Feeling patronised but think I should be feeling supported!!

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cyberbint
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01 Jun 2011, 1:01 pm

I have a great job that I love (talking endlessly to genuinely interested audiences about my special interest & getting paid for it!), excellent flexibility in how / when I work, senior management position and all that. Great job.

I also have a physical impairment, that they're not too good at accommodating for social / all-staff events, and I've been challenging them on this recently. Thought we'd made progress after I explained that a social walking event where people with mobility limitations were told to "join us after" was Not Good and they needed to think about wheelchair / mobility scooter inclusion etc.

Anyway, a team building day is being planned, and despite piping up regularly about the need to be consulted (it's an outward bound type thing) on how to be included, I got asked for my dietary requirements & told it was "all sorted" with no-one having asked about / consulted on physical inclusion. When I pointed this out I was asked to give suggested of "inclusive activities you can do while the others are on the physically challenging activities", which kind of misses both the 'inclusion' and 'team-building' point! I, erm, expressed my displeasure at this, but managed to avoid a full on melt-down. :wink:

Some other managers picked up on the AS, which I have never really considered on the disability inclusion front before - mostly because I'm still working out which parts of my personality are because of AS, and partly because I think I've been employed BECAUSE of the AS devotion to detail! These guys are lovely, and started talking about the fact I may have reacted to not being included in the planning of the inclusivity of the event because of my AS, rather than because it's just wrong not to include (physically) disabled people in planning a physically demanding staff event.

They've now bent over backwards to provide me details with the whole day, even organising a 'chill out' room for me if the social-ness of the whole thing overwhelms me (it would, but I'd never said so). It looks like they're also set to include me far more in communications on planning stages of major decisions - something I've been complaining about the lack of for ages; we are slow to make decisions when speed & clarity is needed and those of us who have simple, quick solutions to problems are ignored in their painfully laborious management decision-making processes. (For example, it took them 8 months to agree & announce a new organisational structure I sketched on the back of an envelope when they first said they were looking at a new structure - and another 6 months to even START to implement it, whereas they would have saved a shed load of cash if they'd adopted and implemented it right away!)

I never thought I had a problem with planning or needing predictability. I thought I had that one pretty much NT up to now. ... But when I told my husband I thought they were over-compensating on the AS having screwed up on the physical thing, as I had no planning or routine issues he nearly choked on his beer laughing so hard! So, it turns out I do have planning & control issues (I always just thought I had mild control-freak tendencies because I am clearly always right!). ... So it turns out I have a lot to learn about bits of me I always thought were perfectly NT, but given my recent DX, maybe not!

Now I'm concerned that while I don't want to make an issue of AS, because I see it mostly as a strength and not an impairment, my employers & colleagues will be uber-conscious of it all the time and I'm worried about being patronised.

Views, opinions, "shutupandbegrateful"s most welcome! :?



Radiofixr
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01 Jun 2011, 1:22 pm

my coworker just agrees with me when I explain why I want something done the way I want it done and just goes and does what he wants to do opposite of what I want him to do and then wonders why I get mad and have a meltdown-he says one thing and does another thing totally-I love how NT's do that-lie to your face to keep you quiet and they go on with their agenda.


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Meow1971
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01 Jun 2011, 5:55 pm

It has been years since I read this article and I cannot find it so forgive the vagueness but it had to do with how racial relations go through the same thing at the beginning of a sensitivity shift. The example was an African-American man who raised an issue about subtle racism at work and found he was listened to. They corrected the issue and apologized.

And then any time ANY decision came up they asked for his opinion "as a person of color". Many decision had nothing to do with or influenced by race but he was consulted anyway. Now it was a form of positive discrimination where his skin color singled him out for a level of participation of which no other employee was required.

So he said something again and the pendulum swung back to the insensitive side, but not nearly as far requiring just a few private words to a couple of individuals. His take was that it was lucky he wanted to stay there because he never thought he would be required to teach them about social racism and appropriate racial response.

Anyway, it reminded me of your situation... you may have to say something again to nudge them back and just be sure to be polite and positive when you do.



cyberbint
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01 Jun 2011, 7:14 pm

I do hope they won't go off the deep end, and I guess I'm a bit over-sensitive about it right now anyway ... it was something of a revelation to realise *I* had the difference regarding planning issues, rather than my previously held belief that I was just right about how thing should be organised!! ;-)

We're a Community Development charity, and 2 of the other managers have experience of working with (in the staff member - service user sense, not as colleagues) people on the spectrum, I'm curious to see how they'll make the transition from dealing with service users to a colleague!

I guess I also need to do some work on unpicking what issues I might have (if I can ever stop my husband from laughing!) with planning & routine / expectation management, before I can know if they are going too far or not. I think I've just been so used to people reacting to my insistence on planning, making lists and cutting out all irrelevant steps as just being one of my 'quirks' & that my irritation & anxiety around this has been my fault; the idea that some people might actually start behaving in the way I have been ranting about for over 30 years is just toooooo weird.

- There should be some special hotline for adults recently dx'd who get freaked out when bits of the world might suddenly start to behave like you've always been saying they should. That's a head-melty culture shift for me! :D



murasaki_ahiru
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06 Jun 2011, 11:45 pm

I feel Im between a rock and a hard place with this issue. While I do need help with some things I don't want to be seen as dumb or anything like that either. If I need you I ring the bell otherwise please leave me alone Im fine thanks.


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oldmantime
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18 Jun 2011, 7:40 pm

talk to them about it. and do they talk to you like they would talk to a baby? if so then you got problems.


they could just value you, you know. do you make them lots of money?