Working with Asperger’s

Working with Asperger’s by Rudy Simone is not formally published yet as it will be sold via her website www.

I am pleased that it is available however, because it is an invaluable read, one that is near the top of books that I read on Asperger syndrome (AS) and employment.

The reason for this is that it is – like my book Managing with Asperger syndrome written from a first perspective. Listening to someone too with AS who is addressing issues that they have faced at work is highly insightful.

What made it so appealing to me was that, though the text necessarily covered much common round, there were regular comments that provided insights into issues that provided new and different perspectives.

This book deserves to be read by those with AS in employment and any organisation who seeks to employ one. It will help a person with AS understand and ask for what they need and guide an employer and guide them towards providing it. More than fifty adults were interviewed for the book and each chapter – which I will review independently – finishes with recommendations about what employer and employee should do.

When researching her first book 22 Things a Woman Must Know if She Loves a Man with Asperger’s syndrome, (2009), Simone discovered one strong, recurring theme: the majority of adults with Asperger’s had great difficulty earning a living, mainly because they had a hard time keeping a job.

Many were self-employed and in jack-of-all-trades scraping out a living through a variety of jobs. This prompted the author to develop a resource that listed all the factors that determined whether an employment experience is successful for both parties and providing strategies for achieving that goal.

Simone asserts there are cultural differences between those with AS and those without and that they are most felt in the workplace where a person is essentially held captive for a large portion of the day. Differences in communication, physical needs, instructions, and supervision, allied to AS social anxieties and independent spirit mean there is a lot of potential for failure.

The book seeks to help those with AS to find employment, partly by ascertaining where they are sabotaging their own best interests.

As the author says: work is so much more than just work: it’s about what you wear, the environment, how your boss behaves and how your co-workers treat you. Most people with AS would just like to do their job and go home, but its not that simple: many of the difficulties are subtle in nature.

After listing the common reasons why people with AS struggle to get jobs: awkward social skills, difficulty communicating, environmental sensitivity and not be able to utilise their natural strengths and interests, the book then addresses specific issues via individual chapters.

Chapter One: Why should you employ someone with AS? The positive advantages

The chapter starts by listing many of the known benefits and reasons why it is beneficial to employ someone with AS. They are well put however and also reinforced in a pertinent way and set the scene well for what is to follow:

• The AS population is growing in numbers. Hiring someone without it is nearly impossible for a large firm. Some experts now believe that it is necessary for employers to provide autism awareness training;
• People with AS largely have to find work and maintain employment without significant support. There are few vocational job support services available;
• AS gifts far outweigh the relative minor inconvenience of making adjustments; However, they do not have higher crystallised intelligence: the ability to apply acquired, skills and knowledge, (common sense);
• Visual, three-dimensional thinking: very visual thought processes that provide creative applications;
• Attention to detail: sometimes with painstaking perfection;
• Honesty: totally honest – even if it is sometimes not what people want to hear which can make the person unpopular;
• Logic over emotion: AS people spend a lot of time “computing in their mind” which they become good at when a more empathic emotion-driven response is called for.

Chapter 2: The Importance of Belief

The key point here is that a person with AS must believe that the condition is not an insuperable problem. The general public has little idea about autism and even less what Asperger is meaning they form a perception based around the “invisible syndrome”: idiosyncratic behaviour normally triggered by social or environmental things. However, it is up to the individual to confront this.

From an employer perspective, though the person may be efficient, they may seem to lack common sense or people skills, are at times abrasive and may withdraw from co-workers. Though they can get jobs at interview and perform well for short periods, appearing “normal” for longer periods is a struggle.

The book refers then to diagnosis and makes some very important points from the employer perspective. Pertinently from an adult perspective, how by the time a person has reached maturity the outward signs of AS have become less visible.

The result is that many employers doubt the capabilities of the person and overlook the qualities of the person. However, as Simone asserts, though common, this must not be allowed; that having AS is not a case of wanting special attention or concessions, but an explanation of why a person does things the way they do. It is not an excuse, it is a reason. If the person appears less capable than at interview, employers should adjust the social and environmental job aspects.

Chapter 3: The Big Consequences of Small Talk

Belatedly in my life I have come to appreciate the importance of the next topic: small talk. The reason being is that, as Simone correctly asserts, one of the first things co-workers notice is that people with AS are no good at small talk. Most not only do not know how to socialise; many feel they should not have to socialise whilst at work and that it is unnecessary in performing their duties. However, interestingly, most felt their job failures were due to an inability to socialise, rather than job performance. I can empathise with this.

