God's Love Shines down on us all

God's Love Shines down on us all
I Love You All, Blessed Be

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.

1 comment:

  1. "they seem comfortable in their own skin, their own bodies, with who they are and who they've grown up to be."

    For whatever reasons, this line resonates with me. I've often felt uncomfortable in my own skin and subsequently, I suppose, so have many of my fictional characters. For me, I can't quite pinpoint why this is, I just know I'm familiar with this sense, and also the feeling of being two people at the same time (as a teenager and in periods of depression and self-doubt, I often felt I was outside of myself observing a separate self and analyzing/critiquing her, even speaking to her in third person).

    Here is my character Rita, resident of Dillon, South Carolina's, South of the Border, on the subject:

    "I was having one of my down and dissatisfied days when it happened.... On down days, it’s hard to move, to do anything at all. But on down and dissatisfied days I am anxiously down, not just plain down. On down and dissatisfied days, my skin seems an uncomfortable fit that I itch to get out of."

    I wish I had an easy way to help overcome these struggles you talk about with such openness and honesty. Sounds like you're struggling with, on the one hand, understanding and reconciling the impact your Asperger's has had on your own life experiences and knowing how to help our children by improving society's understanding and acceptance. Robison has written both about just wanting to be understood and accepted as he is, and also about learning the social rules/norms by which the majority operates, and it seems to me a very tricky but important balance to strike.

    While I sometimes feel uncomfortable in my own skin, I also know how very hard it is for me to try to creatively inhabit another person's skin and understand them from the inside when all I see are external behaviors. Maybe this is why I write fiction because, in so doing, I can construct characters from the inside out. I struggle with this especially with my son, forgetting that his explosive and challenging behaviors often have their roots inside of him--how he's processing the world through his senses, how he struggles with communication, how he has such a hard time with transitions, how he too desires to "hold or be held" but doesn't know how to communicate or necessarily even interpret for himself what he needs, what he feels, what he desires.

    Thank you for your thought provoking entry on what has, for me, been a rather discouraging day.