Barbara Bissonnette is a certified coach who provides job and career coaching to Aspergers/autism adults.
As a coach, she provides learning, support, and strategies to:
- choose the right job or career
- manage the job search process
- learn interviewing skills
- plan a disclosure strategy
- handle a disciplinary action
- communicate with colleagues
- understand and meet employer expectations
- manage time, prioritize tasks, and get things done
(from Barbara’s site, Forward Motion)
If you’ve looked for Aspergers employment help, be sure to listen to this podcast episode.
A Reader Question, And Barbara’s Response:
Thanks to Chelsea for the following question:
“What can I do or say when I go for a job interview or when I do have a job and they notice something a little off from me because I do not want to feel like I am being judged because of my autism?”
If the person hasn’t/doesn’t want to disclose, sometimes a general explanation will work: “I tend to take things literally;” “Let me know if I am getting too detailed;” “My facial expression may not be communicating my enthusiasm for the job.”
If this individual has disclosed, then he or she could offer a brief explanation: “My Asperger’s makes it difficult to maintain eye contract; however I am listening intently to what you are saying;” “One down side of Asperger’s is my sensitivity to fluorescent lighting. On the plus side, I am very skilled at…”
Aspergers Employment Help Show Notes:
- How Barbara got started as a certified coach for Aspergers adults in 2006 [2:31]
- Finding the right job/career: Barbara’s four step process [5:00]
- Why focusing on interests only may not be the best job seeking strategy, and what to do instead [5:53]
- The importance of finding the right work environment, and why that is so important [7:17]
- An example of difficulty in the work environment – and when to consider whether accommodations will be realistic or not. [8:06 ]
- Barbara’s experiences in coaching clients about whether or not to disclose their diagnosis [9:40]
- How to work out a strategy for disclosure. Barbara goes on to define what are realistic accommodations and requests are not realistic. [10:12]
- Barbara shares some tips for job seekers, including formulating a job search plan, and one of the common mistakes job seekers make in putting together their resume. She talks about the importance of having the right strategy for finding employment. [13:07]
- How Barbara coaches clients about communication during interviews, and when on the job. [16:51]
The importance of context as a way to gauge how to communicate [18:40]
Selected Links and Resources
Forward Motion, Barbara Bissonette’s Coaching Site
Barbara’s free Aspergers employment help guides.
Quote from Lynn Soraya, Adventures in Cross Cultural Communication
We have learned from long experience to deal with each other differently. As much as we might like to believe it, body language is NOT universal — and assuming so is dangerous. It can be easy to react badly to another who’s “being rude” to you but, especially when dealing with someone who is different than you, it’s important to question our own assumptions. What we take for granted in communication is not always as it seems.
Asperger’s Workplace Syndrome Survival Guide: A Neurotypical’s Secrets for Success, by Barbara Bissonnette.
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