Autism In Real Life

Episode 8: Autistic Trauma and the Workplace with Tas Kronby

October 06, 2021 Ilia Walsh, Executive Director of The Spectrum Strategy Group Season 2 Episode 8
Episode 8: Autistic Trauma and the Workplace with Tas Kronby
Autism In Real Life
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Autism In Real Life
Episode 8: Autistic Trauma and the Workplace with Tas Kronby
Oct 06, 2021 Season 2 Episode 8
Ilia Walsh, Executive Director of The Spectrum Strategy Group

In this episode Tas and I discuss the intricacies of complex trauma and it's impact day-to-day specifically in the workplace.  Please listen in for this informative discussion. 

Tas is autistic and part of the disability community with developmental, mental health, and physical disabilities. They are the trifecta or triad of disabilities. They are a person of color and nonbinary. They are proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a neurodiverse DID system! Since they have a unique combination of diversity, they advocate for inclusion. Equal access to education, healthcare, and innate human rights motivate them to move past challenges in the effort to make the world accessible, inclusive, and fair for the next generation. 

For more information:

Tas Kronby(they/them/we/our)
Autistic Mental Health Advocate
Mindful Life Coach Practitioner

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Tas and I discuss the intricacies of complex trauma and it's impact day-to-day specifically in the workplace.  Please listen in for this informative discussion. 

Tas is autistic and part of the disability community with developmental, mental health, and physical disabilities. They are the trifecta or triad of disabilities. They are a person of color and nonbinary. They are proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a neurodiverse DID system! Since they have a unique combination of diversity, they advocate for inclusion. Equal access to education, healthcare, and innate human rights motivate them to move past challenges in the effort to make the world accessible, inclusive, and fair for the next generation. 

For more information:

Tas Kronby(they/them/we/our)
Autistic Mental Health Advocate
Mindful Life Coach Practitioner

Hello, and welcome to the autism in real life podcast. In each episode, you'll get practical strategies by taking your journey into the joys and challenges of life with autism. I'm your host, Ilia Walsh, and I'm an educator and the parent of two young adults, one of which is on the autism spectrum. Join me as I share my experience and the experiences of others so that we may see the unique gifts and talents of individuals on the autism spectrum, fully recognized.

Hello, everyone, and welcome. This is aliah with the spectrum Strategy Group, and I welcome you to today's episode. I'm very excited to have Taz crumby here with me today of Taz thoughts, and they are an autistic, mental health advocate and mindful life coach practitioner. And for those of you who have been listening, I often find some amazing people on LinkedIn and Instagram, and I kind of just follow the kind of work that's being done and I get if I find something that is super interesting and super exciting, I like to try and reach out. And so I appreciate you tazz spending time with me today to talk a little bit about you know, I know there's so many things we probably could have talked about, but something that particularly struck me was, you know, trauma, artistic trauma specifically in the workplace. And so I have been talking about people about employment and autism and you know, kind of what that looks like, what what are the ways to navigate the workplace, and also what some of the challenges are. And I think, you know, something that's often missed is that, and I've done some work with trauma before, but that there is a, you know, there was definitely this overlap. And so I know you have a lot of information around that. So I'm excited to talk about that. But first, if you could just introduce yourself and give people a little bit of background about what you do, and all that kind of fun stuff.

Oh, yeah, thank you so much for having me today. Super excited to talk with you. So TAs as they them, we our pronouns, doing a lot of advocacy in the disability and neurodivergent spaces. We are a autistic mental health advocate diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is why we have kind of a unique take on the intersectionality with autism and trauma disorders. And we do a lot of work around equal access for education, specifically higher education for adults, and also providing different types of peer support for people that are just trying to navigate the neurotypical world, which can be very hard to do.

