Friday, August 28, 2009
Dealing with discrimination in the world
It's strange being Aspergian/autistic. Often times I feel quite content on being alone with just my children for company. But many times I feel lonely and long for adult companionship other than my parents. I would like to hold or be held. I don't know. It's strange feeling like two people. An adult who sometimes has control and a child who just wants love and acceptance and friendship. I look at normal people my age and sure, they have their problems just like everyone in today's times, but they seem comfortable in their own skin, their own bodies, with who they are and who they've grown up to be. I try to be an adult but most of the time I'm still just that scared little boy whose been trying to fit in to a world that most of the time will not accept him for forty years now. It's been such a hard road. I see the same type of road for my son. Now I'm not trying to say that it's easy for autistic girls I know that they have challenges too, but girls in this world, normal or not are cut more slack. They are allowed to show and express more of their feelings, not looked at as bad for making mistakes, etc. I've worked more than fifty different jobs in my nineteen years before I went on disability. Only one of those jobs did I ever feel accepted. Motor City Casino in Detroit. I helped to open it. I was one of the few with experience in the casino industry there and quickly advanced up the ladder. But every other job they've picked up on my autistic mannerisms and not liked it. Normal people can have that in-between where you don't really like them but you don't dislike them either. With the autistic it's an instant like or hate, and more times than not it's the latter. I have been picked on, held back, denied raises, etc all just because some boss above me did not like me, not due to my job performance. It takes me longer due to my poor coordination to catch on to a work routine but once I do I can be better than most normal people. When I first started in casino dealing school I couldn't handle the chips or the cards. When I graduated and was hired at Boomtown Casino in New Orleans the instructors at the school told me that when I started the school they didn't think I was going to make it. But I did. The director of the table games dept. at Boomtown picked up right away on my autistic nature, mainly coming down on me constantly for not smiling. I do smile. I can recall many times at Boomtown having a funny conversation with a player and laughing. But whenever the bosses would see me I would have that insecurity and fear inside that translated on my face as being mad. "You always look mad. You never smile!" Dealers at that time were paid minimum wage plus tips. When the minimum wage was increased, all of the dealers got the raise but me. When other dealers passed their probationary period and went to full time and got their benefits, I was left at a part time status even though I worked forty hours a week. I was denied my benefits and raises based just on my autistic mannerisms that the bosses didn't like. I was a skilled, fast dealer but the bosses had supervisors write false evaluations on me so they could deny my raises. They were trying to get me to quit and I still worked there four year before going to Michigan to work in Detroit. I wasn't at Motor City Casino in Detroit for even a year and I was a supervisor over other dealers making sixty thousand a year. This is what my son and daughter and your autistic children are going to have to endure. Discrimination based on their autistic nature. Back then I didn't know what the problem was. I blamed it on my being underweight and not having that winning personality. I still knew it wasn't my fault and felt discriminated against. Just because we suffer from social anxiety disorder or other anxieties or phobias or just odd autistic mannerisms doesn't give employers the right to just not like us and hold us back. This is something that needs to be corrected so our children don't struggle like I have, being called stupid, or slow, or uncoordinated, or lacking common sense because we want things explained to us to make sure we're getting it right. This discrimination needs to stop. As always, thanks for reading my friends and I await your responses and comments.