Ed note: I try really hard to keep things clean around here. I know it’s a family show, after all, and the language should therefore be family friendly. Sometimes, however, a girl’s just gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And today, this girl’s just gotta curse.
I tried to write this post using a word other than the one that starts w A and rhymes with bassmole, but I found that it really just didn’t work. So, if you’re uncomfortable with colorful language (specifically that one word) – I’d respectfully suggest that you stop reading here and come on back tomorrow. No hard feelings, I promise.
Look, I’ll even post a picture of a unicorn for you to look at as you shut the page down.
Who doesn’t love a good unicorn?
Okay, so for those of you who decided to stay, thank you. I appreciate you sticking it out. Here goes …
A couple of days ago, a friend came to me and a couple of other Mama friends with a second-hand question. A friend of hers runs a small company. He had recently hired Joe, a gentleman with Asperger’s. He described him as a good employee and a nice guy. But he had a problem.
It seems that some of the other employees were laughing at Joe behind his back. Nothing serious, he explained, but, well, Joe had some behaviors that could be kinda odd and since the others didn’t know that he had Asperger’s, all they saw was the odd.
The boss came to my friend to ask her advice in how to handle the situation. He wanted to speak to the other employees individually and explain Joe’s odd behavior to them, but was very concerned that doing so might be disrespectful of Joe’s right to privacy. He wasn’t comfortable approaching Joe about it directly and therefore found himself in a bit of a conundrum.
I thought long and hard about it (or not) and offered my best advice.
Sounds like a great boss. Can’t he talk to the employees without revealing the diagnosis (if Joe would prefer that he not)?
Like “Hey, the guy’s a little different. Don’t be an asshole.”
I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the world a better place for my children – and specifically for children like Brooke and the kind of adults that they will grow up to be. And while making the world more aware of the telltale signs of autism is part of that mission, it’s really – like REALLY, REALLY – not the end-goal.
In part because autism just looks so damned different in different people, I think it’s nearly impossible to install reliable Autism Radar in the entire neurotypical population. It just ain’t gonna happen. But it really doesn’t make much of a difference, because it’s still not the point.
If we’re doing our jobs as parents – hell, if we’re doing our job as PEOPLE – then it really shouldn’t matter whether we recognize someone as autistic or not. If we are alert to one another’s needs, to how we can, in the simplest ways, help to remove obstacles for one another, offer support to each other, create an environment in which everyone feels seen, safe, celebrated and included, well, the labels really aren’t even relevent, are they?
Now, I know that this may be confusing to some folks. The simplest things so often are. So I’ve decided to make a flow chart. Cause just like a good unicorn picture, who doesn’t like a flow chart, right?
We’re going to call this How to Make The World Better – by Jess.
Please feel free to print it out, laminate it, and put it in your wallet.
Consult it often.
And if you find yourself laughing behind the back of the goofy guy at work, getting frustrated with the grocery bagger who got a little flustered at the market, standing by silently while your kids are teasing the Joe on the playground, or ever, EVER saying, “What a retard” …
You’re being an asshole.
We can all make the world a better place.
And really, it has nothing to do with autism.