World Autism Awesomeness Day!

Yep. April 2nd. Let’s light it up ignorant and intolerant. The problem is that most autism non-profit organizations have boards and executive suites stacked with people that are not autistic and don’t see the world from an autistic perspective.  Persons with autism are nuisance and a problem to be solved. Autism Speaks PR campaigns like “I Am Autism” (trigger alert!) don’t help to make the world friendly for autistics.

The “1 in 68” statistic means that your odds of successing in life are stacked against you and the house 99% of the time wins. Talk about being the wrong kind of 1%. I have to fight constantly to earn what I have and keep it. It’s exhausting and last winter I almost gave up.

I can’t change people’s negative perceptions about myself or others with autism. For every negative message, I point out the things about my autism that make me awesome and deliver extra value to the people I work with. Let that other autism non-profit that equates us with a puzzle piece have their day. We’ve got our own like ASAN and Asperger Works that know that we’re awesome team contributors and we do awesome things. Today is World Autism Awesomeness Day. I’ll share how my autism helps me to make it rain awesome sauce!

  • I have freakish powers to visualize. If you’re familiar with Temple Grandin, she has this talent. She’s able to visualize in detail plans for a humane feedlot. Describe a technical problem and *boom* in seconds I can see the solution and break down the next steps we need to do.
  • I’m an obsessive, detailed planner. I’m uncomfortable with starting a project without understanding what’s ten steps ahead and what potential problems we may face. I won’t go on a hike unless I’ve studied the guide book and have everything I need in case poo hits the fan. It does irritate more impulsive colleagues. Thankfully Lean/Agile keeps me from overthinking things and keeps my brain entertained with dreaming up test plans.
  • Out of the box? Thats my wheelhouse! I’m that guy on the team that asks “why are we doing this? Is there a better way to do it? There’s new thing we should try …” My autistic brain is an unstoppable idea and innovation machine. As I type, I’m inventing something else my my head.
  • I’m know for deep, deep dive analysis. I obsessively and intensely research things I’m curious about. Which is why root cause analysis and solving performance problems is my best IT talent.
  • I have a freakish long-term memory. My short-term memory is unreliable but I can remember what SSL ciphers are PCI compliant. I’ve memorized terabytes of data and can recall obscure bits of information. My autistic brain is one big huge Big Data in-memory database cluster!
  • I do business with extreme levels of integrity. Dealing with grey areas is a bit tough for me. My autistic brain is a binary machine. I’d rather follow the golden rule than to feel conflicted which drives me nuts. I do what I say and delver when I can. Autistics hate being wrong or violating personal standards of ethics.