It took us some time to find an attractive title for our book on autism. Every time we were in the car, on our way to an interview, we discussed it. And suddenly: bingo! We knew this is the right title because the book is about the power of people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their success in life and work. Success? Yes, that really is possible. We have talked to many people with an ASD, obviously, all have had a difficult time. However, they managed to create a happy life. As Jaap… despite his doctorate in Mathematics, struggled to keep many jobs before realizing that his intense attention to detail was making him a slow worker. It became his strength once he learnt to set goals and communicate his progress.
What was our motivation to write such a book? Well, that’s easy. First of all we wanted to write a positive book. We discovered that there are only a few books about autism in which the power of the people is shown. It was and is our goal to make clear the abilities people with an ASD have and how they can use these abilities in work and life. We really hope that AutiPower will empower people with an ASD. We also hope that employers, managers and teachers will read the book so they learn to recognize people with an ASD in their organizations and help them to get the best out of themselves… and thereby: out of the organization.
People with an ASD, are just one side of the ‘story’. After all, people with a form of autism are reliant on autism professionals, career coaches and employers. Let’s take the last group: employers. We have encountered that it still is difficult for them to see the value and great talents that people with an ASD bring to the workplace. If you are an employer and you want to know how to adapt and support workers with an ASD? Well, first of all, it’s important to learn how a mind of a person with ASD works. The book AutiPower will tell you all about it. Read it and ‘go into the mind’ of Mark, Wendy, Barbara and all the other people with an ASD. Once you know how their brains work, take measures to ensure these people feel comfortable at work. Maybe it’s necessary to create a separate room, or take care that they always have a colleague, someone to talk to when they have questions or when they feel uncertain. And yes, all of this costs you some time, but we are convinced that it is worth investing in these people. People with an ASD are hard workers, accurate, faithful and intelligent.
Many people asked us to give some tips for successful living and working with an ASD. Well, in the beginning we did not know much about autism but as all of the people with an ASD we interviewed were pretty open to talk about their life, we now dare to say that we are kind of ‘experts’ on this subject. So, our tips? Focus on what you can do and don’t focus on what you can’t. That sounds pretty easy, but – look in your own environment – mostly people emphasize their negative rather than their positive skills. Also very important is to be open minded and to talk about your disabilities and problems. Accept coaching in work or at home. It helps, really. Our last tip and maybe the most important one: stay positive. Every day you can and will learn. Take step after step, don’t be impatient and… enjoy life!
We really hope that our book AutiPower is an instructive book for people with an ASD and also for anyone who really wants to gain a better understanding of the thoughts and feelings of people with a form of autism. So, let’s give the last words of this blog to Robyn. In AutiPower she says: ‘I am lucky with the job I have now. I like it and it allows me to make my own choices. And that is very important to me.’