Asperger’s On The Job by Rudy Simone
What I love about Toronto Public Libraries is that I can access a large volume of books. So when I found out that they had quite a few books on Aspergers I ordered all of them. So far, this is the only one I have managed to finish and I quite like it. Here are some of my thoughts on it.
What I absolutely love about this book is, that it is written by a woman on the spectrum. I genuinely believe that any information is more valuable when it is narrated from a person with a lived experience. We need to hear their experiences more often so we (both professionals and non-professionals) better understand what we need to do more of or do things differently to best support them as none of us, even with the best intention, and qualifications, can truly understand how a person’s neuro-diversity plays out in real life.
*Please note that while Aspergers as a diagnostic condition was removed in DSM-V and the correct terminology is Autism Spectrum now, there are still individuals who were previously diagnosed as Aspergers and continue to use this term for themselves. I will use the term Autism and Aspergers interchangeably for this article.
So here are my favourite things about this book.
- It is authored by a woman on the spectrum herself -Judy Simone. We definitely need more neuro-diverse voices!!
- She interviewed 50 adults with Asperger’s and their voices are also included in this.
- This book gives many practical tips on how to sustain a job, and address many issues unique to high functioning individuals on the spectrum such as importance of small talk, dealing with a jealous coworker, asperger arrogance, sensory issues, over/under stimulation, strength based approach, having rituals and routines, figuring out attire among others (I obviously don’t want to share everything but I especially love the part at the end of each chapter she has advice for employers & advocates as well as for employees).
I think this is a great read for
- teachers who work with youth and/or adults on the spectrum who are also high functioning. I believe parts of this book will definitely provide a better insight into certain behaviors and help us avoid us falling for the easy, and what seem obvious labels such as ‘lazy, arrogant, obnoxious, aloof, anti-social, etc.’ and replace them with more positive and appropriate labels such as struggles to interpret social cues, sensory environment not a great fit for them, troubles with transitions, and so on.
- employers who wish to understand their employees and figure out accommodations (involving the said employee of course!)
- parents who are concerned about helping their adult children on the spectrum find and sustain jobs. While this book does not cover the challenges of finding a job on the spectrum, it does touch on many helpful points otherwise.
- adults on the spectrum who are struggling at work and can benefit from learning from the author’s experience and research. I also think this would help them feel less alone in their experience. This could also help them articulate their struggles better. I find quite a few of my clients don’t have the exact words to communicate how they are thinking and feeling and am wondering if this may help with that.
Things to consider when you read this book.
- If you are looking for a one-size fits all approach you will be disappointed. I read a lot of reviews online where people were upset about the practicality of the solutions or the solutions not being effective for them. But of course, how can they be? Each individual on the spectrum is different and add to that other layers of the location they are in, community resources, awareness/stigma about the spectrum, family support or lack of it, educational and employment laws, political systems, climate, and so on. It is hardly ever possible to take a solution from one book and simply use it. The right approach is to always look for ‘customized solutions.’ Just cause one thing works for a person on the spectrum doesn’t mean it works for others. Having said that, I understand that when a person grabs a book, they are looking for definite solutions to apply right away. Being neuro-diverse or being a caregiver for one may leave less time and energy to pursue creative solutions, so the need for ready to go choices are justified.
- There are personal anecdotes share throughout this book that provide insight into the real struggles people with Asperger. This can be very insightful, inspirational, but may also crush your hopes to know how much you or your loved on spectrum will struggle on a daily basis at work. A good example is- imagine being stuck in a country where you don’t speak the language, don’t understand the customs, and cannot read any signs-I wonder if that is what it is like for them to navigate the subtleties of nonverbal communication that most of us take for granted.
Have you had a chance to read this book? I would love to know what your thoughts are! If you do read the book after reading the review, let me know if this was helpful.
Please note that the purpose of this article is to simply share information and not replace psychotherapy or other health interventions. If you are experiencing significant distress and it is an emergency, call 911. For community resources click here.
I try my best to learn new skills and update myself with the latest developments in the field, but I am definitely do not know it all. I would love to learn what you think about my content and if you have any concerns. Feel free to write to me if you wish to start a dialogue about a certain topic.
I provide individual psychotherapy to youth and adults for a variety of mental health issues, create and facilitate workshops, and consult. To learn more, book a free 30 minute consultation with me, click here.