Thursday, December 22, 2011

Attempting to Self-Advocate

I’ve contacted a disability rights group with the following message:

“I have Asperger's Sydrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have worked the same job for 10 years and new management is taking away the things that allow me to be productive and not excessively stressed. For example, I have always had my own office with a door I can close. The combination of that and foam earplugs allow me to block out noise. The closed door also blocks distractions from my field of vision. My office is being taken away and the compromises offered have not been given. I was offered a headset that was to block out sound, but one that blocks out none was purchased. I have repeatedly expressed my need to stay where I am and am told that I have no choice in the matter. As part of the "transistion" my manager has insisted I start leaving my office door open, which led to a meltdown due to the endless noise. The only things they have followed through with is to get me a chair that is more supportive and to put in a handicap parking sign. Human Resources at my company is supporting the manager.

My manager has also made jokes about Asperger's Syndrome, including pretending to lunge at me because of my personal space issues and to laugh at my sensitivity to light. He has also told me more than once regarding the stress that the noise and chaos of being out of my office causes me that I will "get used to it." I attempted to explain that Autism isn't something you can get used to, but he does not listen. I have never had to worry about seeking advocacy or requesting accommodations before, as every previous manager has worked with me.”

The headset I was promised is not at all what I was told to expect. It only covers one ear and, even wearing a foam earplug in the uncovered ear, blocks out NO noise. I was told to keep my office door open starting this past Monday and it was excruciating. I had a massive meltdown by 1:00 PM the first day. What’s even worse is that the loudest of our employees is on vacation this week. I don’t know what I’ll do when he gets back. I absolutely cannot work like this. It’s not like I’m even asking for new accommodations. I’m simply asking them not to take away the ones I’ve had for ten years!

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