Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ari Ne'eman gives input on autistics in workplace

I recently came across an interesting piece about some autistics in the workplace. These always hit home with me because of the tremendous employment problems that I have had as well as the simplistic quick fixes that are given by so many, such as disclosure and Temple Grandin's things about mentors.

I see that neurodiversity's lead spokesperson, Ari Ne'eman has decided to give his $.02 worth when he was interviewed by the author of this article.

Ne'eman states:

Aside from communication barriers, other challenges can impede autistic workers, such as sensory sensitivity to fluorescent lights or inability to understand directions for a job, said Ari Ne’eman, a 21-year-old with autism who grew up in East Brunswick and founded The Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

even more intriguing statement from Ne'eman:

Social pleasantry should be eliminated as criteria for hiring and a good job evaluation, Ne’eman said.

For those who don't know, Ne'eman is a 21 (maybe 22) year old kid who has never had a job of any kind or made a dollar in his life from working-at least he acknowledged this the last time I had contact with him and discussed this issue, though I realize this may have changed. Even if Ne'eman's situation has changed (which I doubt), he still has essentially no actual work experience.

As a person on the spectrum (autism not Asperger's syndrome unlike Ne'eman) who has been fired from nearly 20 jobs, yet who did manage to work sporadically for more years than Ne'eman has been alive, I resent him trying to give input on the autistics in the workplace. Never having worked, he knows nothing of the problems that people with disabilities face in the workplace. He is totally ignorant of anything involving working for a paycheck and making a living.

Apparently from these statements we see that Ne'eman feels that it is okay for an employee to behave on the job in any manner in which they choose if they have autism. Interestingly enough this does not jive at all with his previous statements that insanity defenses should be done away with for people on the spectrum charged with crimes as this will cause them not to have equality with NTs.
Ne'eman wrote:

If Asperger’s is a justifiable excuse for criminal action, what right do we have to demand an equal place in a society of law-abiding human beings? When a college student caught engaging in arson suddenly claims Asperger’s so as to avoid being held accountable for his actions, what does it say about all other law abiding autistics?

Someone working in a customer service or waitressing job should just be able to tell the customer to "fuck off" if they are autistic or Asperger's and feel like doing this. If the employer were to fire them, they would be a bigot, violating this autistic person's civil rights.

Well, as one of my favorite human beings, Clay Adams, would say, wish in one hand, shit in the other and see which one fills up first. Ne'eman and the ND movement are dreaming if they think this is ever going to happen. That society will accommodate people with autism no matter how they behave and how offensive their behavior is.

Even more intriguing than Ne'eman's inconsistent statements saying ASD'ers should be culpable for crimes they have committed is that these statements about social unpleasantries being overlooked are totally inconsistent with previous statements he has made on this same subject in the past, which come from the previous link:

If Asperger’s means an inability to help breaking the law, all of us are incapable of avoiding lawbreaking. As someone who hopes to work in law eventually, I am not too keen on the message this sends to my future prospective employers. “Asperger’s autistics,” says this argument, “are a risk to your workplace environment. They could go off at any moment- it’s just who they are.”

Ne'eman, who has commented that because of Allison Tepper Singer's admittedly dumb remark, that this caused a bunch of parents of autistic children to go out and murder their children and that autism speaks is morally complicit with murder, certainly knows about making a faux pas. Perhaps he is worried that when he actually goes out into the world and tries to support himself that he might get into trouble due to some sort of social skill impairment his Asperger's causes him. Perhaps this is why he is so concerned about employer's judging employees by their social pleasantries.

Of course the ND philosopy on John Best (a possible spectrumite) is not consistent with this. John Best's caustic speech and blog posts towards the ND's he despises so much are not overlooked by Ari Ne'eman and the others. Virtually all of them have banned him from their blogs, constantly vilify him and never overlook his mean behavior. Perhaps the ND's should practice what they preach. If that were the case Best's lack of social pleasantry in his posts would be overlooked and all of the ND bloggers would welcome him with open arms rather than banning him.

But these sort of inconsistencies and crapolla are par for the course for ND. So let's all say it together gadfly readers, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' NEURODIVERSITY!


Jake Crosby said...

Ari Ne'eman should spend two weeks pouring in 12-hour shifts at a Wing Zone for a shithead boss with assholes for coworkers like I did before making statements like those.

He says we should eliminate social pleasantry from the workplace to help autistics, while the elimination of social pleasantry from my workplace was precisely why my experience there had been so horrible.

John Best said...

This is why the "genuis" Aspies should become professional horseplayers. If the jockey gives your horse a lousy ride and costs you money, you can scream at him like a lunatic when he comes back and dismounts and nobody cares.
Aspies would also make good umpires where they can call balls and strikes wrong and nobody is allowed to argue with them.

They would probably do well as Customer Service Rep's for the government where they can lie to voters and laugh about it. Neuroinsane bloggers are skilled at lying about autism so they can count that as experience. After you get a gov. job, nobody knows which politician's ass you kissed to get it so you can be as rude as you want to everyone and the bosses are scared they'll lose their own job if they mess with the wrong politician's friend.

