Your friendly neighbourhood autistic here. It’s autism awareness/acceptance/appreciation month so I thought I’d share a couple of great resources for helping yourself and other colleagues interface better, smoother happier, etc. It’s more specifically Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd April but I was busy with my ADHD taking me in many other directions so … here we are. And I’m going to just assume that you are aware and accepting of us so let’s move onto appreciation.
Of course it’s always good to start with “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” We’re all different and mileage may vary but these below are a good starting point.
Hunter Hansen is a great advocate for autistic professionals and he sounds like Owen Wilson so what’s not to like! All his content is great but especially relevant are the youtube vids
Ashlea McKay. Now I’m going to riff of the last Hunter video as a segway into Ashlea’s great advice. But first a bit about Ashlea. You’ve heard me mention her in a previous post about using a codeword (banana) to indicate informations processing time in a meeting. Well she regularly posts tips and thoughts about autism at work in her Quirk Monster Bites on LinkedIn. The one that jumps out at me everytime is about Open Plan offices. Yeah we all hate them. The ‘pop-in‘, the ‘have you got a second‘, the ‘I’ll just save you form overwork with my mew tiktok dance‘ – yeah it’s exhausting to us. You can read her take here
Dr Nancy Doyle is neurodivergent and her Genius Within (based in the UK) has a lot of great information about all neurodiversity and advocacy in the workplace. Her articles on Forbes and posts on social are also worth a read. Information neurodiversity is here
Neurodiversity Media by Rachel Worsley is the last trip on our tour and definitely not the least. There are an incredible number of free resources for autistic and ND workers and managers including case studies and advice. They also have Toolkits to help addressing issues and getting every one on the same equitable footing.
Thanks for reading my little autism appreciation and awareness post. Remember to read autistic/bipoc/trans/disabled voices and listen to what they have to say. Happy holiday if you are having one, and just general happiness even if you are not.
Proof (for my boss) that I actually did do some work at ANZTRUC 😀
So I’m off home. Post trip I had a few meetings and said farewell to my SDC/STC/CRH/ACM pals. Went to a groovy little breakfast place in the Gaslamp called Broken yolk with a crowd. I went back again this morning. One thing that is really apparent is the size of food. I’m surprised every time I come to the US. Food is massive! I’ve tried to stick to two meals a day and some fruit. No matter how much exercise I’ve done here I think I’ve added 10kg 😮
After the gang left I took a trip up to Balboa park. I’ve been humongously home sick and I really needed to distract myself now that it was just me. I’d been there twice before but Friday is After Dark which is a festival of food trucks and late night museums.
Most interesting thing was that it was my first Uber!! Yeah hello 2017! All the cool kids were doing it at the conference so I thought I’d give it a go. Also what’s app. That was the group chat of choice at #TLCC2017 and with free wi-fi all over the place it was worth it. It’s almost like I work in IT or something?!
I got a burrito and went to the Nat (aka San Diego Natural History Museum) to see the dinosaurs. Main thing for me was how much I impressed myself with my hilarious Instagram feed.
I mean really. I’m hilarious 😐
Next point of business was to see the ball game. Padres we’re playing the Washington Nationals (of whom I’d never heard) and were soundly thrashed. Not that I cared as I got the late bought the cheapest ticket and spent the night watching the game from the best spots in the house. I was happy to buy a Simone a hat (and add a cunning disguise) and stand behind the floor seats. Once that was over I went back to the hotel to Skype home (told you I was into IT!)
So today was check out and logistics anxiety. Anxiety for me means I should keep moving and on schedule. After breakfast (and a Superman comic) at Broken Yolk I checked out of the hotel, had them hold my bags and then took the ferry to Coronado. After wandering around in circles for a while I found a bike hire and followed the 1hr leisure loop suggested by the guy at the desk … until I passed the unmarked turnoff and rode halfway to Mexico. Thank God Australians are good at Olympic cycling because I think I broke a third or two on the way back trying to make the ferry. I made it though, with enough time to buy some more gifts like socks with cats on them and a cute Coronado T-shirt (cause she keeps running out of those things and wearing mine).
With only a couple of hours left I hung out at Seaport Village, bought myself a less sweaty and more touristy shirt, ate a final taco and went back to pick up my bags and Uber to the airport. Got her in plenty of time with a feeling of incredible joy to be traveling home.
I can’t wait to get back even jet lagged and straight to work. Oh well it was pretty great all anxiety considered.
Stay classy San Diego!
A couple great things I’ve learnt from TLCC that really helped me out.
Before going – do your research
There are questions you are going to want to solve. Have a list.
- Some will require testing with the Devs.
- Some will be pestering the Vendors/Sponsors.
- Some will require bugging Tessitura Staff
Stalk people (responsibly)
Remember that list? Look up the people who likely have the same issue and meet up with them. In my case it’s about emailing and finding a time to catch up or say “hi” at an event. It’s less creepy than it sounds. We are there to network and solve problems after all.
Best things to have when I need a hand from someone …
- A value add. Sometimes a collaboration is enough. Sometimes you can intro someone to someone else. It’s always good to be able to exchange help though and mutually grow from the experience.
