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So I've found that my Asperger's can be somewhat of a defining part of my interactions at work- whether people recognise it or not. I have many problems interacting that anyone with a basic knowledge of it will recognise. My current supervisor recognised it because he has it himself. But I'm not sure whether I should tell employers about it once I'm already working for them, or if so, how and when I should. I'm concerned they'll view me negatively if I do (experience has shown people lump me into a generic "retarded" group), but on the other hand, if they don't realise, I just come across as rude, forgetful and even incompetent.

I'm a programmer, so technically I'm perfectly good at my job, I just have trouble with social interactions.

Does anybody have any advice on this, or links?


Edit/note: This question was flagged as a suplicate, but the supposed duplicate is about the interviewing process. This question is about when you got the job and work there.

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    Hello, it looks like your post is a duplicate. If that's not the case, please consider an edit to clarify your post in the body, making it clear what's not addressed in the linked duplicate. Also, since we're not a forum for advice, you'll want to edit the post body to make it clear what your exact question is. This helps our community rank the best answers by voting on material that all focuses on the same problem. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Aug 2 '14 at 2:10
  • Have you experienced any differences when you work with people when they know about your Aspergers compared to those who don't? – user8365 Aug 2 '14 at 16:18
  • How long ago were you diagnosed? Has your doctor recommended any exercises or techniques to help you cope in social situations so that this wouldn't be a problem? – user9158 Aug 4 '14 at 1:38
  • I was diagnosed at 5. Haven't had any contact with a doctor since then. As for differences, it's difficult to know, since the only person who knows also has it. I don't have any experience with telling people who don't know anything about it. – PointlessSpike Aug 4 '14 at 7:50
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The answer to this question will vary depending on where on the spectrum you are and I am answering based on my experiences with my brother and a friend (who both have Aspergers).

The fact that you are a programmer may work slightly in your favour as in many places there is a stereotype for people in that line of work to be socially awkard. There is also growing awareness of aspergers and the behaviors associated with it in many countries so it may be that it is not just your supervisor who has suspected it. (If this causes anyone to judge you negatively it is their problem, not yours.)

In terms of negating perceptions that you are being rude there are a few approaches you can take. The most obvious being that if someone says that they are offended you can hopefully explain that it was not your intention. If you are not sure if something you have said has offended someone (I know it can be hard to tell sometimes) then you can always say "sorry if that sounded rude" or "maybe I didn't word that as well as I could have", just in case.

In terms of being forgetful I am not sure what you feel you could have done to give this impression but it could be a good idea to keep a logbook of your work and what is requested of you and also to keep any emails that may be relevant at a later date. If it's for less work related things like people's names or other personal information then there are techniques that you can learn to help with these sorts of things.

Edit: there have been some questions on this topic before which may help you. Link

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In some countries (like the UK, which is where I am) an employer must make reasonable adaptations to your working environment where necessary to account for disabilities - where the notion of a disability can be self-defined. I don't know whether you'd consider Asperger's to specifically be a disability (not being familiar with it myself) but it would seem to be constructive to treat it as one for these purposes. Of course, they can only be expected to do this if they know about it.

What reasonable adaptations would be appropriate for you would be best defined by collaboration between you and your employer. Perhaps (I am clutching at straws here because I don't really grasp personally what life is like for people with Aspergers') policies concerning internal office communications that state generally-useful principles (like keeping the use of idioms or sarcasm to a minimum) that would be especially helpful for you, would be a practical step to take. Adherence to the policies should be monitored by somebody in the management chain and friendly reminders issued where necessary.

You can be pro-active about this if your workplace runs something like a PDP (Personal Development Plan). An example would be for you to review recent situations that you specifically found challenging (or conversely, ones that you thought went well) with your line manager and where possible, agreeing a strategy for you to use in similar situations. Again, this can only happen effectively if your line manager knows you're managing a specific condition of yours.

It is also worth noting that in most developed countries, treating someone disadvantageously because of a disability is illegal. If you feel you've been treated unfairly, it would be easier to distinguish whether or not this was intentional discrimination if it's unambiguous to everyone that your Aspergers' is a known quantity.

So to answer the question - I think the benefits of telling your employer greatly outweigh the disadvantages, unless there is something specific you're worried about.

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    In my case, it's not always obvious though. It's only mild (although someone familiar with it will still see it a mile away) so while I don't fit in, I can more or less function socially. I suppose the question for me is whether I want to be treated like a guy with a disability (which I don't) or as someone that's slightly awkward. – PointlessSpike Aug 2 '14 at 11:30

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