Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Something I've been thinking about today

Yesterday, a couple of students in my tutorial group disclosed to me that they have Asperger's Syndrome. It got me thinking about whether someone with Asperger's could make a good health professional. The ability to take the other person's perspective, and empathise with another's situation, is often not great among this population. I've noticed that one of these students can become quite argumentative when I've challenged or questioned them about a point they've made. I thought at the time that teamwork might be a bit of an issue for this person in the future.

I suppose the answer to my question is that it depends. On the person, where they end up working (some OT jobs are quite structured, a person with AS could probably cope in that kind of setting), on how flexible they can be and whether they can learn to cope with change.

I'm still not sure though. I think they could get through the OT course. They might even make it through a job interview. But I think they might struggle in an actual workplace. One of the things I love about OT is that every day is different. There might be some people with AS who would find that very difficult to deal with.


One for a wish.. said...

In dealing with clients I would think there is a lot of things "unsaid" that a health practioner needs to pick up on....would this be more difficult for a person with Asbergers? I'm guessing yes??

simone r said...

I've been thinking about this since you posted it. Still thinking. Do you have any more thoughts?

Karen said...

I'm still of them (the argumentative one) flunked the assignment pretty badly. But oddly enough, I think he's the one who would function better in a work setting. He always has something to say, perhaps too much to say, but if I tell him he needs to be quiet and let other people have a turn to speak, he doesn't get offended (and he seems to get that I'm being good humoured when I ask him to shut up for a while). Everyone else in the class is busy rolling their eyes whenever he opens his mouth, but I think it's in a good-natured way. There are plenty of people like that who work in the public health system so I think he'd be okay :)

The other one passed the assignment but the more I think about her and get to know what she's like (she's doing the unit for a second time), I'm thinking I wouldn't want to come across her as a work colleague. She's too unreliable.

So I guess it's not a matter of diagnosis, but about what they're like as individuals. Because ASD has such a wide spectrum of functioning, no two are going to be the same. It comes down to what qualities and skills they possess apart from their diagnostic label. Which is very OT-ish I suppose....