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Aeolienne

Grauniad article about autistics in the workplace

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The article paints a picture of recruitment only happening through applications and interviews. What about the so-called hidden jobs market - presumably that's even less Aspie-friendly?

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What counts as "reasonable adjustment", there's the rub? I'm reminded of a former boss of mine whose report on me (which ultimately led to my dismissal) contained the words My experience has been that Aeolienne goes away and does what is asked (up to a degree), but what I am expecting (and what is required for a researcher), is a sense of initiative to manifest itself. Above all I am expecting there to be more than just producing results, but also to think about what they might mean. Interpretation of and a curiosity for exploration when provided a data set is essential. If as the supervisor I have to think of all the steps myself, I might as well do the analysis myself. That does not increase productivity.

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Interesting that Goldman Sachs are still involved, despite the negative publicity they've received elsewhere. Who knows if I'll ever have the chance to sample their workplace for myself.

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What counts as "reasonable adjustment", there's the rub?

It'd probably depend on the job - but I can't see "reasonable adjustments" being too much, maybe the odd tweak here or there - not a massive overhaul of job title or work place though.

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AdamJ   

I don't have a legal definition to hand but reasonable adjustments are, basically, adjustments to the working environment, practices, routines, etc. that will support you in performing the role for which you have been employed. They are generally not adjustments to the role's objectives - the ways in which the objectives are achieved might be modified but the objectives themselves usually remain the same. If the role's objectives cannot be achieved despite reasonable adjustments, that is a performance issue.

 

Reasonable adjustments for me include extra secretarial support in time management and forward planning.

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That's sad the way she been treated but go Penny, have faith in her raise awareness there's a lot of stigma out there

Penny Andrews has appeared in the Guardian again: Article

I have to say I'm beginning to wonder how up-to-date the paper's information on Prospects is. Anyone reading the spate of articles that have appeared in the Guardian over the last few years might get the impression that there's been a constant "traffic" of Prospects candidates going to work at Goldman Sachs. I've been on the Prospects Transitions programme since last May but during this time I haven't been aware of any of my fellow seminar attendees working there even as in intern. That could all be down to the combined effect of the recession and the Olympics, of course.

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Its good Penny has found somewhere, just shows you have to keep trying when you have autism - there are plenty of barriers to overcome, your own as well as other people's, but it will be worth it eventually.

 

I'm doing Work Choice through Autism West Midlands, which helps Aspies to get into work (or back into work in my case) and its a good scheme for both aspies and employers, as they try and find placements with local businesses. There needs to be engagement between autistic people and employers, to show that autistic people can be employable and can work effectively - in some cases more productively, due to being focus on the job rather than the people. Employers may consider autistic people too difficult or challenging to employ, especially when they are spoilt for choice and can pick from a range of NT applicants who 'fit in'. However, this doesn't mean autistic people should give up or feel they have no place in society - you have to learn to fight for your place, put yourself out there, develop yourself, and keep trying when you get knocked back.

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I have to say I'm beginning to wonder how up-to-date the paper's information on Prospects is.

Unfortunately it's not possible to tell from Jonathan Young's LinkedIn profile when he got his job at Goldman Sachs. It's possible that it may have been as long ago as 2006. I happen to have a connection in common with Jonathan who was an employment support advisor at Prospects between 2006 and 2010.

 

FWIW, here's Penny Andrews's profile.

Edited by Aeolienne

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Unfortunately it's not possible to tell from Jonathan Young's LinkedIn profile when he got his job at Goldman Sachs.

Having met him in person yesterday at the Prospects jolly I can reveal that it was in 2004 - and it started with a six-month placement, not two months as stated in the second Guardian article.

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Merry   

Wow what a fantastic subject! I had never read the article before today. So interesting. I had never really thought about autism discrimination, or how other `majority` people see people like us. I suppose everybody has their own assumptions which is always a barrier to further learning. What i've noticed about a lot of people, is that as soon as a person thinks they know something already, they tend to close their mind off to anything which might prove them wrong. Strange. Where a belief is held, further learning doesn't really happen. That's what I think happens when people hear the word Autism. They put you in a box and label it I guess, but fail to observe with a fresh mindset. I got diagnosed later in life too. Could never hold down a job purely because of upsetting people due to honesty. If you see a supervisor doing something wrong, or a manager mistreating people, you're not supposed to say anything. You're supposed to gossip to other people about it behind their backs instead, apparently! How absurd this world is! I actually think we're the better workforce. As the article said, we're usually very honest, very reliable, and can be very passionate, verging on obsessive regarding our interests and small details, and usually have high expectations of ourselves.....If I was an employer, those are the exact qualities I would be looking for. So tell me, who are the odd ones.......people who talk about each other in a secretive and deceitful manner when they become upset with other colleagues actions, or those who talk directly and with honesty, pointing out facts? And WE are the sensitive ones?!

