Asperger Ascent

Tips for Young Adults

Navigating that first ‘real’ job

Getting that first “real” job can be a bear these days for young adults fresh out of college. The competition is fierce as the economy thrashes through the dregs of the recent recession and trudges through a largely jobless recovery. Use your college’s career and alumni offices, your network of friends and associates, social media sites like LinkedIn, and every resource you can think of to land in a full-time permanent job or an internship that can lead to that job. Once you get it, here are a few tips for success beyond the usual of being well groomed, professionally dressed and on time.
Stay in learning mode.

Not only do you need to learn the business of the business that you’ve landed in, you need to learn the culture, too. What you say and do at work is at least as important as what you don’t say and do. Steer clear of office politics. Keep your political and social views to yourself until you learn whom it is safe to share those with. Look for ways to distinguish yourself and your work in a positive way. Employers want to know early on that they’ve made a great hire because that person brings value to the organization.
If you want it to count, count it.

In other words, keep track personally of the things that you do. If you have a winning idea that the boss puts into force, keep tabs of that. Recalling the contributions you make through the year can be helpful when you update your resume or when you sit down with a supervisor to discuss your performance.

If you’re not the owner of the company, you’re a temp.

Meaning you work at your employer’s discretion. You are there to give your best. Whenever appropriate, put your ideas in writing. But if your employer chooses to ignore your suggestions, don’t take it personally. It is not your company.  Of course, if what you are dealing with is a personnel, safety, ethics or legal issue, you should not let those go unaddressed. Pursue them through the proper channels.
 Balance is key.

While work is important, you also benefit from having outside interests — your social life, your spiritual life, your community life and exercise. Young worker can sometimes tend toward the extremes — especially those fresh out of college without the responsibility of a life partner or a child. They channel all that youthful energy into long hours of work in an effort to get ahead in their careers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Or, young workers sometimes go to the other extreme. They are so eager to have it all that they insist on working flexible hours or working from home — even when their employers frown on such practices. The key is to figure out what works best for you and the company. That way, you avoid misunderstandings.


May 14, 2011 Posted by | Asperger's, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Justin, Zev finish CBS’ Amazing Race

Zev and Justin

It’s no longer “Unfinished Business” for one of the most engaging race teams in the history of the show. Undone by the samba and bikinis, Zev Glassenberg made TV history as the first contestant with Asperger Syndrome to take on the always grueling yet fantastically adventurous race around the world. The team challenge is replete with trials, chores, roadblocks and puzzles that test the mettle of the mightiest and bring some of the smartest to tears. Yet friends Justin Kanew and Zev cheerfully stuck out each leg of the race determined to make good on a second chance to win a million dollars — and avoid the mistakes of last season that torpedoed their earlier efforts. Zev deserves special recognition for shining a positive light on Asperger’s and helping the world grow in its understanding of it..

May 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Series casts more doubt on autism-vaccine link

Dr. Fiona Lee

The debate over the safety of the MMR vaccine won’t likely be quieted by this latest news. The British medical journal BMJ today is calling  the 1998 Lancet paper that implied a link between the MMR vaccine and autism “an elaborate fraud.”  The mumps, measles and rubella vaccine has long been suspected by some to play a role in the childhood development of autism. But BMJ editor-in-chief Dr. Fiona Godlee says the “scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud” and that such “clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare.” Last year, Lancet retracted the study linking MMR to autism, citing  faulty scientific research by Andrew Wakefield. BMJ is publishing a three-part investigative series this week to get to the heart of the scare.

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning to face up to the clowns and phobias of life

I learned a new word today: coulrophobia. The abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns, according to Wikipedia. This particularly phobia was the subject of a segment by Mo Rocca on CBS’ popular Sunday Morning show with Charles Osgood. But it made me think about all the other fears – rational or not – that we encounter in life. For young adults, the fear of not making one’s mark on the world ranks right up there. The fear of not finding the right mate, the right career, the right spiritual and social connections are all part of that larger fear. Psychologists say that underlying the fear of clowns is concern about what lies beyond the painted face.  There are many unknowns as we enter new interpersonal relationships, new jobs and new social environs. If we let our phobias rule, paralysis can set in. But if we are willing to take a risk and put ourselves out there, we might find a great adventure beyond the painted surface.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mind your emotions when taking the wheel

Before you get behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to know that you’re up to the task. Headlines abound of drivers distracted by other passengers, cellphones, texting, and even shaving.  Even a dog in the car can be a major distraction. But your mental state can affect your driving skills, too. I couldn’t find hard numbers, but AAA says driving while mad or upset is a factor in many accidents. Wait until you calm down before buckling that seat belt. The life you save might just be your own. Remember: Driving really is a privilege, not a right.

August 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

College help abounds for students with disabilities

Thinking about signing up for courses at your local community college or pursuing a degree at a four-year university? If you have a learning disability, opportunities abound to get help before classes start and even once they’ve begun. Institutions of higher education are reaching out to students with disabilities like never before. And those students are benefiting from an array of colleges offering specialized support programs geared to their special needs. USA TODAY writes about Maryland’s Project Access Summer Institute, a program for high school students with learning disabilities at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md. But there are programs across the country.

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Deciphering Aspergers for the classroom

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barnes & Noble, Borders, Chegg rev up book rentals

 Barnes & Noble is expanding its college textbook rental program. It joined and other in renting books online last January. What’s cool about B&N is that you can also rent books from a slew of campus bookstores that it operates. Books rent for at least half off the purchase price. And rental books can be returned either online or in stores within 10 days of your last final exams. B&N won’t say exactly how many colleges and universities are offering the rental program, but hundreds of school are participating, the company says.  Borders has a similar rental program,  offering 1.4 million textbooks for sale online, including used textbooks for up to 90% off. Why rent? It might not be for everyone but increasingly, that’s the option of choice for college students trying to whittle down the nearly $667 a year they each have to ante up for required course materials, according to an estimate from the National Association of College Stores.  Cengage Learning and Follett also offer textbook rentals.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Anniversary of disability law is a call to work harder

This week (July 26) marks an auspicious occasion: The 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. While it’s a moment for reflection on the changes the law has wrought, it’s also an opportunity for supporters to push harder for greater inclusion in the workforce of people with disabilities. The numbers have barely budged since this historic legislation was passed two decades ago, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the

DOL's Martinez is blind.

Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability. There’s a huge disparity between working-age people with disabilities who say they are employed (21%) vs. the 59% of people without disabilities who are working.

   People with disabilities are part of the fabric of American society, notes Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy for the U.S. Department of Labor. In a recent blog post, she urges “friends and colleagues (to)  look for ways to support the younger people with disabilities who are beginning their adult and work lives. Young folks – seek out mentors and role models in the multiple communities of which you’re a part, because disability is not our only source of identity.”

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Airports are flush with doggie toilets

When a dog has to go, it has to go. But until recently, there were few “pet relief areas” at the nation’s major airports for service dogs traveling with fliers with disabilities. That’s changing big time, according to USA TODAY. Add Baltimore, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C.,  Dallas, Chicago and Phoenix to the growing list of airports providing doggie bathrooms for four-legged fliers. The Department of Transportation began requiring airports to offer pet relief areas as part of changes made to the Air Carrier Access Act, which spells out travel rights for people with disabilities.

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment