This week I had the pleasure to speak to Tyla from Adulting with Autism. She shared her motivations behind starting a blog and her experiences finding work as an autistic female. Huge thanks to Tyla for sharing!
1) What inspired you to start your adulting with autism blog?
When I was getting ready to leave university there wasn’t much help or support affordable and available for someone like who was going on to live a fully independent life. A lot of my peers were moving back home or had a job lined up and for many reasons I had neither but also couldn’t find any information that was tailored for autistic people on how to tackle such a big change and get yourself up to adult ‘right’.
2) How would you like your blog to help other autistic people that are becoming adults?
The blog is a mix or personal anecdotes documenting my mess ups and tips but mainly just following my journey into / through adulthood. So I like to think it’ll help others feel less helpless and alone. There are plans for the future where I’ll hold more practical adulting skills workshops.
3) What do you think the preconceptions of autistic people are and how would you say they are different?
Preconceptions are just that it’s a social disability and you’ve difficulty making friends when it goes beyond that. The comorbid conditions, isolation from then world around us and just generally not being on the same page as everyone else is tiring. It’s a draining, a simple catch up with friends can have your head in a spin if more than one person talks at once. Emails worded to be polite when really theres an urgency mean we get in trouble at work like autism doesn’t present itself the same way in every person but on the hole, we’re sound people who are often misunderstood.
4) What do you think is most difficult about being an autistic adult?
At the minute for me dating and relationships, by time I’ve finished with work, made sure my house is in order and tied up all the important loose ends I find I don’t have the capacity to deal with meeting new people and then when I do getting them to understand they have to communicate with me differently and that what I say is what I mean is hard. So many times lads say to me “oh I’ll take the hint” and I’m there searching for the hint because to me there wasn’t one! Haha.
5) What do you is most difficult about being autistic and finding a meaningful job?
I thinking what constitutes as meaningful job is different to everyone, some people need their job to define them I just need to be happy in my workplace and not be stressed out over stimulated by the work. So my job as a Data Analyst plays well to my autistic traits of pattern spotting and ability to do repetitive tasks and hyper focus but beyond that, it doesn’t reflect me as a person. I like to think I’m creative and my ideal role would be to put my interest in social media to use and consult small to medium sized business and educate them on how best to use social media for their company. My main difficulty in doing that is right now I don’t have the skills to be a freelancer or the experience to work for someone else which I’m sure is the case for many people.
6) What advice would you give to others searching for work?
Rejection is redirection. And don’t hold back from applying for a role, even if you think you’re not good enough let them (the employer) decide. Who are you to decide really you don’t have enough information to make that call, you could be the most qualified person who puts there name forward so just do it!
7) What advice would you give to employers looking to hire autistic employees?
If I’m honest I’d really question why you want an autistic person specifically and if it’s based on any stereotypes about the way we work then make sure you ask in the interview how the person works and likes to be managed. Also set your boundaries and make things clear, it’s better to tell them they need to be in at 9am than mark down they’ve been late 3 times and ask why because you hoped it’d sort itself out.