I think that the next point is worthy of deeper consideration as well: if the person with AS is in an environment with like-minded people, it is not an issue for those who work in a more tolerant, cerebral atmosphere.

One of the things that I have found in my career is that I have rarely encountered difficulties with intelligent people. The reason for this, I believe, is that they simply understand things better, are more tolerant of idiosyncrasies and are prepared to listen to, and accommodate, different and original thought. One of the criteria I now look out for when job hunting is this characteristic.

Not everyone you work with will be cerebral of course, so the next suggestion – not viewing small-talk as pointless so as to prevent refusal to engage in such rituals being seen as offensive to others – is well made. Insightfully, the point is made who small-talk gives clues as to who is in or out, popular etc, who is part of a clique or likes who.

The author advises the person to examine their hostility to small talk and realize that engaging in it can reduce pressure. Help should be actively sought via social skills therapy, workshops or books like “The Hidden Curriculum”, (Myles, Trautamn, Schelvan, 2004) and the person should always try to go to social functions.

Importantly as well, Simone advocates not judging people. This, I feel, is one of the most important and well explained points the book makes, as it mitigates the AS tendency to judge people morally. The latter has been the source of some of the most significant work-based problems for me and advice such as the more likely you are to see good in others, the more likely they will respond to you in kind, is well advisable.

Chapter 4: Social Faux Pas

Simone next looks at AS bluntness or “brutal honesty” and how people with AS have an irresistible urge to inform, often without correctly anticipating the emotional reaction of the recipient. This is another of the book’s thought-provoking and pertinent lessons.

Bluntness can mean lost jobs. However, it is not that the person with AS is over-sensitive: we are genuine people that want to speak the truth and improve situations and not play games, so why mince words? My response here was: indeed?

Interestingly, the author that though a person with AS may appear to be complaining a lot, of being critical, therein lies the genius and companies should use it to their advantage as it can result in action for improvement. I am not sure this is straightforward for the books stated reason: the person may be shocked that they are told they are blunt and be subsequently surprised and hurt.

In my personal experience, this can seriously hinder an AS person from having the confidence to continue to push the boundaries and, because as the book next says, if they think they know a better way they will say so and not couch insights in soft rhetoric meaning they gain a reputation as a know-it-all. Being tactful does not come naturally and takes time.

This is where the subject of behaviour or what is known as “Asperger Arrogance” is raised which is an issue I believe has strongly detrimentally affected me at work. The book asserts that a reason is that people with AS feel superior to those around them if they do not possess the same intellectual ability. If their ability is not recognised it can leave the person with AS feeling unfulfilled, unappreciated and resentful. I am not sure myself that this is the reason – for me it is more about blunt discourse – but it is something that I will be considering further

To resolve this, the employee needs to curb their urge to inform unless being asked for information. To this I would add proactively seeking out the advice of others; say things more indirectly; curb the tendency to be blunt and arrogant and temper it with compassion.

The chapter then looks at blunders, boundaries and emotional attachment. Blunders are caused by not knowing what to say meaning a person ends up saying the wrong thing. Office politics is all about subtlety and many are not equipped to play the game meaning the person gets hurt by the outcome.

Professional boundaries can also be confusing and many have a hard time learning what they are and what is, and is not, appropriate to discuss with co-workers. To this I would add respecting authority. As Simone points out, being genuine people this can be hurtful. In a work context refusal to pander or faking it can be detrimental but people with AS are unwilling/unable to keep it up.

I do concur strongly with the next point: that saying the “wrong thing” results in the AS person being misunderstood. As the text says, what is logical is often said, rather than, what is socially and emotionally expected. An emotional situation may take the person into territory they cannot control or predict the outcome.

The advice given is useful. To overcome such difficulties an employee needs to show more humility; disclose where possible your AS, be yourself in conversations but “when in doubt, leave it out”; find a mentor you can learn limits to social topics appropriate at work from; think about the qualities in others; don’t overcompensate by being “too nice” just to make friends – if it is insincere as it will catch up with, and exhaust, you – and; acknowledge different thoughts and feelings and consider utilising spiritual supports like Buddhism.

Employers can assist also by not taking bluntness personally, being patient, offering pointers and talk to them privately if they have been clumsy with words or actions. This is well and good of course, but only if an employer knows and is amenable.

