I don’t look at being Autistic as being naive, immature or messed up socially–that’s all negative and not worth thinking about. I simply look at it as being a bit different. Is there anything wrong with being different? Absolutely not.
I was diagnosed wIth Autism when I was about 7 years old. I’ve come a really long way since then. I’ve landed a successful job as a Courtesy clerk at a supermarket where social interactions are quite common, but not easy for people on the Autism spectrum such as myself. I’ve gotten lots of support from my teachers, family, friends, and co-workers. My managers and co-workers have said that I’m hard worker and that I’m really nice to work with. My mom and I used DVR (division of vocational rehabilitatIon) and a program called supported solution to help me find my job.
What the CRP from supported solution did is he submitted stuff online for me, and went to the interviews with me, just so that my employer knew he was in the picture temporarily for support. After I had my job for 90 days successfully (I still work there), DVR closed my case. They did say I could reapply if I needed services again in the future.
What I would say to anyone on the Autism spectrum is, “Don’t beat yourself up.” I’ve gotten a wonderful amount of support over the years. You can too. I’ve explained the Autism spectrum to my managers and co-workers, what my challenges are, and they were all very understanding. One of my co-workers said that Safeway is really good about not discriminating, and upon doing some research, I found videos of Safeway employees with special needs. So that confirmed my co-worker’s theory. And I agree that Safeway is quite nice to people with special needs.