Okay, so let's talk a little bit about this intersectionality piece that you mentioned before. Um, so I've worked with other people talking about this overlap. And some of it came from my own observation with doing some trauma informed yoga training. And it was specifically geared towards veterans, that particular training, and I was hearing a lot of information that was like, wait, this sounds really familiar. And this overlaps a lot with, you know, the autistic community that I work with. And so what what's up here, you know, I mean, there's something definitely here and so I'm curious about your work and what you know, about that overlap and that intersectionality

definitely, you know, that's actually something really common. A lot of times when people think of trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, they automatically think veterans, it's always associated with the military. But really, it's something that anyone can have doesn't mean you have to go to war to have it. It just involves if you have neglect, abuse of any kind, you can have PTSD, there are different types of layers to that. Complex. PTSD is the difference in between those with complex and needs, you've had sustained trauma. So whatever that looks like it's not just one occurrence happening. It is over a long period of time, that you have multiple traumas or the same one happening over and over again, and specifically being autistic. That can also add another layer with that intersectionality because it is a vulnerable population. So when you're autistic, it really opens you up to predators, honestly, especially if you are in a home environment that has a lot of push to make you a in, quote, normal child, it can cause a lot of traumas to occur, it's something that's a sad reality that the autistic community is targeted a lot. And sometimes you grow up in a home that's not open to neurodivergent seas in general. So there's a lot of pressure to change your autistic traits, and force a certain type of action upon you. So so there's really different layers, you can have external, external traumas happening on top of the fact that sometimes people look at autism as a bad thing. And it just adds a whole

lot in there that my brain is like, you know, spinning. So I want to look at I know we're talking about the workplace, but I think where we might be headed is that you know, what you experienced as you're growing up and through education, whether you know, it's in your family situation or in, you know, other outside education, will then transfer over into the workplace. Right? So I'm curious, I don't think we've actually talked about this, and you hit on a point where families want their autistic children to be, you know, we'll put it in quotes, again, you know, normal or like the typical children that they see, you know, other typical children that they see. So, what does that really look like, right? Because I've talked to some parents who are saying, Yes, but there's self injurious behavior. And there's, you know, they they're suffering, and I don't want my kid to suffer, I don't want my kid to get bullied and stick out. So there's like that side. And then there's the other side of you know, what, what I've talked about is we don't want to, you know, chisel away at the square peg to fit a round hole when we want to appreciate the square peg, right, like, that's a whole nother thing. So So can you help us like understand what you what you mean by that? Yeah,

definitely. So growing up, I'll just use my personal experience with this. So first of all, when you mentioned self injurious behavior, when you're autistic, you may have a lot of sensory issues personally, or we are diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. So for us, we actually don't feel pain, how you would feel pain. If we're injured, we can have a break a broken bone, we can have a burn, and we won't even notice it. There'll be like, Oh, I burned my hand. Okay. And that's a century issue. So what happens a lot of times, in our experience growing up also with other people that we know that have children that are autistic is there's that disconnect between, Oh, my, my kid is banging their head on the wall. While there's a sensory overload happening. It's not about this self injurious behavior, it's about the cause. And the causes, you have to learn your child in order to navigate the sensory issues that they have. Everyone's unique with what their sensory issues look like. And and that's also part of the exploration is figuring out okay, rough textures, soft textures, okay, loud noises are triggering them right now. Can we get types of earplugs is pressure good to like calm the sensory nerves down for them. It's really exploring ways to work within it and just being angry or saying stop doing that is not not actually going to help. And a lot of times, it turns into a forced thing when you mentioned parents not wanting their kid to be bullied and wanting their kid to kind of like blend in with their neurotypical peers. I'm just gonna be blunt hate to break it to you. That's not gonna happen. That's not a thing. You can't really do that. When you're forced to put on a mask, and it's called masking when you're you're taught to subdue your natural inclinations of your autistic traits in order to conform to what a neurotypical child looks like. It's damaging to you. You can never really be yourself. And there's a lot of emphasis put on being like everyone else. But in reality, I've

also spoken with people who say, you know, no matter how much one tries to mask, you know, they, you know, you feel different other people recognize that you're different. And, and and honestly, I mean honestly, I think everyone is putting on some sort of mask all the time. And we, if we can kind of put some of that down, then it allows space for everyone to kind of just be who they are, I think in my opinion, but yeah,

it will Yeah, definitely. And there's really different levels to it. And that's true people in their everyday life, you have a mask you put on to go to work, you have a mask you put on to go to school, or go out with friends. But when you're autistic, it's really a more intense level, that's expected of you. Because social norms just don't make sense. A lot of the time. Personally, it took us until we were 24 years old to be able to make eye contact with somebody and maintain it for longer than 10 minutes. Because it's uncomfortable. It's really can be overwhelming and emotionally draining to have to try to match a neurotypical person with affect how you say things, making eye contact, just sitting in talking with you now, just because it's a habit been asking for so long, it's been pounded into our head, literally, as words come out. I'm like, okay, have I looked in her eyes long enough? Have I said this correctly? That I say that to direct, like it's constantly going. And it's something that is really exhausting for autistic people to do. And you're not able to really be yourself authentically, because you're putting so much effort. Yeah. And I also