- A two way conversation. Listen and learn as well as talking about your own issue. Listening is a great way of solving your problem and follow up with an open ended question to dig deeper.
- Keep it short. We all have many things to see and do. When you have an ask try to not monopolise someones time and catch up for more later. You will bump into the same people about 100 times over the week.
- Speaking on bumping into people – I’ll often find myself introducing people to other people that have like interests. Two people are a conversation. Three people are a network.
- More business cards. I ran out on the first day when chatting to people about my presentation. They are great to have and a good way to keep the conversation going.
- Follow up. A thanks is always nice and also you can expand your network with Linkedin invites or whatever works for you.
- Thanks cost nothing. If your moved or excited about something a quick thanks can really make everyones day.
The thing with Tessitura is that people are incredibly keen to share. It’s a great community. Keeping these things in mind really help with my anxiety and occasional bouts of impostor syndrome.
So this is my first work conference overseas for Sydney dance company and I’m in San Diego California. We got in a day early and spent some time seeing the sites, mostly the San Diego Museum of Art and the Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. The Globe is a Tessitura Network member so I’m going to call that work, tax deductible work.
First day of the conference is today. Lots to take in. Also lots of faking it. Not the skills. I have some of those and am happy to ask for help where I need it. Mainly the social aspect. My anxiety has been swinging wildly in and out. When it’s in it’s hard to focus on tasks or make decisions and the world feels like there is an ugly after taste that I can’t quite work out. When it’s not there I can get a little over the top like I’ve finished a gruelling test. Modulation is tricky.
People in SD are very nice. I’ve heard that tourists say that a lot about wherever they visit. Drowning in a foreign culture can leave you appreciative of the smallest things and less likely to be demanding. But regardless people here have been great.
I’ve reached out too a couple of people to talk about things I need help with or to give a hand in return. I’m going to see how that goes. Anyway of to see how it goes. Wish me luck.
I recently listened to a wonderful Ted talk by Adam Grant on Givers, Takers and Matchers and how people described by this metric fare in the workplace and how successful they and their businesses are. Yes it’s a metric, and yes that’s something to do with why I like what at first look reads like self-help/HR fuzz, ie: it’s well thought out and supported in evidence, rather than just being opinion masquerading as metaphor used literally.
Givers are the kinds of people who pitch in to help with others work, are generous with advice and open to sharing. Takers are the kinds who are self first and will collaborate only if it benefits their advancement. Matchers are the majority who will tailor their behaviour to the situation, balance their behaviour to the situation and/or share conservatively with their resources.
Intriguingly the statistics point out that the way to increase the success in your team is not to hire more givers but to weed out the takers. A single giver in a team will inspire collaboration in matchers. Conversely a single taker will create an environment of distrust and reluctance to share. Sharing in a taker environment leads to a feeling of idea theft and burnout for givers who end up doing the work of others rather than their own making them unproductive. It’s in these environments that givers rate as the most unproductive members of a team.
What was especially interesting was adding the agreeableness metric. I won’t regurgitate what Adam says much better than I can. However in listening to this really gave me cause to rethink my many work places that I’ve worked in over the years and how I and my teams have functioned.
I truly believe that it’s the responsibility of management to manage the dynamic of their team to achieve results. It’s also true that often middle management is promoted without any supportive training. I do find it difficult to support the opting out that management does with regards to team dynamics. My thought is that it is created by
- Senior management regarding managing as either a reactive task or a logistical one
- Middle management not having the opportunity to prioritise team dynamics and falling back on solo projects and reactive leadership
Of course I’ve encountered many managers over the years who were very team orientated and it’s been a dream for similar reasons. I also think this applies to corporate, amateur and government organisations alike.
Anyway Adam Grant’s lectures are short fun and evocative and well worth a listen. Enjoy!
I was chatting with a pal yesterday about the relevance of performing arts in the contemporary landscape and so when I came to work today with a little extra time to spare I started researching. Firstly I was thinking about my 9-5 job at one of the biggest not-for-profit theatre organisations in the world, but as I went along I realised that a lot if not all of the digital practices used globally by arts organisations are applicable to individual artists and small performing arts collectives.
I’ll start first my linking Aaron Bisman’s (Director, Audience Development for Jazz at Lincoln Center) talk about digital engagement and what it’s worth to us. The goal here is connecting with your audience, engaging with them and of course converting them to your product (buying stuff essentially). Some of the key take homes is to be platform agnostic – don’t just instagram or facebook but go out to all platforms appropriately and allow people to share and trend your work.
Where I started with my research was Kevin Giglinto (Vice President for Strategy and Special Initiatives, Chicago Symphony Orchestra) on leveraging New Media. What the really means is how the CSO used live streaming to engage with audiences. The message here is clear again – be platform agnostic. You only help yourself be shared.
The good thing about all of this is not only that your work gets out there to be consumed and talked about but you are also allowing people to be swayed by your work and convert. That means more bookings for you and it can come in many forms. For a jobbing actor that can be anything from more ticket sales to your gig or bookings by producers to do their gigs. The former is better for your soul and the latter is better for your bank account.
I’ll finish with a quote from Aaron Bisman
“Your content should be niche, Your community should be inclusive”