, calmer, and better able to do work without distraction." (Or something like that.) This helped "sell it" to HR and my supervisors, because it told them what's in it for them: a more productive, calmer, and less distracted blastoff. These are good things, and my employer, who might have been inclined to be resistant to this accommodation, was instead in favor of it.



Ladarzak
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20 Nov 2009, 5:15 pm

Here's an idea on how to make the teaching easier (from a former professional teacher.)

Develop written instructions for the main points, so they (and you) can follow it as you go through whatever is necessary for teaching. Keep developing this document, improving it as you process each new person or group of people. Ask them for improvement suggestions, and thank them for those suggestions. You will develop a system out of this that will help both you and the students.