Protect Your Business From All Kinds Of Harm With This Advice

When you own a business, making sure that it is safe should be one of your top priorities. But, it is not always easy to know the kind of things that you need to do to make this happen. Don’t worry th...

News Company - avatar News Company

Expect tax cuts and an emptying of the cupboards in a budget cleanout as the billions roll in

Prime Minister Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg will do their best to leave the cupboard bare next Tuesday while still delivering a budget surplus in 2019-20.ShutterstockIt has been just over three m...

Warren Hogan, Industry Professor, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Warren Hogan, Industry Professor, University of Technology Sydney

Morrison flags new laws to stop social media platforms being 'weaponised'

Scott Morrison is foreshadowing tough new criminal laws to crack down on social media companies which fail to quickly remove footage like that streamed by the gunman in the New Zealand massacre.Under ...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Australian political journalists might be part of a ‘Canberra bubble’, but they engage the public too

Australian journalists often use Twitter to comment on the issues of the day.Nina Maile Gordon/The Conversation, CC BY-NC-NDThe federal election is fast approaching – less than 100 days away in ...

Axel Bruns, Professor, Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Axel Bruns, Professor, Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology

A new twist in the elusive quest for the origins of the word 'bogan' leads to Melbourne's Xavier College

Drawing of a 'bogan doll' which featured in a 1984 edition of a student-produced Xavier College magazine Sursum Corda.Author providedBogan is the most significant word to be created in Australian Engl...

Bruce Moore, Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, Australian National University - avatar Bruce Moore, Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, Australian National University

Massacre is now part of Christchurch's identity, so how does a city rise above that?

Christchurch has a challenging new aspect to its identity. The city is now inextricably associated with the March 15 mass shootings at two mosques. So how does a city come to terms with and recover fr...

Will Rifkin, Chair in Applied Regional Economics and Director, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, University of Newcastle - avatar Will Rifkin, Chair in Applied Regional Economics and Director, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, University of Newcastle

Schools are asking students to bring digital devices to class, but are they actually being used?

Not everyone has a digital device to bring to school.from shutterstock.comIt’s been over ten years since Kevin Rudd’s Digital Education Revolution placed small laptops (also called Rudd-to...

Nicola F. Johnson, Associate Professor of Digital Technologies in Education, Edith Cowan University - avatar Nicola F. Johnson, Associate Professor of Digital Technologies in Education, Edith Cowan University

Older people are more digitally savvy, but aged care providers need to keep up

Moving into aged care can affect a person’s ability to remain connected to their local community, but most aged care facilities don't provide access to digital devices.from www.shutterstock.com...

Dr Wendy Wrapson, Senior Research Fellow, Auckland University of Technology - avatar Dr Wendy Wrapson, Senior Research Fellow, Auckland University of Technology

Pets and owners - you can learn a lot about one by studying the other

The personality of a pet owner can help a veterinarian understand the health and welfare of the pet.Shutterstock/PM ProductionThere’s an old saying that pets and their owners become more similar...

Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney - avatar Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney

Shorten to announce Labor's 'living wage' plan but without an amount or timing

Bill Shorten will unveil on Tuesday a process to have the Fair Work Commission phase in a “living wage”. But he will not say what it should be as a proportion of the median wage, or how lo...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Health check: can eating certain foods make you smarter?

Green vegetables, nuts and berries are among the foods that could improve our brain function.From shutterstock.comTrying to keep up with what constitutes a “healthy” diet can be exhausting...

Margaret Morris, Professor of Pharmacology, Head of Pharmacology, UNSW - avatar Margaret Morris, Professor of Pharmacology, Head of Pharmacology, UNSW

A skilful and stirring one-man treatment of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

Renato Musolino is the beating heart of a new production of Animal Farm.James HartleyReview: Animal Farm, State Theatre Company of South AustraliaIn a new one-man production, Renato Musolino brings Ge...