have make other like that some of that is also a trauma response as well. So I I have I kind of do the same thing I, as I'm speaking. And as I'm talking to people, I think about, Oh, did I say that properly? Or what am i what's the next thing? I'm going to say? How am I going to say next? And there's sort of this continuous. There's a word for this, but it's sort of like a hyper vigilance around what you're saying how you're saying it? Am I going to fit in? Am I going to upset someone? So it depends, I guess what your particular layers of of trauma experience are? On which ones those are going right? Like which one's going to get tweaked a little bit.

Exactly. And you really nailed that good when you said hyper vigilance because that is a big part of PTSD and see PTSD is, it's sometimes you're assessing the level of safety. So you're trying to figure out if this interaction is safe, and being autistic, you won't always be able to pinpoint certain red flags as fast. So when you couple those two together, it's even more exhausting, because it's like, Okay, this person just kind of did a weird body movement, I feel unsafe. Am I reading that wrong? Or am I actually unsafe right now is and so it really in with trauma, especially looking at the workplace, it makes it even more complicated because you're expected to put on this mask of what is considered neurotypical professionalism. But at the same time, there can be dangerous for you on the trauma side there can be dangerous for you at work. And there's dangerous for you because when you're autistic sometimes especially if you just close that, we always disclose that immediately we're very open about it right up in the interview. It's like autistic Hi, nice to meet you. Like let's do this. But that can also kind of put a target on your face for people that are toxic and people that are not necessarily safe to be around in the workplace. And that can be very hard to deal with especially adding the trauma on it. There's a lot of triggers that can happen at work.

Yeah, so I want to talk about something I actually just did an employment panel with three three people on the spectrum and we were talking about you know, this concept of disclosure was what it was for it was for a particular client group but but we were talking about well How much do you disclose and you know, I appreciate you saying that I disclosed right up front in the interview. Some of the feedback that I've been receiving has been saying no, don't disclose because people will look at you differently. Or and I guess just what you said right? Like it's like it can be added an added layer and for people who are toxic or who may not understand what That might look like it can be an unsafe space, or maybe both sides feel a little unsafe because they don't know how to behave right or what to do.

disclosure is kind of one of those things where it's really personal preference and what you're comfortable with. Personally, we always disclose because it's helped us avoid bad workplaces by saying that upfront. But again, sometimes people aren't comfortable disclosing that, because then it, it causes a lot of layers of complications that are hard for people to deal with. And that's a real thing. It's like when you disclose something, there's going to be walls that come up for you. So it's really just measuring your personal preference of what can you handle. One of the things with disclosure that has been a positive for us is getting accommodations is easier, if they know right away who they're hiring. And sometimes disclosing later people will be like, well, you look fine. You don't like, You don't look like you need this, why are you asking for this six months later, it can really be off putting for people, until for us we find just getting it out of the way like ripping the band aid off is easier. But also to a lot of times when we are talking with people, we kind of use it as a test to see what kind of workplace culture Do you have. So if we walked in, and we're interviewing with a potential supervisor, and we say, Okay, so we're artistic, how much experience do you have working with people that are autistic? Usually shocks people to just have it that direct way you can tell by their answer. And there have been places where the answer was not good enough. And we were like, we're not interested, thank you for your time, and we ended the interview, because we already know not a place we want to work. But then there's a lot of stigma around being neurodivergent in general. And so you really have to be mentally prepared to self advocate at the workplace, especially if you disclose right away, or have an advocate that can support you through the process, because there will be people that are going to use that as a reason to be mean to you and sabotage your work and make it difficult ask intrusive questions is just really kind of comes with the territory of being transparent, right, the wrong place. And it shouldn't be that way. Yeah, but

that's, as far as we lay this on to the workplace specifically. And I always started talking about that, what kind of, you know, I'm thinking about all the things you mentioned earlier about sort of the social, you know, implications. And also just, I would say, you know, management style plays a huge part into this, and also just being transparent, and what kind of workstyle an employee wants, you know, like, all of those things, and I really, I love how, you know, just being upfront, right at the beginning and seeing what the answer is, and I would, you know, I would hope that the answer should be either yes, we have experience, this is how we have experienced, and this is what you know, we can do, or we can work together to talk about that, or no, I actually don't have experience, but I'm willing to work with you and figure it out. I mean, I would hope that those would be the answers that that you get, right.

