Finding the Right Job as an Aspie

By: Cole

Let me start with this: being an Aspie in the world we live in is hard enough, but being an Aspie and knowing that the way this world works is to have a job to support yourself and/or a family, that makes it incredibly more difficult.

There were challenges to accomplishing this right from the start, first of which is, just filling out the applications! No one likes it, but for someone on the Spectrum, it becomes a very unique and daunting task. The questions asked can be confusing, and wanting things to be in a set rhythm makes it hard when you see the requirement to be flexible with job duties and work shift times. I can also tell you that interviews are even more daunting, as I personally struggle with adopting certain acceptable social behaviors such as looking someone in the eye when speaking or being spoken to, and being direct when answering questions.

All that being said, despite the challenges, there are benefits to the employer that hires an Aspie or someone else on the Spectrum, and benefits to the prospective employee as well. The employer gains an employee that exhibits remarkable focus on the task at hand (being given notes and being allowed to work alone as much as possible helps me), and the employee gains valuable job and overall-life skills. Oh, and having a routine schedule really helps.

Now, I do want to briefly mention that my experience with job-hunting in the past few years has not been very positive at all, as I have not held nor even been given a real job until after moving away from home in April of 2017. I had interviews, but no callbacks, and that began to take an emotional toll on me and struck a blow to my confidence that I would ever become an independent working man. Also, coming out of college, I had fairly high hopes that getting a degree in a very specialized interest would help me to find a job in that field. Not having a paid job as a historian in any capacity in three years is not a fun fact to hold onto. Even though I am not working in it, it is worth noting that I used my special interest, which is history, to go to college and get a degree in that field.

Yet, despite all of this, I am an Aspie who is working a regular job and is making money to support himself and his family. My first job since moving was not my first choice at all, but there was little choice if I wanted to begin living the life I have now. Though, now, I am currently in an employment position that is a much better fit for me and I can honestly say that I enjoy going to work! Being an Aspie and navigating the job-hunting scene both alone and with help is no easy feat, but it is possible, and it can lead to a very productive life despite the unique social challenges that face an Aspie like myself.

What Holidays and Large Gatherings Mean for Us:

Holidays and the great get-together’s are something everyone looks forward to. Whether it be a wedding, BBQ, or a larger occasion like Christmas. But what does this mean for people who don’t handle crowds well? This is one of the many things that we consider when going to any event. 
      We enjoy gatherings as much as any other 20-something’s do. The only difference for Cole and I is that we require a tad more planning than most others. As someone on the spectrum, Cole appreciates having a pretty thorough game plan before hand. One of the most helpful parts of that is knowing about the people who will be there. I think it is common for most people to gravitate toward those they know at a big event like a wedding, and this is no different for Cole. Knowing someone and being comfortable with that person when we go somewhere can add an extra “buffer” to the overwhelming atmosphere. Knowing the size of the crowd when possible can also prevent a very stressful surprise of seeing so many people all at once. 
      Just as the loud and busy atmosphere can bother Cole, I also am bothered by loud noises. For me loud noises can be a trigger for seizures. Large crowds or unfamiliar places also cause me anxiety at times when can be a trigger. In fact, I also appreciate a level of planning although for different reasons. If I am going to someone’s house, I often don’t plan to use my wheelchair. This saves us from taking that with but if I do choose to walk somewhere then I have to worry about a few different things. Will I have to walk very far? Will there be somewhere for me to sit once I get there? (this question usually only arises if I go somewhere with bleachers as the bottom spots seem to fill first and I don’t do stairs). If the party is outdoors it is helpful to have space. Is it someones yard?  This very scenario presented itself during our most recent gathering over the 4th of July. Cole and I went to my sister’s camper where we were mostly outdoors. During the course of my pregnancy so far my balance has been greatly affected making me more wobbly than I would be normally (which was already unsteady). I opted to stay on the deck for most of the evening and was a little nervous walking in the uneven grass when I finally joined everyone playing games. Luckily I have a great family that helped me get where I wanted.
    A very important factor in having a plan (maybe the most important) is a timeline of the night. Having a ending time to the evening is key for many reasons. Specifically for Cole, knowing when he will have “downtime” is very important at the end of the day. Decompressing from all of the stimulation throughout the day HAS to be part pf the day. At times we have had to leave somewhere early or skip some part of the day in order to keep from becoming overwhelmed, Thankfully we have very understand friends and family who have learned a bit of our “code words” when we are getting overwhelmed. My family knows that if I say “Cole needs to be done”, it means he’s at his limit. “I need to lay down” usually means my body is hurting and I need to lay down to get some relief. If Cole and I are having a conversation with a stressful or “hot” topic, it’s not uncommon to hear one of us say, “I need a minute”. For me (McKenna), this means I am getting too upset and I need to cool down, and for Cole this phrase often means he is getting overwhelmed or anxious and needs to calm down. 
    Like Cole I like to know a general timeline of my day. This helps me know how many catheters I need to pack, what medicine I need to pack, as well as some other health related things… sometimes if we are going out of town, this may mean changing my shower and personal care routine. 

