Autistic in NYC

Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.

Autistic Workers Project

One of the types of groups the autistic community needs, in my opinion, is career-oriented groups of autistic workers (or groups of neurodivergent workers more generally) in particular categories of professions / occupations / jobs (or who aspire to same).

Some of the career-oriented groups we need

Below are some possible examples, most of which do not exist yet. The groups that do exist are mostly in the U.K. Hopefully there will soon be more groups of this kind here in the U.S.A. as well, both on a national level and on a local/regional level, e.g. here in the NYC metro area.

Some of the career-oriented groups we need are:

Why we need them

The existence of some of these proposed groups, once they get big enough, would make it easier for autistic-friendly workplaces to recruit autistic workers, and would thereby also make it easier for the groups' members to find work in autistic-friendly workplaces. The groups could even facilitate the creation of some autistic-friendly workplaces in the first place. (See the Wrong Planet threads Autistic-friendly workplaces and Employer that only employs neurodivergents?.)

The proposed groups could also function as a support network for those members who have, or are seeking, jobs in traditional NT-dominated workplaces as well. In some cases (e.g. the group for civil service workers), the groups could collaborate with any disability-related advocacy services offered by relevant labor unions, and/or could perhaps aid labor unions in the creation of said services.

Other disability communities are similarly organized by professional / occupational category. For example, here in the U.S.A., the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has lots of Divisions, Committees, and Groups, many of which are occupation-based.

Unlike the NFB, however, I don't think occupation-based groups for autistic people should all be part of one big organization. Instead they should be part of a looser network. While some of us can do a reasonably good job of leading small groups, I doubt that very many of even the best leaders among us can cope well with the politics of a large organization. The loose-network-of-smaller-groups approach has worked well for at least some other kinds of minority communities, such as the LGBT community.

How allistics (non-autistics) can help

Ideally, each occupation-based group could also have a "Friends and Family Auxiliary," or an "Allistic Auxiliary," or something similar, enabling some (mostly NT) parents, spouses/partners, etc., to help out with fund-raising, business networking, and other aspects of running the group that may be especially difficult for the autistic peer leaders.

As I envision them, both the occupation-based autistic worker groups themselves and their friends-and-family auxiliaries would exist primarily online (as forums and chats) with occasional local in-person events. Online chats could include both text-based chats and video/audio chats, to accommodate the differing communication needs of different work-capable autistic people.

My own plans

To help all these groups get started, I plan to (1) introduce people in the same or closely-related professions to each other, as I happen to get to know them, e.g. via the support groups I attend, and (2) eventually help create (perhaps together with some other members of Autistic Techies of the NYC Area), an online platform that will facilitate the creation of these various groups.

Preliminary networking on Twitter

It will be a while before the above-mentioned online platform can be created. In the meantime, for informal non-local contacts, here are some relevant Twitter hashtags:

Let me know if you find any other, similar Twitter hashtags.

Other helpful groups/networks

And here are some groups that aren't professional associations or other career-oriented groups, but do look like they could be helpful toward the eventual creation of some kinds of career-oriented groups:

How you can help create an NYC-based group

If you are interested in being introduced to autistic people in the NYC area who work, or want to work, in a particular professional / occupational category, with the eventual aim of being one of the founding members of a career-oriented group (or an auxiliary thereof), feel free to contact me.

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  1. "Autistic-like" is not a clinically-defined term. Anyone who feels that they face the same problems as autistic people can identify as "Autistic-like," similar to the term "cousin" as used by the first autistic adult organization, the Autism Network International. (See Autism Network International -- The Development of a Community and Its Culture by Jim Sinclair, 2005. See also Reviving the concept of cousins by Mel Baggs, 2016.)

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