You know, storytime. So one of the situations that we had happen was, we did an interview and just closed and we were we got the No, I don't have experience with that, but willing to be open minded about it, right? And then how's the response? We're like, okay, okay, that's fine. So we start working there. And later on, after working there for a while, there was a conversation with a supervisor, and they said, I almost didn't hire you because you said you were autistic. But I'm glad I did. But I wasn't going to hire you. Because when you said that it made me panic, because I don't want to hire a person that potentially can't do this job because they're autistic. So, even though they say they're open minded at the beginning, months later find out wasn't really that open minded, and was just kind of like, Okay, well, let's give it a try. But I don't know if it's going to work out. So even when you get certain responses from people, you never truly know if they are doing professional masking, or if they're actually being authentic and telling you what they really think about it. And on the flip side of that, you can also have people that are super excited, like, Yes, I want to work with someone neurodivergent someone that's autistic, let's do this, but then they kind of start to, I call it fangirling. You know, like, you'd have your favorite actor and you're like, oh my god. And people do that, when you're autistic people will do that. They'll be like, Oh my god, she'll tell me everything about being autistic. Or they'll be like, Oh, hey, I know this person that's autistic that like lives five states away, Do you know them? it in, so it can be an awkward balance. And sometimes it goes that extreme. And other times it goes to people that are sabotaging your work on purpose, or using your autism as an excuse to be like, Oh, well, they were on this project with me. And it didn't get done, right? Well, they're the ones that are autistic. So of course, it's their fault. And so there's really so much stigma around being autistic. And people are honestly just very closed minded and aren't willing to be flexible to learn something different. A lot of your life, being autistic is being told that you need to catch up to everyone else. But they're never told right to catch up.

So with that said, What can you know, I know we have a lot of educators and we have clinicians that listen in and, and parents and we've talked a little bit about that. But what, what can we do to kind of help this I know, like, in the ideal world, I would love to see a workplace that was completely open and managers that, you know, are open to hearing what everyone has to say and saying, look, we'll figure it out, we'll work together, I just really like your skill set. And I really like what you bring to the table and the other stuff we can figure out. That's how I've always worked. But I know that that's not a normal, not necessarily a normal paradigm for a lot of places. It'll depend on the type of work that's being done. So what can we do to help with that?

So number one, definitely. I'm a realist, and not very much, and I'm not an idealist at all. And in reality yet that is we're not there yet. Would it be nice to be able to be there for the workplace? Yes, it's not, it's not even close, not even close. The best way to be an owl by to the autistic community is to listen to the autistic community, when there are things said about what it's like being autistic, what isn't okay to say to someone that's autistic, it's really listening to that voice. A lot of times, people will take the word of health care practitioners over the actual autistic person. And that silence is the voices of a lot of people that are trying to tell you, this is not okay, let's fix it together. And being willing to accept that being autistic isn't a bad thing. Your child isn't broken. That is something that's really hard for a lot of people, personal experience, have experienced that of being viewed as broken as the problem. And your child is perfect the way they are. And it's navigating to make their world good for them and not focusing so much on the external people. And as an autistic adult 100% life would have been hugely and vastly different. had that been the situation that I grew up in. And for healthcare practitioners, specifically, it's understanding that yes, you may have the clinical view of this, but there's more involved than just what it says in the DSM. It's more than that. And it's being willing to look outside of social norms. And realize that someone that's autistic can have the exact same result. As a neurotypical person, they might have a different way of doing it. But you're going to get the same thing. You're going to get quality work, you're going to get a student that excels in what they are good at. And you're going to get a child that is happy and is able to thrive because they have that would you

