In my last post I wrote about a situation with a team leader at my agency shift where I was asking her where sweetnener is (I needed it for a resident) and she was trying to chat with me instead. It is said that autistic people may not pick up on other people intentions and, although it is probably true, I really do not like this wording because it implies that understanding the intention would solve the problem.
I believe that I correctly picked up on the intension of team leader – she was making an effort to be professional by being friendly to someone who may be alienated. And the problem was, I still didn’t know what to do about it. I needed sweetener.
The situation happened on Saturday morning, I believe, although I am having some thoughts recently that it could actually be on Sunday morning. Which is probably not that important really so never mind.
Only yesterday evening, (on Tuesday), good couple of hours after I made that post, I realised than in that situation I finally got what I wanted (sweetener) while the team leader didn’t get what she wanted. I never thought about any situation from this perspective.
What the team leader wanted, I believe, was to feel appreciated for the social effort she was making with me. Not only I didn’t realise that when I was speaking with her, but even if it came to my mind at the time, I wouldn’t be able to deliver it.
It is my understanding that non autistic people use non verbal communication to give others feeling of being appreciated, or any other feelings, possibly, and that this is called social reciprocity. This is unfortunately not something I am capable of but I do want people I work with to feel appreciated so I had an idea that possibly I should be allocated ‘appreciation stickers’ by my employer as a reasonable adjustment and my colleagues would be instructed to be as happy on receiving the sticker as they would be on receiving signs of appreciation through non verbal channels.
I imagine I’d love being able to place those stickers personally on my colleagues, just above their chest. And if I sensed that someone expects appreciation when they don’t actually deserve it, I’d press the sticker really hard to make them think that I’m being sarcastic.
Sounds like a plan? Lol.
I know, it is a ridiculous idea. But I’ve heard even more ridiculous ideas being suggested as reasonable adjustments for us, some that could actually hurt us. Like for example allocating time that would allow an autistic person to discuss all the politics at work – this could easily be used by managers to manipulate an autistic employee or to collect information about other staff that managers wouldn’t otherwise know. As a result this may cause other staff to exclude the autistic employee from any social exchange and they won’t even know why they’re being excluded; they will just think it’s simply because they’re autistic so they will think their social skills are much worse than they actually are and they will loose all the confidence they possibly had earlier.
So, if the above can be suggested as reasonable adjustments, what’s wrong with appreciation stickers? They wouldn’t hurt anybody and could even be fun.
Anyway… I spent a bit of time yesterday evening on doing my digital art. I didn’t do any when The Friend was here.
I still occasionally think about closing my blog – the next payment to WordPress will be taken on 13th of August; that will cover me for a year, so it does seem to me that possibly I should give up on it now. Giving up is sign of being sensible, that’s what I think sometimes. I find it difficult to imagine the future and that, possibly, in a couple of years, people will finally understand what I’m talking about.
It does get frustrating when I see that researchers as famous as Professor Simon get us wrong and don’t want to listen. It does feel to me at times that closing my blog is a sensible solution to this problem.