Chapter 5: Please do Not Fill in the Blank

This chapter looks at emotional expression. It is, perhaps, one that is not so relevant form a work perspective, but contains some useful insights. E

The main one relates to the motional attachment of faces: an AS person will not always give away what they feel or be what you would normally expect in a situation. People with AS are not always blank however: they just be lost in their thoughts or be anxious. Things like eye contact or body language can be issues.

People have commented on how, at times, I have appeared blank: they have said that sometimes I am “not there”. This is very detrimental in meetings or when dealing with staff.

The advice given is worth noting: an employee should take interest in their appearance and practice. Observe yourself; smile as much as you can to appear happy and confident.

Chapter 6: Quiet Please

Simone importantly emphasises here how personalised work space is regarded as the biggest environmental benefit and that noise is the number one complaint of all workers. It affects everyone’s productivity, concentration and creativity.

Though many of the points alluded to are standard – how the person requires focus and concentration – the examination of open plan office space is beneficial; how such unnatural environments can be draining both emotionally and mentally.

How excess noise in the workplace causes overstimulation and causes the person with AS to become grumpy which triggers reactions is emphasised as is the next point which I found personally very pertinent: how many people with AS don’t like “shouters”.

Some of the most difficult personalities and inter-personal relationships that I have encountered at work have stemmed from dealing with “shouters”: managers who seem to think that the way to motivate people is to bawl at them.

Obviously, from an AS perspective, nothing could be further from the truth. The book does not cite my answer – that not reacting initially to such behaviour to prevent encouraging it – but simply alluding to the problem concentrated my thoughts.

The next point was new to me: that many people with AS have been diagnosed with PTSD and how nervous reactions to loud noise are common in autistics and are a symptom of PTSD. The author believes that this can be a legacy of a lifetime from having Asperger. I had never thought of that and, to be honest, I find it disconcerting.

The chapter finishes on a positive note however and one worth assimilating again. If AS people are “in the zone” they can be unsurpassed in output and performance. Having space away from prying eyes means this will go uninterrupted. You don’t want to stop the flow by being under scrutiny.

Employees should ask for a quiet room and utilise other methods like avoiding shouters or using ear pieces and learn stress management techniques. Employers should ensure the AS person has their own office or space. A lot of their work could also be done from home.

Chapter 7: Visual Overstimulation and Other Sensory Issues

This chapter starts with another statement that I hadn’t considered fully: how visual overstimulation affects everyone, but the sources for someone with AS may be even more unconventional: Fussy clothing moving around, too many people in the room.

Fluorescent lighting is listed high on the aversion list. Natural light on the other hand, is a natural antidepressant. It improves mood, raises energy and stimulates essential biological functions in the brain. A desk by a window is, therefore, ideal.

Reasonable temperatures should also be on the wish list, particularly with regard to central heating. Smell is also referred to – which is something that I had never previously considered – and it is suggested that flowers, flameless candles or sprays like lavender can all assist. Sensory breaks are also advocated.

I think this area is lower on the required action list than it should be. The next point never has been however and is one of the strengths of the book – stating in no uncertain terms how some things almost must be done by a person with AS. One is: how you ask for something which is cited as more of a factor than whether you get it than why. This statement pressed home a necessary point to me: that you will increase your chances of being successful if you are tactful. Ask for things in a positive way to avoid being perceived as complaining.

Chapter 8: Trust Me, I Have Asperger’s

The subject of motivation is explored next and internal motivation is what will drive a person with AS, the feeling of a job well done, more than prestige or the promise of reward. Whilst I personally am not sure this is entirely true, I concur with the assertion that some do jobs beneath skill levels or for low pay because if “felt good” to do the work. This, for me, reflects, more a need to have purpose and an inability to work on matter which is of little or no personal interest.

I also concur with the other main chapter findings. If they know what they are required to do they can be trusted to get the job right. They do though need clear instructions and the freedom to do the job without being scrutinized; to know what exactly is expected of them – including any hidden expectations or special conditions – and when it is needed by. They will flourish if they can do it in their own way at their own speed. I work best under these conditions – and personally seek and work to realise them!

The next point was – for me – one of the books “insight” moments. Deadlines are a part of life but someone with Asperger needs some flexibility within times frames. If they are forced to dive in they may not “get it” which results in them getting it wrong. As a result, they may be regarded as slow or stupid. The reason why this was a learning point for me was that deadlines mean – if I cannot satisfy them – anxiety. I ask for flexibility now also.