say i mean i i 1,000% agree with everything that you've just said. And it's it's, they are conversations that I've had, both with people and also on you know, in the in the podcast. I also feel like having those times conversations and being open and supportive with family and educators. Again, starting much younger, as you said, creates a more more resiliency, I think it creates more independence, more self awareness. And then when you get to a place where you're a young adult, and you're going into the workplace, or going into other schooling or whatever, you can then ask for those things like you can ask for what you need. I think I mean, I don't know, what do you what do you think about that. So

asking for what you need, again, is a little idealistic, because you're probably not going to get it without a fight, you're probably not going to get without a fight. So it today in today's world, even if you have a supportive family, it's really a big piece of the professional spaces and educational spaces are not necessarily going to agree with a supportive environment. So getting accommodations and education getting in car accommodations at work, it's a fight, specifically, because when you are autistic people can't just see it, they can't just see that you're autistic, they want to see a cane, they want to see someone in a wheelchair, that is what they connect with accommodations. And so when you have trauma disorders, or any other type of neurodivergent, people expect you to not ask. So then when you do, sometimes the first answer you get is no. And you have to jump through a lot of hoops in order to actually get accommodations in our education. It took us for one accommodation and took us about six months, just just to get one. And this is in higher education, which is is worse than it's very inaccessible, it's inaccessible for people that are autistic. And you have to deal with a lot of negative things in order to push through, and to break those barriers down for yourself. Because you'd like to think that educators and professionals want their employees and students to thrive, but

doesn't create too much work. Right? Exactly. for them. Yeah. Yeah, no. And that in those some of those circumstances, it's, it's, it has been more successful when a student you know, I'm gonna speak specifically for education. But when a student actually works with individual professors or individual teachers, and asks for what might be helpful or kind of brainstorms with them. But again, you have to be willing to have an open teacher and someone who's willing to not worry about what's written on a piece of paper, or maybe doesn't even you know, maybe doesn't even exist. And I think it's similar in an employer, if you have, you know, an open manager or an open workplace or HR, where you can just talk about it, it makes it easier. But, again, I think it's a situational basis, and managers change too. So

yeah, in the thing about it, too, just to looking at with, when you're saying asking for it. One of the things that we say to people is, why does someone that is autistic have to ask for equality, because that's really what it is. And when you are getting accommodations in education and the workplace, it's under the ADA, they are legally bound to provide equal access to you in these places. And it really shouldn't be too much of a conversation, unless you want me like be honest, if you're asking for an accommodation, like Thomas does not like that is not like you might like that. But like that is not a reasonable, that's not a reasonable request. But if you're going to your employer, and you're saying, hey, I need to start wearing earplugs, because the noise is too much for me, or I need to get some sunglasses, I need to wear them indoors because the lights are too much for me. They're causing problems for me. Those are things that are reasonable, but those are honestly the things that people will fight the most. And it's really the reality of of different places. But when somebody comes to you and asks for something, it really shouldn't have to be an ask it should be hey, here's what I need. And then the employer says Okay, no problem. Because it's all about having equal access to the same things that the neurons, right?

No, I like that in perspective. Definitely. And so I'm thinking about we were talking about trauma and and, and I think this these are your words autistic trauma, which I think can be a little bit if and again, with complex trauma, you know, there's different layers there can be art that's, you know, the, the autism, I will say, and some that is other, you know, other things other real world I mean, in studying trauma, it's almost like Wait, is it Everyone has had traumatic experiences in their life. And again, some of it is sustained, like complex trauma, and some of it is an experience or, you know, maybe isolated experiences. But But I often hear from clinicians and from educators, it's like, well, how, how can I? How do I know the difference, like, and I feel like, there is a different way of working with someone, depending on what it is. So so I know what in our, in our, you know, our pre conversation, we talked a little bit about the difference. And so if you can, can help me and listeners understand, you know what that difference is, or at least a little bit of it, that would be super helpful, I think.

