Managing Whilst Autistic: Initial thoughts

Ok, so I've been starting to order my thoughts on this whole managing-whilst-autistic thing, and it seems to me to break down into 3 components:

  1. How can I modify my natural behaviour to fit better into a management position?
  2. How can I take a different approach to NT managers that builds on the unique strengths of my ND brain?
  3. What support and adjustments should I be asking for to help me?

So far most of the advice I've found, whether from autistics themselves or non-autistic professionals, tends to fit into #1, which is fine for what it is but suggesting that masking more is the whole solution is ablist and unhelpful. I've read about half of Malcolm Johnson's Managing with Asperger Syndrome and so far it seems to fit into this category. The author has an AS diagnosis, but it's very dated in its approach, and uses person-first language exclusively, for example.

Janine Booth's Autism Equality in the Workplace, along with a lot of the advice from mainstream charities and support groups, falls almost exclusively into #3. Also helpful, although very little of it even considers the possibility that some autistic folks might be managers and even good ones at that. FWIW, Booth's only mention of management is not to force people to accept management responsibilities as the only way of progressing in their career and attaining a higher salary, which is important but only half of the picture.

I'm still really struggling to find much on #2, which is incredibly frustrating. I think a lot of the problem is that it's only with recent changes to the DSM and related stuff that people are realising that there are adults out there in the “real world” who've escaped diagnosis by learning to blend in early and reach middle age before the toll it's been taking on us starts to become apparent. As a result, there's very little research or professional practice built up to suggest how to support autistic middle and even senior managers.

Hum, this is getting a bit long. Perhaps I need to start a whole blog to chart my progress on this...

Originally posted on BookFace 🙃