Simone’s assertion that being trusted and not scrutinized negates negative impact on a person’s confidence and social skills is also one that I resonate with. I, perhaps, have not conveyed sufficiently on having this. As the author says, it would be ideal if a person could work when they wanted and not forcing them to work within a strict timeframe. I know I work best under these conditions.

An employee should, therefore according to Simone, ask for flexible working arrangements and more autonomy wherever possible. To achieve this it is usefully asserted that practising projecting confidence not annoyance is important. Putt yourself in your bosses’ shoes and do what “you’d expect your employee to do what you asked”. Another “insight” point for me follows: following instruction and taking direction does not mean being subservient; it means you are being reasonable and willing to learn. I am going to try to practice this; it may change my mindset and make me, I believe, less provocative and confrontational towards others.

Chapter 9: Polyester Prisons, Neck-Ties and High Heeled Hell

The known points – how AS men may strongly dislike the feeling of a tie, collared sheet or stiff shoes; women may have an aversion to high heels and how there may be unspoken requirements for office wear – were all made here. I found the text about how time may also be a factor – or getting ready – new and thought provoking.

The point about how looking like you belong to your tribe being an ancient survival mechanism and the corporate tribe is no different a point worth re-enforcing.

Chapter 10: A Little R&R Goes a Long Way: Ritual and Routine

This chapter explained rituals and routines in a more precise way for me. For the AS person grabbing and maintaining control over a situation is, for the author, a stress management technique as it means fewer variables come into play. It’s a good point, especially in relation to work, as it could be the cause of real difficulty given it can possibly breach established protocols and unwritten boundaries.

The sources of control alluded to I found interesting. Withdrawing some social contact is one form of control, being organized is another: you know where everything is and having less means less stress; hence the appearance of rituals.

Routine, therefore, has to be created and control achieved over working hours. This can, however, according to Simone, be mistaken for stubbornness. If a person exerts too much control, it can prevent their views from being taken at faced value and from being considered seriously.

The author refused to accept a new technology, was eventually proved right, but it permanently damaged her relationship with her boss. The way she communicated her misgivings – “I don’t want to do it” also made her appear rude and stubborn and prevented the company from seeing the merit of her views.

This was another point that resonated strongly with me and one that I have identified as a key, personal learning objective. Looking back on my career I can see a number of occasions when I understood a situation and what needed to be done, but was unable to establish the personal gravitas to achieve it. Developing effective personal relationships and conveying my views calmly with impact were, I believe, the key reasons for this and stemmed directly from my Asperger!

Chapter 11: Don’t Tell Them Where You Heard This, But….

People with AS often become the source of gossip. Their inability or lack of desire to socialize, chitchat or display other emblems of normality – speech, gestures etc – make them stand apart from the crowd and lead others to speculate.

If you try to keep yourself to yourself, you will stick out like a sore thumb, and people will react as though you have an attitude problem. Where your quirks are accepted your co-workers will accept you over time, but doing the former takes effort and can be exhausting and the façade can begin to show holes. We feel disliked and exposed.

Feeling uncomfortable, disliked or misunderstood tends to make AS traits more pronounced and can be a source of real stress. The constant struggle to be accepted, or at least to not stand out negatively, affects job performance and saps confidence.

The author offers some really useful and practical in this sphere. Firstly, how gossip will always be present and, if others are gossiped about, don’t pass it on. Watch what you say and don’t give away personal secrets/information that provides gossip ammunition. If you are the subject of gossip, don’t go to the source and ask them to stop as they are unlikely to do so; going to management doesn’t always help either.

If you ignore it, it may go away, but if it doesn’t, defend yourself against false accusation when people are all in a group and not directly. People may be a little shocked but the gossip will be deflected from you onto the perpetrator who should not named, but referred to in the third-person. It will show you have strength and self-respect.

I liked this advice along with the necessity of acknowledging that accepting others and not picking them apart works both ways. In other words, you need to do your bit!

The final point is definitely, for me, relevant: you need to learn how to stand up for yourself little by little. It isn’t easy and can be painful, but in a work context especially it can be highly beneficial and must be done.

Chapter 12: The High Cost of Low Behaviour

Bullying is built into the human DNA. After listing the general reasons why people may be bullied – fear, isolation, humiliation, hostility etc – the book addresses why someone with AS are easy targets and not always quick to know why they have/are being bullied.

With the anxiety already inherent in AS, the fight-or-flight response to social contact, and the pre-existing presence of PTSD, can mean bullying being traumatic to the point of withdrawal and even illness. This is usually fatal in any job.

