What’s reasonable about reasonable adjustments? An Asperger’s tale.

In which Tanya, our Case Manager/ Team Leader for Social Inclusion in the South West tells a rather self-depreciating but authentic and amusing tale, and Nancy ensures that any Asperger’s style  misinterpretations are corrected and Tanya’s value to Nancy personally and the company at large is noted!  

We are currently working together on Tanya’s PhD proposal, which is to evaluate the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic and cognitive coaching interventions to support neurodiverse people in prison. Research is needed, but let’s try and uphold the #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs principle.

 

 

Tanya: “I started off as a case manager for Genius Within working within the prisons. I wasn’t their first choice and I think it had something to do with me wearing my blouse inside out for the interview and being a little too over excited. “Im Aspergers!” is my standard excuse for when I do these random things!”

 

[Nancy says  – I didn’t notice the blouse (#ADHD) and loved the enthusiasm (#ADHD) decision was based on your part-time availability (we agonised because we loved you AND the other candidate and had only 1 full time role).  As soon as things changed for us you were call number one.]

 

Tanya: “Somehow I worked my way up the ladder and became a Team Leader for the South West area.  This seemed like a good idea at the time but I did not consider that I would actually have to converse more with the human species, which has had a knock on effect with Genius Within expenses bill.  I needed reasonable adjustments, but what actually is this. Firstly I needed a note book for each area of my new roll, no problem they said, ‘get what you need’ until they saw my expenses for that month and they kindly suggested that I get future note books from Wilkos and not Waterstones.  They haven’t noticed but I still sneak the odd one in because that’s reasonable isn’t it?”

 

[Nancy says – “somehow?”  How about because you are AWESOME at your job? And as for notebooks, it is indeed all reasonable!]

 

Tanya: “I discovered that I needed to attend more meetings for my new role.  My brain immediately visualised myself sat round a table eating delicate cakes.  This was soon shattered when they introduced me to the world of Skype and telekit calls.  I am not sure I will ever forget the Skype call with the CEO of Genius Within where I had her on mute but as I am hard of hearing I could lip read her perfectly and ploughed on with the meeting.  Surely that’s her fault for not being able to lip read?  Genius Within did not pass out when I bought what I affectionately call my ‘deaf phones’ for £200 odd pounds. I think I heard the Finance Director slump to the floor……. That’s how good the deaf phones are! Over time I did give in and attempt to use Skype however I learnt that by sneaking out of view and eating crunchy food that they will not believe the awful noise is static on the internet.

 

When considering my ICT skills I would like to say something constructive about them and I have had a team meeting to brainstorm possible positive comments. We have been unable to come up with any feedback other than every time I refuse to embrace new technology I politely say ‘I wasn’t joking when I told you I was rubbish at technology’.”

 

[Nancy says – the main element of your role is your client facing and team supporting work, in which you excel.  ALL IT shenanigans are sometimes very faffy and your self-depreciating humour smooths all things over so no harm done.  Also, I seem to remember that the Finance Director (Sandie) fell over because you hadn’t connected her face to the role and were confiding in her the price, thinking she was someone else, and you saying you weren’t quite sure how to tell me!  She then ‘revealed’ that it was she who had to sign off the spend and I think you nearly fell off chair too!  Luckily we are all the types who find that very funny and no harm done at all]

 

Tanya: “I know I am not the most reasonable but Genius Within have been so reasonable and made adjustments that they do not always understand such as letting me go to the beach during the day and write blogs like these at night.  The point is they appreciate everyone is different and that by making adjustments without question it means that around 82% I am working at my best and making the company money in return for the reasonable adjustments.  It’s a win – win if an employer can be totally flexible because we are under no illusions that we are awkward buggers and we will show our appreciation by working harder because we do not really go for all that huggy-appreciation nonsense J”

 

[Nancy says – As a CEO with ADHD I know I am also an awkward bugger at times but I recruit for values: integrity, professionalism, commitment to our client group and Tanya you are a joy in this company, we are lucky to have you.  And I know everyone feels the same.  Neurodiversity embracing is often about taking some rough with the smooth but appreciating that no one is perfect, and the highs are worth it.  Oh, and as for going to the beach for the day…. that is a reasonable adjustment that we ALL employ from time to time!]