This past week I did a training presentation on autism. I had been debating for a long time on whether or not I wanted to reveal that I have autism during that training. My manager was supportive either way, but said that he felt it would be helpful for people to know I have autism in order for them to gain a different perspective on the disorder.
Anyway, long story short, I decided to go ahead and say that I have autism in order to present some pertinent examples during my presentation. And the presentation went really well. I didn’t want it to be about me, but I wanted my story to add to the overall message. And I feel like it did exactly that.
A lot of the managers and supervisors also made comments and told stories about their experiences with family members or employees and that really added to the overall message as well. In the end, the message I wanted everyone to understand was that autism isn’t a problem in and of itself.
We all have problems and things that we deal with, but it’s when we allow those problems to disable us that they become disabling. Autism is considered a disability, but it is only really a disability when the person feels disabled. Feeling disabled means that you’ve lost the hope to try because you don’t feel there is a point when your disability will always cause you to fail. We all live with problems and can overcome those problems to live productive lives, but if we see ourselves as disabled we become a self-fulfilling prophecy.