The fifteenth chapter of Aspergers on the Job is titled “Working with Natural Strengths and Interests”. Here are thoughts on Rudy Simone and discussion about this chapter. Stephanie is one of the fantastic APC Coaches and Doug is the founder of APC.
Doug: While this chapter primarily focused on natural strengths and interests, the part that I found to be interesting is the talk of medication. Simone mentions in this chapter that almost everyone she interviewed for this book who has Aspergers said that taking medication hasn’t had a positive effect on their life. While some of our clients have expressed some medications they have tried having negative effects the majority are taking medication that has positive effects on them. I’m wondering how many individuals that were interviewed consistently were taking their medication? That certainly can be a factor regarding its effectiveness. In addition, in many cases I’ve had clients report to me that the psychiatrists they went to really didn’t have much of an understanding of those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Therefore, they questioned if they really should be prescribing medicine to them when they didn’t really understand what they were dealing with.
Stephanie: You raise a lot of good questions about the people being interviewed for this book in terms of medication. I have also found that a lot of my clients are happy with the medications they are taking. Sometimes their dosages need to be altered but for the most part they have found them to be effective. It seems like it can be tricky however, finding the right formula of meds to take, especially because so many individuals with ASD have multiple diagnosis. That means it would require a doctor who is really informed to be able to prescribe the right medication to fit their needs. Another issue I have come across is having to switch doctors due to external factors such as aging out of their parents insurance plan, changing jobs which means changing insurance carriers, etc. This can be difficult because if an individual has found a doctor that they trust, they may have to search for someone new.
There were a few comments that Simone made in this chapter about natural talents and using them to create success in the workplace. She stated “Although it is good to test and stretch boundaries, working with what a person has rather than against it, is where you will achieve your greatest mutual results”. Another quote that I liked in this chapter was “This isn’t a symptom I have, it’s a skill; a skill you don’t have. And because you don’t have this skill you see it as a symptom”. I think both these quotes really put things into perspective and are important to keep in mind when working with individuals with ASD.
Doug: In addition to those good quotes I thought Simone made a couple of important suggestions to those with Asperger’s in this chapter in order to bring out their natural strengths and interests. The first was that she stated it’s better to be upfront about who and how you are from the beginning and stress your positive points: “I keep to myself. Some might see that as shy or unfriendly but I’m a focused worker.”The second suggestion was to see “The Personal Job Map”(a career assessment found at the end of the book) and do the exercises suggested there. This will help determine whether or not an individual is in the correct field and help guide you into your “best fit” job or career.
Stephanie: It is very important for people with Asperger’s to be upfront about their strengths and talents. However, that requires communication skills and self-advocacy which is difficult for many. How do we teach our clients to be their own cheerleader and show their employers how their talents can be an asset to their company? I have worked with several clients who struggle with that skill and need a lot of help and guidance with even writing their cover letter when applying to a job. The personal job map can be a very valuable asset for individuals to use when searching for a job that matches their interests and needs.