AARC Tip of the Month
January 2015
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Adults on the Autism Spectrum: Self-Disclosure

"Self-disclosure" means deciding whether or not to tell someone that you have a disability. Often it is confusing when trying to decide if you should tell or not. In the book Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, Ruth Elaine Joyner Hane (an adult who experiences autism) explains her process of determining when to tell and when not to tell. She says you should share information about yourself if:


1 - it will be helpful to your relationship

2 - it is important for safety

3 - it is essential to your employment


She goes on to explain that if she is having an "autistic day", it means that she is very sensitive to sensory triggers:


 "If it is a stranger, I tell only what is necessary, 'Sorry, too noisy for me.' When I know a person fairly well and the music is too loud I say 'Could we turn down the volume? With my autism I can process a conversation better without the loud music" (p. 28) 


 Ultimately you are the one who decides whether or not to tell, but remember that if you need any special accommodations to help you in your job or at school you should tell. Learning to express your needs and manage issues surrounding your disability is an important part of being an independent, self-advocating adult.



Book Suggestions:
These books are available in the SESA Library. You may search the library on the SESA website, or you may contact our Librarian, Anne Freitag, at afreitag@sesa.org or 907-334-1301

For easy searching on the SESA Library site, we've added the ISBN number. Simply copy, paste, and search!

Ask and Tell: Self-advacacy and disclosure for people on the autism spectrum
Edited By: Stephen Shore
Forward by: Temple Grandin
Autism-Asperger Pub Co., 2004. 
ISBN: 1931282587

"Aims to help people with autism effectively self-advocate in their pursuit of independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. [This book] ... speaks[s] to the twin issues of self-advocacy and disclosure for people with autism and by consisting exclusively ... of contribution by those on the autism spectrum for persons on the spectrum." - publisher's website.


Asperger's from the Inside Out: A supportive and practical guide for anyone with Asperger's Syndrome.  
By: Michael John Carley and Peter F. Gerhardt
Perigee, 2008. 
ISBN: 9780399533976

The author has Asperger's Syndrome and discusses social interactions, nurturing interests, who to confide in and how, dealing with family and loved ones, and finding work that suits, strengths, and talents.


Asperger's Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide: A neurotypical's secrets for success
By: Barbara Bissonnette
Forward by: Yvona Fast
J. Kingsley Publishers, 2013. 
ISBN: 9781849059435

This author explains what it takes to succeed  in a workplace dominated by neurotypicals. It covers everything from choosing the right career to deciding whether disclosure is the right option. It features realistic strategies for meeting employer expectations and effectively resolving problems. Examples from coaching clients are used to illustrate common employment challenges and how various techniques are applied in actual circumstances. Situations are described from the the Asperger's and neurotypical point of view so that readers understand why problems occur and how to avoid them in the future. The book is designed to be a reference that readers can refer to again and again for guidance on specific job-related topics. The recommendations will benefit individuals who are entering the workforce, as well as those who struggle to maintain employment, or who want to improve their performance and advance their careers. 


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