So one of the things I will preface with is, we felt the word trauma is thrown around too much and too often, and it does lose some of the the meaning of what that is, and it is something that causes people to overlook things at times. So one of the things I guess I'm gonna divided into two things. So autistic trauma, versus having c PTSD, just because that's our experiences with CT PTSD. So growing up, in our childhood, we were raised in a Christian based cult, it was restrictive, we were sexually abused, we were physically abused, we had a lot of negative things that was throughout our childhood until we were actually able to escape that world in our 20s. It was a long time. And that was only though one half of the trauma that we experience, that is something that is the reason that we have di D, it's the reason for a lot of our mental health struggles, it's all because of that sustained trauma. But then when you add on top of that being autistic, those are really two separate experiences. So on one hand, we have a lot of physical trauma, emotional trauma and neglect on on this side. But then at the same time, we're being sent to therapy to change how we behave. We're going into occupational therapy, because back when we were a child, we did not ABA didn't exist yet. So it was you go to your physical therapist, you go to your occupational therapist, and they're teaching you, okay, you have to make eye contact with me now and they make you stare in their eyes for 10 minutes, or Nope, you can't stem like that you need to stop doing that. Like they're they're pounding into your head. Stop doing this because it's bad. It's bad to fidget. It's bad to rock when you're setting. It's bad to mimic what people are saying or make sounds when you're in the middle of a meeting. And they're pounding that in your head. So I guess those that would be the best way I would describe the two differences as you will you have the emotional and physical trauma that comes with things like sexual abuse, but then you have them telling you that every single thing about you is wrong. Everything that comes naturally to you is wrong. No, you can't wear earplugs because you look weird if you do that. Or if you say when an experiences for us was we are very sound sensitive. And growing up that was a problem. So we would say like, please stop yelling and their responses. I'm not yelling, you want to hear me yell. And so then they're triggering your sensory issues, which is then completely flipping your world upside down. And until the end, again, like you said, there are different levels to it are cases a lot more on the extreme sides and some people's may be or it could be the same for a lot of people. But when you're you're getting double traumatized, growing up. And then when you move into a workplace, not only are you dealing with the symptoms of having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but then you're again having all of the trouble that occurred because you're autistic repeated, you know, consistent.

You know, it's interesting because I think the other thing I think of and you mentioned being sound sensitive, you know, do you feel and and this is just more of a curiosity on my point in hearing other people talk and some reading, but the way is, I would say particularly sensory wise, the way information is received sensory wise, it can be magnified, magnified, right? I think in the autistic population, or like you mentioned before, with like pain sensations, it can be under, under responsivity, to those types of things, which I think I feel like that can create its own its own traumatic experience, and it is repeated, like you were saying before as to adding to that complexity of always a particular light in my room, or always particular sounds coming from the heating system or something like that. And other people will dismiss that as being well, that's always like that, or I don't even hear that, what are you talking about? Or I don't smell that, what are you talking about? So, so, I mean, I don't know what what do you think is having been in, I guess, on both sides? Is that also an experience that you have? Or have you found others to have like that?

Yeah, you know, sensory processing issues in auditory processing are very common within the autistic community. And it'll present differently for everyone. Like you said, some are hypersensitive, some are hypersensitive to different things. But sound lighting smells, that is something like very common, like, I can hear my refrigerator through these, like, I can hear my refrigerator right now. It makes a sound, whereas someone will be like totally talking about like, in it, right like that, that electrical humming sound has just become continuous. And so that is something that people will say, oh, you're just being too sensitive, used to be too sensitive, you just quit being dramatic, quit looking for attention, quit trying to make a big deal out of something. And when really, it drains you all day long. Previously, when we worked in an office environment, the biggest thing for sound was being seated next to two different offices. So we are getting sound from two sides at all times. And we started wearing noise cancelling earphones. And it was so funny because we had this conversation with a supervisor and then like these big shooting range, mufflers on and like, they're like, like motioning like, take that off, take those off. And, and we're like, No, go ahead, just, like talk to us, we can hear you. And they were like, you can hear me through those. And we were like, yeah, better actually. In that's something that helped cope with the sound, it's like people don't realize it's like, when you are hypersensitive to sound as an autistic person, you can have earplugs in and still hear the person in front of you talking and it doesn't disrupt anything that you're doing, and it doesn't disrupt your functionality. As somebody's working, you can, you can still hear them, it actually makes it better. Because it drowns out all the noise that you're constantly hearing. And one of the things when it comes to trauma, and being at work is specifically with the sound piece of it. So we had people at work that would trigger our noise sensitivity on purpose. So they would purposely talk louder when they're near my office, or they would purposely yell from a short distance to make make you jump just like startle you. And they're like, Oh, it's a prank. Which, honestly, in a workplace that has no place period, it's like we're all adults, and yet you're not acting like one however, like you're not acting like one right now. And so that is something that people experience. Sometimes people want to test your limits. So they might trigger a sound or they will we had someone put a flashlight in her eyes once and they were like, Oh, we just want it

sounds like it's great type of.

