submitted posts from the Employment forum
published with permission of the authors
Bill in SF: Dreaded Dress Codes
A person with Asperger's and prosopagnosia (inability to recognise faces) talks about how dressing requirements affect his life.
by Michelle, Bill in SF, Joe, and Martijn
Topics discussed in the Employment forum include holding jobs, handling colleagues (crosslink with the Social forum), and UNemployment (social security, etc.) also has its place here.
One thing that needs to be addressed is problems with "dress codes". For those of us with facial recognition problems (prosopagnosia), this problem is especially acute.
A big issue is the nasty N word, networking. People who get the jobs are usually those who 'come across well' (confident, attractive, intelligent, etc.) throuhgout the many interviews. Sometimes talent isn't enough; some people are unable and/or unwilling to play the interview game. The reality is that interviews don't speak to everyone's talents. There are many instances of discrimination where highly talented people are tossed out of the work and treated as social outcasts. Education of the public at large is the key.
This leads to at least two issues:
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Bill, age 49, in San Francisco, has central auditory processing disorder (distorted hearing) and prosopagnosia (difficulty recognizing faces), plus a smattering of other minor neurological quirks that don't really affect his life much....
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Copyright © 1996 by Bill Choisser. Unauthorised distribution or reproduction forbidden.
One things that needs to be addressed in the Employment forum is problems with "dress codes." This is a problem for many Asperger people who are disturbed by constantly changing their appearance when to reduce stress they need constancy. From what I've read, most of these people have to adopt a casual appearance because it is what most universally "works."
For those of us with facial recognition problems (prosopagnosia), the problem is even more acute. If we have to go to work where all the people are made to dress alike and have similar hairstyles, we go through work all day not knowing for sure who anybody is. It is like the stress of someone playing "guess who" on the phone, but it goes on all day. And because we have a heightened identity with clothes and hair styles, it is even more traumatic for us to modify our own appearance, than it is for people who are just looking for constancy.
From what I understand, people with tactile defensiveness also have requirements to wear certain fabrics, and they usually tend to be those in the "casual" direction.
I have had e-mail conversations with parents of AS kids who had to pull their kids out of a school that required the kids to wear uniforms and enroll them elsewhere. Their child was already suffering from a great social handicap in not being able to tell the other kids apart. The uniforms made it unsurmountable.
In the US and perhaps in other countries, they have laws mandating that employers make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities. The criteria for deciding reasonableness is whether it can be done without undue cost. I can't see how allowing an employee to wear the clothing he requires would not meet that requirement. As a person who has a high IQ and would like to get a very technical position, and also a person who has clothing and hairstyle requirements in the very casual direction, I would appreciate any help others could bring to your new employment forum in that direction.
(I still have to consider what their rules do to the appearance of everybody else. If they all look too much alike, it is so freaky that it literally drives me nuts. I know I can't tell other people what they should wear, but when the employer (or school, in the case of kids) intimidates everyone else into looking alike, that very much affects ME. I wish they would just pass a law that it would be illegal to tell anyone else what he should look like. Then people would all look different from each other like they do at the shopping mall. It would make the world SO MUCH easier for me....)