Disclosure can be a difficult area, especially in the workplace. You can find resources and reading about disclosure in the main section of Autism Launchpad here.
Here’s an article by Brendan A about his own experiences, with his advice for others.
For somebody on the autism spectrum, deciding whether or not to disclose the condition can be a difficult decision.
Whether or not you disclose ASD in work and social situations is up to you and it is important that you feel comfortable with doing so. Disclosing may or may not be the right choice depending on the particular job or social situation you are involved in.
I had been working in the media for several years and when I finally landed my first full time radio job. I had to relocate to a small country town. It was a big move for me, taking on a tough job and living in a remote location.
Despite the new challenges I was facing I still didn’t disclose my autism to the Manager. I thought that with this particular job that my condition may not be so well understood or received. I also believed that since I was able to secure the position on the quality of my radio voice and writing skills, so it probably wasn’t necessary to disclose.
The quality of my work was good and my relationships with my co-workers were positive, however I never really formed a close relationship with my Manager. He did not understand the way I worked. I was very focused on my tasks but I was also rather quiet in the office environment. Typically a journalist is expected to be more pro-active and extroverted.
I ended up leaving the job after 10 months. Only after I had agreed to move on was he informed that I had Asperger’s Syndrome and I think he was a little more understanding of me as a person once he had been told that.
In hindsight and after discussing the situation with my family, we agreed that I would disclose my condition for my next full time job. I secured a radio job again in a regional area and it was another big move. On the first day of the job I decided that I would disclose.
I was nervous about disclosing for the first time so I received some advice from my employment mentor before I even made the move south. She suggested listing the reasons I wanted to disclose and the areas in which I would need support from management. She helped me put together a disclosure script as well that I could rehearse.
The job was very busy and involved working from the early hours til past lunch time. On my first day I was assertive and asked the General Manager for a moment of his time at lunch. In a quiet room I told him that “I have a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. I am very focused and a good worker but I can struggle settling into new work and social environments.”
However there was a change of General Manager mid-way through my time there and even though I disclosed to him, I wasn’t able to form a good relationship with him and ended up leaving the job after a few months.
Despite this, I would still recommend disclosing at the start of a job, once you have signed the contract or been officially employed.
However I would suggest doing it only if you feel comfortable and believe it is necessary for the particular job you are doing.
Brendan A. has also written these personal stories:
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