Exactly, exactly. And honestly in the workplace, it's sadly common to have people triggered Yeah.

So that's, that adds another level of I'm kind of managing in the workplace, what would you suggest? And I'd say, I know we're kind of getting close to time here. But for adults who are entering into the workforce or already, you know, already in the work force, what are some suggestions on kind of navigating some of that type of behavior? Or, you know, other or other ideas that you have? I know, we've talked about a few things. But, um, but yeah, anything that you think would be helpful?

Yeah, definitely, I think the biggest thing is, don't care if people like you or not, don't care if people like you, you don't deserve to be treated that way whatsoever. And just because you are autistic, doesn't give them a right to push on your boundaries. And it can be hard to stand up for yourself. And if that is something that you can't do, because it's hard, and it's scary, then find someone that will be an ally, and advocate and support and support you. It is something where sometimes you just have to tell people, no, you have to tell people leave my office, right now walk away, please, just walk away. And that it's okay. Sometimes you might have to walk away from the situation, because it's overwhelming for you. When it comes down to it, your own mental well being is more important than if you're popular at work. And a lot of times there's a lot of workplace politics. And when you're autistic personally, because you're autistic, we just don't play workplace politics. It's not something that we do, it's not something that we care to do. And that has made us very isolated, and not the most popular person in the workplace. But the difference is, you do your job, you do your job well. And it won't matter if they like you or not. Because if you produce the result, then there you go. There's a lot of social pressure at work. And if it's too much for you, it's more remembering that you

know, I think that's the ultimate care there for yourself. in recognizing and again, a similar topic came up the other day where, you know, how do we essentially some people were asking, Well, how do we get people to, you know, how does it feel to conform to the situation? And everyone was saying the same thing? No, no, you don't conform you, you do what you need to do to do the job well, and if it's not the right place for you, it's also okay to not take the job, it's also okay to leave the job. Even though and that is true for most people have trouble walking away from you know, pay. But but it is important for your own well being to know that you have that that right, and that you have that ability to make that choice for yourself to take care of yourself.

Yeah, and in any situation in the workplace. It's something that a lot of social pre decided conformity rules has been put in place saying that, like if your boss yells at you, you have to accept it. Or if someone harasses you at work well, you just have to accept it. And it's really permeated society in a way that marginalized groups like if you're neurodivergent, you're very easy to just be like, Oh, that's just how I'm going to be treated. When really, it's standing up for yourself in a way that keeps yourself safe. And realizing that if your boss is yelling at you and called you at 3am in the morning, and is screaming at you because they wanted something done right then and it wasn't even time to be the work yet. You can hang up the phone, it's okay to cut off toxic people. And it can be really hard to find employment. And then if you're having to leave because of a toxic work environment, it adds that layer of financial stress. But one of the things that we kind of go by ourselves is if I am working eight hours a day at this job, and then when I come home, I'm crying and I'm having a breakdown every single day. Am I really is it worth it to stay in that place? Is it worth it to put up with the workplace abuse that is occurring? Or is it better to take the financial hit and just work your butt off to get something else so that you can heal yourself and not have to be in that circumstance. So it's really it's a personal decision, but a lot of times it's just remembering that like you're valuable as a person and you are worthy. have been treated me

beautiful way to. And actually because I think that's a, I really want to leave it on that note. So thank you so much for bringing your experience here. And I really enjoyed speaking with you today. And if people want to learn more about you and your work, how can they find you?

The best way to find is would be on our website, which is tasks And all of our information is on link tree as well. So you can find all our platforms there. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us on LinkedIn. And we're happy, thank

you so much. I'll post all of that in the description and there will also be a transcript so people can find all that as well. So thank you so much, and enjoy the rest of your day. Thanks, bye,

we too. Thank you for having me.

Thanks for listening to autism in real life. This is Ilia Walsh. And if you liked the show, please hit subscribe so you can get notified each time a new episode is released. I also offer training consultations and parent coaching. I would love to help you in any way that I can. You can check out my offerings at the spectrum strategy calm and when you join my email list you can get a code to receive a discount off of an online class or a coaching session. Looking forward to hearing from you Take care and see you next time.

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