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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Jan 2, 2011

January 2, 2011

Asperger's on the Job by Rudy Simone ~ A Review

If you are a person with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or with High Functioning Autism (HFA), a parent or spouse of such a person, an employer, a co-worker, an educator or an advocate, Asperger's on the Job by Rudy Simone is a must read for you. Simone’s unique, fun way of expressing herself makes it very entertaining and her first hand knowledge with Asperger’s makes it very educational. The advice Simone shares will stay with you no matter who you are.

Rudy Simone was born in upstate New York and lived in Europe, Asia and California. Simone, an accomplished author, AS consultant, a jazz singer and stand-up comedian now living in San Francisco, also has AS, a diagnosis she only received when she was in her 40’s. By then she had walked out on jobs, apartments, friendships, and relationships and had haunting memories of being bullied and never fitting in. This book is based on her own experiences and the experiences of over fifty adults with AS from around the world.

At first glance, the book only seems to be a resource to help employers accommodate their employees with AS or HFA and for these employees to find and keep gainful employment. Once you start reading, you quickly realize the valuable insight Rudy Simone reveals about Asperger Syndrome and about many aspects of the daily challenges Aspergians face. Her practical solutions for the Asperger population on how to choose and cope and her recommendations on how the neurotypical population could accommodate the growing number of employees on the spectrum make it a go-to book for all groups of readers.

Her twenty short chapters are often supported by true stories or quotes and always end with a list of what the employee can do, followed by a list of suggestions to employers and advocates. Simone finishes each chapter with a few thought provoking or self-searching questions and she has even left blank spaces for your answers. To quickly locate information, if you cannot find it in the table of contents, you will surely zero in on exactly what you are looking for in the detailed index.

Simone brings a bit of humor to her serious topic through her play on words. For example these are two of her chapters:
*Polyester Prisons, Neck-Tie Nooses, and High-Heeled Hell
*A Little R&R Goes a Long Way: Ritual and Routine

The author has a wonderful way of explaining things. Here is how Simone explains to a person with AS to get their point across to a non-spectrum person: “If you shoot your words like an arrow (directness) at their recipient, that person will likely recoil from them. If you gift wrap your words (tact), the recipient will be more likely to want to accept your package (the point you want to make) and take it in.”

Simone addresses many controversial questions, one being her chapter: To Tell or Not to Tell, That Is the Question. She presents many arguments for and against disclosing that one has Asperger’s. Among the many different perspectives given, Lewis is quoted as saying: “It is best to let them know what it is so they don’t guess the worst. The vacuum of not being able to insert a label means others place it. …The term Asperger’s displaces ‘crazy’. Preemptive strike—fill the vacuum before someone fills it for you…”

This book should raise the self-esteem and hope of Aspergians and parents of children with Asperger’s. Simone never misses her chance to validate the attributes of individuals with AS. Here are a few:
*“People with AS possess a diligent, perfectionist attention to detail; these two factors will ensure that as long as your AS employee knows what you want or need, you can trust them to do the job right.”
*“The Aspergian ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without supervision or incentive is legendary.”
* “Yet those with Asperger’s possess some extremely useful, important, creative, and marketable skills that employers are missing out on.”

Parents and educators, who can now read about the challenges Aspergians meet in the workplace, as apposed to the generation who grew up without diagnoses and guidelines, will be better equipped to point their child/student with AS in the right direction when choosing a field of education leading to a satisfying career.

In the section Finding the Perfect Job for YOU- The Personal Job Map, Simone states: “One way to optimize success is to choose one (career) that works with your strengths and interests and which doesn’t involve too many of your shortcomings.”

Hopefully, the valuable lessons learned when reading Asperger's on the Job by Rudy Simone will go towards a positive change to the number in this quote “Up to 85% of the Asperger’s population are without full-time employment, though many have above-average intelligence.” If there is one author whose counsel we can believe and follow, it is Rudy Simone’s “Been there, done that” take on choosing a career, the work place and the interdependant roles we all must play. 

Asperger's on the Job by Rudy Simone
Publisher: Future Horizons
Binding: Paperback

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