Lisa Harper Campbell, Lecturer in Drama, Flinders University - avatar Lisa Harper Campbell, Lecturer in Drama, Flinders University

Expect tax cuts and an emptying of the cupboards in a budget cleanout as the billions roll in

Prime Minister Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg will do their best to leave the cupboard bare next Tuesday while still delivering a budget surplus in 2019-20.ShutterstockIt has been just over three m...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

A chess program helped this 8-year-old raise $240,000 and get his family out of a homeless shelter – here's what to look for in a chess program for your child

Third-grader Tanitoluwa Adewumi was crowned as a New York State Scholastic chess champion on March 10.GoFundMeBefore he won the primary (K-3) championship section of the New York State Scholastic Cham...

Alexey W. Root, Lecturer in Education, University of Texas at Dallas - avatar Alexey W. Root, Lecturer in Education, University of Texas at Dallas

The promise and peril of the Dominican baseball pipeline

Boys practice baseball at a park in San Antonio de Guerra, a small municipality in the Dominican Republic.Reuters/Ricardo RojasLatinos will comprise about 30 percent of Major League Baseball rosters o...

Rob Ruck, Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh - avatar Rob Ruck, Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh

Why the Vatican needs to open its archives on Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII.AP PhotoPope Francis announced recently that, in 2020, the Vatican will open to researchers its archival materials related to Pius XII, who served as pope from 1939 to 1958. The Vatican ...

Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies, College of the Holy Cross - avatar Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies, College of the Holy Cross

Saudi women are going to college, running for office and changing the conservative country

Saudi Arabia is a notoriously difficult place to be a woman.The kingdom enforces a strict interpretation of Islamic law that sees the separation of men and women as a defining aspect of an Islamic soc...

Alainna Liloia, Graduate Associate, Ph.D. Student, University of Arizona - avatar Alainna Liloia, Graduate Associate, Ph.D. Student, University of Arizona

Why Trump's recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory matters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, right, in the Israeli-held Golan Heights on March 11, 2019Ro...

Dina Badie, Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies, Centre College - avatar Dina Badie, Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies, Centre College

Despite consumer worries, the future of aviation will be more automated

Human pilots, surrounded by automation.Sorbis/Shutterstock.comIn the wake of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes, people are thinking about how much of their air trave...

Stephen Rice, Associate Professor of Human Factors, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - avatar Stephen Rice, Associate Professor of Human Factors, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

We need to stop conflating Islam with terrorism

The Christchurch terrorist attack has shown us that we need to address the threat posed by far-right extremism to our ideals of peaceful social cooperation in a multicultural society. Unfortunately, i...

Nicolas Pirsoul, Sessional lecturer in Middle Eastern Politics, Australian Catholic University - avatar Nicolas Pirsoul, Sessional lecturer in Middle Eastern Politics, Australian Catholic University

Huawei exposes critical weaknesses. We need the infrastructure to engage with China

The European Commission has decided to ignore US calls that its allies keep Chinese tech giant Huawei away from significant telecommunications infrastructure. Britain, France and Germany had already m...

Alice de Jonge, Senior Lecturer, International Law; Asian Business Law, Monash University - avatar Alice de Jonge, Senior Lecturer, International Law; Asian Business Law, Monash University

From Mahometan to Kiwi Muslim: history of NZ's Muslim population

New Zealand Muslims have come from several parts of the world, including Pacific Islands, Asian countries, the Middle East and Africa.AAP/Martin Hunter, CC BY-SAMuslims make up just over 1% of New Zea...

Eva Nisa, Lecturer in Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington - avatar Eva Nisa, Lecturer in Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

Plant Hire For Small Businesses

All companies face challenges. However, small businesses face a unique set of challenges. From restricted resources to client dependency, there are various hurdles you need to overcome if your busines...

News Company - avatar News Company

Just 16% of adults with autism are in full-time paid employment, and this situation is not improving. The Economist has described this as “a tragic toll, as millions of people live idle and isolated outside the world of work”.

When people with autism do get a job, they face bullying, discrimination and isolation in the workplace.

I know the harsh reality from personal experience. Who better to research and write about productivity and employment outcomes than someone who has experienced autism and 40 years of competitive employment?

Autism is a lifelong phenomenon. It’s in the genes. It will never go away.

At school I was called retard, crazy horse and other stupid names. Even worse, I was expelled eight times. Teachers did not understand that I could not identify non-verbal cues to behaviour. That I needed to move and to run to cope. That I spoke loudly and was perfectly clear about my perspective with teachers and peers but could not reciprocate appropriately in school interactions.