     Even with all of the forethought and planning that goes into things, I wouldn’t have it any other way! We love getting together with others and going to big events like weddings and family gatherings and surprisingly to some people, don’t give a second thought to all of the planning 🙂 

We Have an Announcement!

Hey Guys!
So it’s been awhile since we’ve posted but we’ve been holding off because we have a big announcement to make!

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We are over the moon with excitement for our newest addition! Given our last pregnancy we didn’t want to announce too early but now that we’ve made it “Facebook official” we decided it is safe to tell. We’ll try to make a video later this weekend.
I (McKenna) and 13 weeks which means I am almost through my first trimester and finally starting to show. Despite never ending urge to pee all day and all night, I couldn’t be more thrilled. My morning sickness seems to be ending which I am beyond thankful for!
My past surgical history and scars mean that I see section could be a little complicated so I’m going to be seeing a local OB and traveling to Minnesota to see a specialist. This means that over the next few months there will be lots of road trips. Aside from the possible issues with scar tissue during a C-section, there are no health issues or other worries at this point in my pregnancy, Which is such a blessing! I do you have to be careful because I am a less active person due to my mobility issues so this puts me at a higher risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. But all of these things are manageable with doctors care and me watching my diet and activity level. My major fatigue due to this pregnancy means that I’ve been slacking on the videos and blog updates but I will be sure to update the blog accordingly throughout the pregnancy. We are still planning on moving into our new house within the next few weeks which is super exciting! Renovations are still underway but we started moving furniture and getting things ready which is always exciting. I will make a photo album for pregnancy photos here, as well as renovation update because I realized that I have been making videos about them but not posting anything on the blog. So you can check out the renovation pictures here!
we couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to share our news with everyone who reads our blog! And we are so excited that you will be able to follow us on our journey! Stay tuned for more baby related news

❤️ The Thrush’s

Welcome to Our Blog

You may be wondering what makes our relationship so unique… Cole has Asperger’s, and I (McKenna) have Cerebral Palsy. The challenges of life, coupled with our disabilities can make for a pretty interesting day-to-day life. In fact our life sometimes seems like anything but day-to-day. I suppose the same can be said for our relationship from the beginning. We started dating just over 4 years ago and decided that we wanted to have a courtship than your typical dating relationship.

For those who don’t know the difference between dating and courting, a short definition of courting is dating with the purpose of getting married, not just dating to date. Really wanting to know each other is key and, not only that, it’s doing everything in your relationship with Christ at the center; I can talk more about this in a later post. We met at college in Denver and continued a long-distance courtship for a year before becoming engaged. Now almost 3 years later we are married and living in ND. We both have had many people in our lives, both family and friends wondering how we make our relationship work and how we make things work in our daily life. At different points in our lives before we married, both of us wondered if marriage was even in our future, if living independently, working, driving, and many other things would even be possible. Well guess what?!?! WE CAN!

The purpose of showing people our lives, is to show people that disability doesn’t need to stop you from reaching your goals. You can still go to college, live independently, get married, and even have a family regardless of the cards you are dealt. We may not be your typical couple. we may not live “normal lives” but that doesn’t stop us from living the best life we can!