How I'm Finding Success At Work as a Person With Asperger's

A lawyer with Asperger’s syndrome recently described his condition as one which causes him to see masks where other people see indicators of emotions, and one which causes him to only hear the words when people are really communicating something else. I can relate to this completely because I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2003.

I have immense difficulty with nonverbal communication. Before my current job, I felt like this would be a barrier to many opportunities, but now I know I can find a place in the world. This is because my job navigates around this immutable characteristic. I work at Blue-J, a company which predominantly employs individuals on the autism spectrum because we have a detail-oriented, often perfectionistic mindset which can lend itself to cleaning. Over 80 percent of Blue-J employees are on the autism spectrum.

A metaphor which I might use to describe my condition is that of a computer which can only receive instructions  in a very specific programming language. This computer can execute very complex tasks, but only if those tasks are sent to the computer in the proper language. This describes my thinking perfectly, because every environment in which I have succeeded has been one where I have been given very clear written instructions. Every instruction I was given in college was written, and I did very well there. On the other hand, I did very poorly on a construction job where I was primarily expected to learn through observation.

Working at Blue-J has given me more confidence because it has helped me learn there are positions in the workforce for people of all learning styles.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Andrey Popov.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Lucy wearing her autism badge.

How Making My Autism Visible Changed People's Reactions to Me

Everyone who knows me well knows I am autistic. However as autism is a hidden disability, when I am out dealing with the public things can be really tough. Quite often I get tutted at by cashiers as I fumble about trying to find my wallet. I notice the eye rolling as I take longer [...]

My Son With Autism Never Cared for the Doctor's Box of Stickers, But I Used to

​A flashback today, one filled with a range of emotions: sadness, regret, reflection…but mostly joy. And it was brought on by a sticker. It was the sticker box at the pediatrician’s office with a blue, happy face sticker smiling and mocking me as if it remembered something I had tried to forget. And sure enough, [...]
Black and white photo of photographer taking picture of a child with autism sitting on a swing bench

20 Tips for Photographing a Child With Autism

As a child photographer and an autism mom, I’ve learned a thing or two about photographing children with autism. And mostly, I approach each session as I would any child, regardless of diagnosis. I strive to reveal the true inner beauty of each person I photograph, to do so for children with autism, it can take [...]
Child looking down sadly.

How Undiagnosed Autism Affected My Mental Health

Ever since I was little, there had always been something “off” about me. I had very few friends in primary school, matured very quickly and would go through “phases” — from heavy rock bands to “High School Musical.” Every month of the year there was a new phase for me to tell my friends about. [...]