World: Living with Aspergers: I feel that my Asperger's defines me, but in a positive light, writes James Thompson
How can I live with Asperger’s? This is a question I often find difficult to answer.
Asperger’s affects many individuals in different ways, and some it may barely affect at all. Asperger’s is a learning disability, one that can hinder or help a person in many numerous ways. How does it affect an individual?
If you’ll allow me, I’d like to share my experiences with living this disability, and how it has affected me in both good and bad ways.
I’ve had Asperger’s all my life, even as a child. In my younger years, I found it difficult to interact with certain individuals. I didn’t always have a clear understanding of social interaction, so making friends could sometimes be a bit of an undertaking. Luckily for me, I had a good circle of friends who understood my “difficulties” and respected me.
Some of said difficulties included: Not catching onto obvious things right away, a difficulty maintaining proper eye-contact, an extremely short attention span, and rather awkward hand-eye co-ordination. Despite these “shortcomings,” I found I was actually quite skilled at various things.
As I grew older, I developed a knack for menial chores. Repetitive tasks very rarely bored me, which allowed me to become more skilled at certain jobs. Where someone may find a certain job to be a bit too bland, that’s never been too much of a detriment for myself. I also found that having Asperger’s doesn’t affect my work all that much.
It does tend to affect others though, I know of a few people who have difficulties managing their learning disability in work environments. What I think employers can do to better facilitate workers with Asperger’s and similar learning disabilities, is to form an understanding.
It’s best to cut them some slack in certain areas, but not too much to the point where it seems you like favouring this one individual. It’s best to be accommodating to that individual’s faults, while at the same time making use of their best traits. For example, a person with Asperger’s may have difficulty fully grasping the workplace training they are given.
This could be because they have problems with their attention span, or it could be they have difficulty in soaking up certain bits of information. Regardless, it’s best to spend some more time with that person to make sure they fully grasp the training. While in some cases it may seem like a bit more of an undertaking, I think it’s worthwhile to both the employer and employee.
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