The author argues that there are serious inadequacies in legal protection and how Asperger may not be recognised as a disability in all [US] states. She also asserts that many forms of bullying are difficult to prove and that the fear of retaliation keeps many with AS from taking action to defend themselves.

An organization called The Workplace Bullying Institute is cited as being able to offer information and assistance. According to the founders there are decisive steps you can take to protect yourself. I will be investigating this organisation.

Importantly, it is emphasised, once the bullying starts, how easy it is to feel like a victim and to be afraid to make things worse by creating a fuss. According to the author’s experience, once this pattern starts, you have nothing to lose by doing whatever to protect yourself legally. People with AS don’t deserve to be harassed even if we do sometimes feel like it. Do not apologize for creating a problem – you didn’t create it.

Chapter 13: The Power of Praise

This chapter takes a look at praise, a subject which I have always thought has never received the attention it should it the AS field. At work, it can be incredibly motivational – and protective!

As Simone rightly points out, positive reinforcement is necessary to let a person with AS know they are on track. A good supportive boss can make all the difference in the world. Praising little things and letting them know they have done a good job will give them more confidence. More confidence means more motivation, and a happier, more productive worker. For me, it also prevents many other Asperger negative developing – anxiety, inter-personal friction etc.

Giving positive reinforcement is rightly emphasised as even more important for someone with AS because of the tendency towards perfectionism and the propensity to be exceptionally sensitive to criticism and of making a mistake. In the employment sphere, both can be particularly damaging for someone with AS.

The chapter then finishes by reinforcing some really useful and important points and provides highly advantageous advice. Firstly, how people with AS who make an effort to understand the syndrome are aware of its pros and cons and so come to realise that a good working relationship is a two-way street.

If an employer is criticising your work ask them to do so in a private and in more constructive way. Try also to understand where your boss is coming from and think about your own response to criticism – AS means it’s not always taken well. Moderate your words. Don’t expect other people to automatically understand where you are coming from; your boss may also have their own communication issues. Giving praise goes both ways.

Chapter 14: Working with Natural Strengths and Interests

This chapter talks about how it is logical not to push a person with AS into a role they unsuited to.

However, Simone insightfully makes the point that the things people with AS don’t do naturally well (e.g. socialize) usually fall into realms that don’t directly affect what they are doing. Indeed, this can often be a strength in the workplace: if the job is research, no one will do it better, as a people with AS are information addicts.

Where there is control and a definable outcome AS workers can excel. It is when they come into contact with people problems arise because people are unpredictable and uncontrollable.

The aim should be to work with natural Aspergian tendencies and channel them into appropriate activities, rather than, forcing them to do things that will be demoralising. Training to provide practical knowledge or job sharing are advocated to overcome gaps in performance.

The author asserts that employers should work more with these skills and mindset and not try to force square pegs in round holes by listening to those with AS and not regarding them as stubborn. They should also support them to stretch their boundaries by providing learning or pointers in a non-critical way. This is perhaps where I feel the book could offer more. The insights offered in the employer sphere are more along the lines of what an employer should do, rather than, offering the same amount of practical advice that is so well laid out to employees.

One such piece of advice is offered: an employee should be upfront and inform the employer about what they are good at and ask for training in areas like public speaking.

Chapter 15: Conformity, Psychometric Testing and the New Segregation

The author is not a fan of personality/psychometric tests for people with AS who she describes as “somewhat non-conformist”. Psychometric tests were created to measure intelligence. Personality tests were created because there is so much more to a job than just tasks and employers want to ensure that they hire people who are compatible and cut out for “the team”.

Unlike a practical test which gives an autistic person the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge; a psychometric test is confusing because of the lack of concrete right or wrong answers. The author cites the National Autistic Society in the UK as to how “people with AS are unlikely to relate to such tests…. so it would be unfair to assess them on this basis. The answers depend entirely on the situation”.

The author undertook such a test herself but would refuse to do so ever again as it makes no allowances for her differences in thinking: “it is not an employers’ business what I think in the workplace, only what I do”.

According to Simone, such tests do not leave room for hiring the genius or the maverick. Nor do they accommodate those whose skills might outweigh any minor inconvenience of having to put up with a few idiosyncrasies or not given a chance to exercise their unique way of thinking.

I am not sure the advice offered is realistic: namely, that if you feel strongly against such tests, write to the company before an interview, explaining why and to be excused. If not, purchase a book beforehand that helps you prepare. I personally would advocate avoiding situations that prevent a worker with AS presenting themselves favourably in the first place.