Ne'eman just needs to learn more about how employment really works so he can guide the Aspies to the right careers.

farmwifetwo said...


1. All those laws against being protected from abuse by other people should be thrown out.

2. Autistics should not be charged with any crime.

I don't think so. You want respect from mainstream society you live within the expectations and laws of mainstream society.

Those with Autism can be taught appropriate social and behavioural skills. I know..... I'm teaching 2 children right now on either end of the spectrum.

Is working in the "workplace" difficult - I have no doubt for some. Should basic accommodations be made if possible - yes. But to ASSUME entitlement - I don't think so.

Autism Mom Rising said...

I like the way you consider Asperger's and Autism as distinct conditions, because they are. While both have their challenges, the degree of those are not the same. This is not to dismiss Asperger's, as I realize more is expected of them in terms of functioning in the world and those skill may not come naturally. Yet, I can't help but notice that the Aspies in my son's class are nothing like him.

I heard that it is being considered in the upcoming DSM update to list distinct but related syndromes. I hope that is true.

I have Spectrum traits myself, including signficant processing disorders and all things ADHD. Yet, it would be wrong to refer to myself as On The Spectrum because I've never had challenges with relationships, making and keeping friends, etc - some of the things Aspies report. Similarly, I think it is wrong for Aspies to imply that they have is an identical condition to someone with Classic Autism because they do not.

John Robison said...

As much as we might wish otherwise, social skills are essential to get employed and remain that way, and no amout of legislation is going to change that.

I share your concerns about a 21-year-old with no work experience offering opinions about employability.

K said...

"I don't think so. You want respect from mainstream society you live within the expectations and laws of mainstream society.

Those with Autism can be taught appropriate social and behavioural skills. I know..... I'm teaching 2 children right now on either end of the spectrum."

What would you do with Sky Walker? I personally would not charge him with a crime because I don't think he knew what he was doing. Do you think his mother just failed to teach him social skills? Sky Walker is profoundly mentally retarded.

John Best said...

As far as Skye Walker goes, society needs to be changed so they have acceptance of autistic teens who help their parents gain early entrance to heaven. Skye Walker is, after all, the next step in evolution and NT's are incapable of comprehending his gift.

I communicated with Skye through EAP (Extra Aspie Perception) and I will introduce legislation to fool the public into believing that Skye's motive for what might be considered a crime by mere mortals is beyond their level of understanding and Skye should be set free so he may interact with speeding cars on freeways so he may be reincarnated at an even higher level that will be further beyond NT's comprehension.

Don't forget: Nothing about us without us.

A better future for all said...


I do not define social pleasantries the way you. To me, it is called civility. Of course, one should not say "fuck you" to customers. Of course one should not pee in the coffee cup. Yes, one should say please and thank you. A person should not be allowed to run naked in Yankee Stadium. Yes, a person should of course be polite. If a person causes offense unintentionally or intentionally the right thing to do is to make amends and apologize. Of course one should conform to a dress code the employer expects.

When I am talking about social pleasantries I'm not talking about this whatsoever. What I am talking about is having to be this extraverted, confident salesperson especially when the job does not require this. Employers demand people to be this personality type when they are not.

In addition, I have a big problem with employers being treated as gods and infallible. This is what I mean by the social pleasantries. These are my issues.

jonathan said...

Normally I don't write responses to three year old posts, but clearly you don't understand autism spectrum disorders and the problems it causes people in the workplace. Autism is a far more serious disease than just lacking "civility". People, yell, get into arguments and sometimes sexually accost employees in the workplace. Employers are unfortunately infallible gods in their workplace and can usually fire at will, unless there is some sort of contract.

A better future for all said...


I have been diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome so I have personal experience with autism spectrum disorders.

When you state "People, yell, get into arguments and sometimes sexually accost employees in the workplace. "

They need to make sure they don't yell or sexually accosting employees. Especially with sexually accosting, they need to keep their hands to themselves. I am in agreement with this. To me, these are not social pleasantries but matters of civility except for making arguments.

With respect to arguments sometimes one must pick his battles. For me, I feel employers demand something from employees and that is their very identity and soul.

I have a monster problem with a person being forced to be an extraverted salesperson when it is unnecessary. This means employees are forced to be something they are not.

Here is another issue that I have.

Let's say I don't shake hands in the matter the employer demands and I don't apply the amount of pressure the employer demands. This is what I'm talking about. Let's say the candidate has a habit of sticking his pinky out while he shakes hand. Will he or she be punished for this? By their standards it would seem so.

I don't agree that one should be forced to be this extraverted, confident, salesperson if this is not what he is.

I do agree that one should be cordial, civil and polite. One should not curse out customers and one does need to keep himself clean and hygienic. I have had issues with this but I have had to work on them because when I smell I affect other people.

One should not spit on the floor or anything like that. One should say please and thank you.

What you describe are matters of civility not matters of social pleasantries.

"Employers are unfortunately infallible gods in their workplace and can usually fire at will, unless there is some sort of contract. "

True, this is the case now. I'm talking about the idea of this. I'm asking, why does it have to be this way? Why aren't some of their standards ever put under examination, scrutiny, or question? Why is it always socially inappropriate to question some of these standards?