I found school tasks based on rote learning very challenging. I had difficulty processing sound information. I could concentrate for long periods on tasks of interest to me, but was unable to respond to teacher cues about where to direct my attention. I was punished repeatedly without really knowing why.

Read more: Why you should never assume anything about people with autism

But my mother never gave up on me. Time after time she found another school so I could continue my education. Thank you, Mum. You are the greatest.

These school expulsions traumatised me so much that I vowed never to let a workplace terminate me. When a job was not working out, I quit and found another – 28 times in 27 years.

Then, at age 47 I found a job I held for 15 years, until I retired.

These experiences have informed my research into strategies to improve employment rates and work enjoyment for other people with autism.

Focus on strengths, not deficits

Mainstream psychiatry frames autism as a spectrum of disorders. Really? Do we have to act like somebody else to be judged normal?

Laurent Mottron, a psychiatry professor at the University of Montreal, argues against a “deficit-based” approach to children with autism. The premise is that “treatment” should change them, make them conform, suppress their repetitive behaviours and moderate their “obsessive” interests.

Read more: How our autistic ancestors played an important role in human evolution

This approach, Mottron says, has done nothing to improve employment outcomes for people with autism.

In my own case, attempts by teachers and work managers to make me behave “normally” often just triggered my autism. My reactions at school led to expulsions. At work I would quit.

So I agree with Mottron and others autism researchers that want to move beyond studying autism as a deficit and to emphasise the abilities and strengths of people with it.

It’s the key to high productivity

Part of the economic rationale for funding Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is based on the scheme leading to productivity gains by increasing people’s independence and participation in the workforce. The whole scheme will be compromised if we fail to promote better productivity and employment outcomes for people with autism, who make up 29% of participants in the scheme with approved plans.

Research by the Gallup Organisation shows people who use their strengths every day are 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs, six times more likely to be engaged at work, and are three times more likely to report an excellent quality of life.

Performance reviews that emphasise personal strengths improve organisational performance. Singling out people with autism by focusing on their deficits alone does not make sense.

Connecting personal insights

My academic method is auto-ethnographic – involving deep reflection on my personal experiences over a lifetime of living with autism and connecting this experience to wider cultural, political and social understanding.

Read more: Autistic academics give their thoughts on university life

Three key insights for enhancing employment outcomes have emerged.

  • First, enable strengths. Build on employee knowledge, skills and willingness to engage meaningfully and productively at work.

For example, providing a predictable structure and routine and the chance to contribute and plan for change enabled my strengths as a sales consultant to benefit the organisation. Those strengths included being goal-focused, persistent, analytical, logical and free from the restrictions of procedure others took for granted.

  • Second, treat every individual as an asset to grow and retain.

This idea builds on the theory of knowledge-worker productivity proposed by Peter Drucker, the father of modern management. An employer can define a worker’s job tasks but should allow the knowledge worker to work out how to do a task most efficiently.

In my case, I compensated for a lack of neuro-typical social skills by convincing management to give me autonomy because I created value for the business. This strategy proved its worth in my final, and by far longest, period of employment.

  • Third, be aware of and avoid autism triggers.

These triggers, however trivial they may seem to others, can set off acute stress reactions. Triggers include unexpected and unexplained changes to routines and expectations, interactions involving implied but ironic criticism, casual off-the-cuff negative feedback, and visual or auditory distraction during periods of stress.

In my final workplace, for example, my managers and I used a mediator to avoid confrontations over work issues that would have been too stressful. As a result I could circumvent the pressures that had previously led me to resign.

The verdict

The hallmark of an enlightened society should be its level of inclusion. Wanting to change a person’s autistic behaviours is like attempting to correct left-handedness or sexual preference. It is cruel, unnatural and doomed to fail. It does not foster inclusion but emphasises exclusion.

We can change the significant social and employment disadvantage experienced by people with autism by seeing their assets rather than their liabilities. By rethinking their management attitudes and practices, workplaces can harness as strengths and advantages the attributes that usually disadvantage people with autism.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/expecting-autistic-people-to-fit-in-is-cruel-and-unproductive-value-us-for-our-strengths-103888