Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Asperger's Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide: A Neurotypical's Secrets For Success

Barbara Bissonnette, Principal of Forward Motion Coaching, has successfully crafted a guide that makes "sense" when working with adults who are entering the workforce or who already have jobs in the workplace.  It is very hard for most of them to survive and most of the time, statistics have shown that even if a person with AS is fortunate to find themselves employed in today's economy, it is just as hard to remain employed due to miscommunication, missing social cues and simply not having a good grasp of the Neurotypical workplace. 

As a NT who is in middle management in the workforce, I see much of what Barbara talks about in her book almost everyday. There are hidden messages and people talk "code" all around me everyday.  It is up to me to actually figure out what people are truly saying to me and what they truly mean.  I receive communication from my peers, co-workers and customers as quickly as the wingspeed of a hummingbird daily from many different sources, usually all at the same time: in person, by phone, by email, by blackberry and by intercom.  It is a lot to deal with even for the most outgoing and social employee so imagine how it must feel to someone with AS.  While there are many wonderful suggestions, examples and advice in this book that I feel is a "must read", I think Barbara's goal of this book is well spoken from this excerpt from her book:

"Every job  requires some form of communication with other people..........The expression that you only get one chance to make a first impression is true.  Research has shown that most people begin forming opinions about others within the first 30 seconds of meeting. Once an opinion is formed, it is usually hard to change.  The impression that you make during the first days and weeks in a new job will be lasting.  In addition to being evaluated on your ability to perform the job, you are being evaluated on whether you "fit in" to the organization."

If you or someone you love has AS and they are looking for assistance in how to navigate the NT employment world, this is an excellent resource.  You can read more about Barbara and this book at her website: http://www.forwardmotion.info/book2.html

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