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Many of my clients are reluctant to disclose at all and some disclose indiscriminately to anyone, including customers. There are so many views on the subject, so I’m going to say it depends.
Sometimes our clients are looking for jobs with a job coach, so the disclosure is part of the process.
When working with individuals who are high-functioning, we need to think of abilities and how they might contribute.
Too often an adult sees the problem (broken pencil) and jumps in to solve the problem (magically a new pencil appears for the kid) so the child is never engaged in self-advocacy.
Lisa Audet: I think the most important message is one of “inclusion.” That is, when working with individuals who are high-functioning, we need to think of abilities and how they might contribute.
I have learned that many of our degree-seeking students are so done with being considered disabled when they come to college that they reject assistance.
I also talk to the kids about the fact that others are earning social currency from them, too. This helps them figure out who can and can’t be trusted.
The person who tells them to do things that leads to trouble is not earning—but losing—social currency from the person with ASD.
I’ve used the token from an Othello game, which are black-and-white tokens.They still don’t have to disclose the disability, but answer the question asked.Once hired, they can disclose if it seems relevant, and they certainly can work with HR around any discriminatory actions.I think that when we do this kind of theory-of-mind/empathy work, we are engaging the child and we are assisting the child in forming relationships.Another example would be a little child with ASD who needs to learn to advocate for him/herself (I am talking about verbal kids today who are higher-functioning). We need to engage that child in figuring out who to ask for help and how to solve the problem for himself.