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Siemion   

On the subject of reasonable adjustments :-

 

The duty to make “reasonable adjustments” is contained in Section 20 of the Equality Act 2010. It covers three areas, “a provision, criterion or practice” of the employer, “a physical feature” and “but for the provision of an auxiliary aid”. This language (colloquially, “lawyer speak”) is designed to cover virtually anything that can happen, or affect, a person in the course of employment, or in applying for employment. There is some published guidance on what this means - see link (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-guidance ) and scroll down to the booklet at the bottom of the page. This is, however, not terribly helpful, as it is written in very general terms and is not “ASD friendly”.

The manager’s comment in Aeolinne’s post of 08/04/12 could reflect (although it does not necessarily do so, as the circumstances giving rise to it are not apparent) a classic failure to make a reasonable adjustment for someone with an ASD. This is because, where a person without an ASD is asked to do something they may intuit that something more than what is asked for is required whereas the person with an ASD is likely to do exactly what is asked for, and nothing more, or less. The reasonable adjustment required would be for the manager to communicate with the person with an ASD in a very clear, and precise, manner. (In terms of the Equality Act, this would be an adjustment to a “practice” of the employer, i.e. the employer’s “practice” of how it communicates instructions to employees via the agency of its managers.)

In the USA, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) contains a provision requiring employers to make “accommodations” for disabled employees. This is fundamentally the same as the duty to make “reasonable adjustments” in the UK. The US Department of Labour has an agency – JAN (Job Accommodation Network) – which provides advice to employers, and employees, on what accommodations might be required in particular circumstances. It publishes a wide range of booklets, on various disabilities, giving many examples of what accommodations may be required in relation to particular disabilities. It has one on ASD’s (it used to be for Asperger’s Syndrome, but the title has evidently been changed to reflect DSM-V). Here is a link to it - http://askjan.org/media/autism.htm . The examples of the sorts of accommodations that might be required for someone with an ASD would, I am confident, also be reasonable adjustments, under the Equality Act, in the UK.

 

Siemion

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Prospect the trade union, not to be confused with Prospects the NAS's supported employment scheme, have published a briefing on 'Disability Discrimination and Appraisal & Performance Systems', available to download here. One paragraph specifically mentions Asperger's:

 

 

 

Where behavioural issues are part of the assessment process, line managers should be aware of how neurodiversity or mental health conditions may affect performance. For example, someone with Asperger’s syndrome may not be able to work as part of a team. Therefore, as a reasonable adjustment, this should be discounted from the criteria for assessment. People with neurodiverse conditions may also not perform well in a culture of presenteeism and long working hours.
Edited by Aeolienne

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Siemion   

The assumption that people with ASD’s cannot teamwork is nonsense. There is a well-established theory of teamworking (http://www.belbin.com/rte.asp?id=8), which identifies various roles within a team, several of which could easily be filled by someone with an ASD. When employers say that they are assessing for teamworking capabilities, what they in fact commonly test for is sociability. This is, prima facie, discriminatory, because sociability is rarely required for carrying out the actual functions of a job, and people with ASD’s will be disadvantaged because of social impairment. The point is that teamworking has nothing to do with being sociable.

The best response, when asked to demonstrate teamworking capabilities, is to ask the interlocutor what role, or roles, within a team he/she has in mind. This will probably be met with blank incomprehension. One can then go on to demonstrate one’s capability for fulfilling the role of “Plant”, or “Specialist” (but will have to explain what these terms mean).

 

Siemion

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On ‎08‎/‎04‎/‎2012 at 10:23 AM, Aeolienne said:

Autistic workers: loyal, talented ... ignored

http://www.guardian....oyers-ignorance

I'm surprised none of the BTL commentators have criticised the use of the term sufferers, viz:

"Lynne Wallis looks at why autism is so misunderstood and what sufferers can offer"

Was this article really published only 7 years ago?

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