Chapter 16: Aspergers and education: Star-crossed Lovers?

I found this chapter personally pertinent and interesting because of my current work with Nottingham University. According to the author there are very few universities [US]who are savvy enough and who are educated enough about Asperger’s. The lack of resources at universities is also a big hindrance.

As Simone rightly goes on to say, an AS employee may have abilities and intelligence greater than their education would indicate; consequently, they be in the wrong position or field or an employer may be underutilising them. However, people with a lack of skills often end up in jobs like retail where people skills are required.

For these reasons people with AS end up in jobs that do not exploit their intelligence and so switch jobs or careers many times. Most university disability offices have no particular understanding of AS or the time and resources to pay attention to, and assist, a student who is struggling. The onus currently, therefore, is entirely on the individual. Even if they do have degrees, many students will drop out of the workplace if their needs are not more constructively addressed in the workplace. This is precisely what I have found and why I am working with the Careers Service at Nottingham!

The author advocates part-time or online learning and refers to specific university programs for people with Asperger’s – Nottingham. The employer needs to talk to people to find out what their needs are and support their personal/technical development; expand their responsibilities to create something that is of more value to you and satisfying to them. If they in a totally wrong position, help them to find something more suitable: your janitor may become your lawyer!

Chapter 17: To Tell or Not to Tell: That is the Question

The chapter starts by listing the reasons why or why you shouldn’t disclose your condition, but comes back to the same conclusion as myself: “no one can tell you what is right to do”.

One person quoted is stated as saying that its best not to disclose as it means you are unlikely to get the job as a consequence. Sadly, I know that many people with AS do believe this. As the book goes on to say: those who are not officially diagnosed would not be protected by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and, even if you are, it may be quite difficult to prove why you were fired.

Simone believes that people with AS should tell others if you are doing your job well to advance the cause of AS which I thought was brave. Like me, she also advocates asking for what you need without disclosing. Sensibly she believes that one should weigh the options carefully as, whatever you decide, will impact upon your life. If you do disclose, do not go “unarmed”: provide information. All good stuff.

Chapter 18: Bye Bye Black Sheep: Avoiding the Asperger Pre-emptive Strike

The final two chapters round off by looking at how both sides (employee/employer) can bring about a more mutually advantageous situation.

Employers should not lose a valuable employee over something that can be fixed. Nor should a person with AS leave a job they love for the wrong reasons. If an AS employee starts to take time off work or shows a decline in interest or performance, this could be the classic “Asperger pre-emptive strike!”

At work this is something that that needs to be immediately addressed. The author lists a number of reasons why there is premature self-termination of employment: social anxiety or bullying, being underutilized, a lack of job satisfaction etc.

If such a situation comes to pass, the author urges the person to ask if they have addressed all the issues outlined in the book. Have you asked for accommodations? Have you made your environment as suitable as possible? Have you found a mentor? Have you made compromises etc?

An employer must not assume either that there is nothing that can be done either. Talk to the employee and try to find strategies that will help address an issue. Importantly however, she makes the point that I concur so readily with: the employee must be willing and prepared to help themselves.

Chapter 19: Reach to Succeed

Any professional relationship will have a much better chance of succeeding if the person with Asperger will REACH: REceive a diagnosis, Acknowledge the impact of Asperger’s on their life, Commit to the relationship and seek Help.

I liked this assertion. Like the author I believe that putting all the onus on a boss is unrealistic, impractical and unfair. As Simone concludes, though you can accept that having Asperger’s has given you some gifts, there are weaknesses also. By taking a good, positive, honest look at yourself; your history your personal patterns, you can begin to identify what those things might be. It’s your life; don’t let having Asperger beat you when it can be your greatest ally and make long-term employment a possibility.

Or, as the words that always come to mind for me: “if you want to change others, you need to change yourself”. In a work setting, this more readily applies.


I greatly enjoyed Working with Asperger’s. It was refreshing reading something written from the perspective of a person with Asperger who has experienced work and wanted to convey their experiences and the lessons they had learned from them.

The suggestions made to address the issues and realise personal development were pertinent and, above all, highly practical. It is just such sort of practical advice that I believe people with Asperger need in relation to work and which will help them succeed and which is currently so desperately lacking.

Working with Asperger’s can only currently be bought from Rudy Simone’s personal website at:

Managing with Asperger Syndrome