Friday, 23 March 2012

Aspergers and jobs

J = Job.

Research by The National Autistic Society indicates that there are currently just 15% of adults with autism in full time employment. This compares with around 31% for all disabled people in full-time employment and 57% for non-disabled people of working age in full time employment in Great Britain

So as you’ve guessed I’m a nurse! But recently I’ve been looking in to jobs that are suitable for AS, which follows on from my post about discrimination against AS and nursing.  Anyway in which I was told that I couldn’t be a nurse because of the social and communication difficulties that a autistic person can demonstrates.   So I came across a list of questions online within an article about people seeking employment and accommodations that can be made in employments. So I thought I would go around answering them and perhaps adding some of my own because as you can see if you read further, these questions focus more on the negative side.

Question 1:- What are your limitation and association to AS?

Sensory perception:- don’t like loud sudden noises, being touched on neck back or flacks.  Vibrations or any sort and flashing likes.

Distractions:- can be distracted by above.

Avoid aggressive situations, don’t like confrontations.

Dyspraxia = poor handwriting, dropping items.

Watching people eat with mouth open makes me feel sick, the same with association of mould with food .

Fear of phone calls

Routines:- thins need to be done in a certain way and in a certain order.

Obsessions:-  leaking into the work place?

Social barriers, body language ‘small talk’.  

Question 2, How do these limitations affect job performance.

Sensory perception. I may sound strange but alarms and ‘normal’ work noises are not included in this. Sudden noises that are not normally in the running of icu are [such as doors slamming or someone dropping something] so this doesn’t affect job performance, however alarms do sometimes irritate me so I’m very quick of the mark to sort the problem out to stop the alarm or do what needs doing.   Things like flashing lights are also easily worked around for example turning the offending light off ect.

Distractions:- by minimising sensory over load as above, distractions can be minimised. I have also learnt to ‘block out’ things and prioritise things to focus on.

Aggressive situations:- doesn’t everyone try and avoid these?? Part of job really but I’m sure NT people also have the same dislike of these situations.

Dyspraxia:- separate issue to AS but closely related.  Worst when very tired. Avoid getting into that position and also build up strategies to help Hand eye coordination and prevention of dropping things. Find carrying only one thing at a time helps a lot and focusing on what doing / holding.  All written work is done on the computer, an I’m a very good touch typist therefore handwriting is not a problem, spelling is but greatly improved on that! [always want to put a E on the end of With… to make it WITHE no idea why. ]

Phone calls is a difficult one to explain as most people I know with AS actually prefer this to physical interactions. However I think it is due to the fact that growing up I was discouraged from answering the phone [and the door] and therefore it has kind of stuck, I’m also never too sure what to say.. but again in work things are slightly different as making calls is part of the job.  But this has greatly improved since I have become a staff nurse. After-all I know the answer as a nurse and also know all the relevant information and other people are around to pass the caller over-too if it’s something I don’t know. Whereas at home, it’s just me, and got nothing to fall back on.

Routines.  I have set routines, everything from getting out of bed, showering, making a coffee,  everything, I have little set routines for most things in daily life and little can be budges in this. I don’t have to do things at a set time but I have to do them a certain way.  This also translates into the working environment… which is hard to explain to none nurses but I do certain procedures in a set way and a set order.. for example if I am having to do suction down a ETT, I put gloves on, put catheter on tubing, turn suction on, turn o2 on, check hand ventilator bag, silence the ventilator, disconnect patient, do 5 breaths. Suction, 5 breaths, suction, 5 breaths, back on the vent. Now this is not set in stone but that how it goes if no other problems arise.  But then I have routines within routines.. but can be adapted based on patients. I also follow rules and polices almost to the letter.  

Social interactions:- now ok, this may affect work as a nurse! I’m never good making small talk in a group, or starting up a social conversation. However nurse to patient ratio on PICU is 1:1 therefore I look after one patient all day.  I read an article a while back about predicitality of interactions in nursing. I will try and find it to share.. but it was basically explaining that social interactions can be predicted from patient to patient and therefore can follow a set pattern and can be learnt.   Which I have found reflects in practise. Conversations revolves around patients, patients care and patients condition. All nurses also get communication training for example how to do a good handover and how to handover to doctors in an emergency.


So this has turned into a quite long post. Will finish off the other questions at a later date,  but at the same time I would like to point you in the direction of a post called 'doI suffer?' [letter Q out of the alphabet] exploring both the positive and negative aspects of living with AS.  My point being that although you can list negative aspects of any condition, you can also count countless positive attributes an individual processes that they hold to bring to the working environment. 

the rest of the A - Z post can be found HERE


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