Advocacy and disclosure
stories for young people
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Here's a video from Ambitious About Autism. Jonathan discusses his thoughts and experiences about disclosure.
My advice on disclosure
It's hard to disclose living on the spectrum. Not everyone understands autism and some people can be unsure what it means, especially employers. I used to disclose it to potential employers during an interview or a cold call, and sadly every time I didn’t get a job.
When I disclosed it to my last employer he ended up using it against me, making it seem like I was making excuses when I was actually going through some troublesome times.
When I had the help of a disability service provider, I was able to get help with finding work and also with disclosure. So if there is a message to take from this, it's that when it comes to disclosure, make sure of two things:
1: Don’t think you are all alone in this, there are plenty of people out there who are willing to help you
2: Make sure you think carefully about who and how you will disclose to
Now when it comes to self-advocating, it doesn’t mean you advocate to yourself. Self-advocating is where you basically stand up for your rights as someone on the spectrum. There have been times when I have handled this fairly well.
I remember when I have met a few friends, I have had to advocate for myself, when things were getting too much. For instance, I was being made fun of in my Dungeons and Dragons game. I will admit I was making some silly mistakes, but they were partially due to everyone saying things at once.
I was about to get peeved when I realised what I needed to do. I asked people if they could just take a step back and reminded them that I was on the spectrum and that I made mistakes. Everything ran much smoother after that.