Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 2 - Page 56

gether. These people became so focused on why you didn’t tell them instead of what you did tell them or what it means now. When to Disclose to a College or Employer The decision to disclose to a possible employer or a university you want to attend is much different than disclosing to a friend. While every decision is personal, here are some tips to keep in mind: • If you need accommodations at a college or university, you need to ask for them, which will require disclosing your diagnosis. The sooner this is set in motion (right after acceptance), the better. This means opening a dialog with the appropriate office on campus, usually called Disability Support Services (DSS). (Note: If you are asking for SAT testing accommodations, you will need to apply to the College Board for them ahead of time. Talk to your school counselor about the process.) • Employers are forbidden by the ADA from asking about disabilities at an interview. You can disclose a disability to an employer at any time in the hiring or post-hiring process. If you need accommodations, it is wise to disclose by the time you accept an offer of employment. While you may wait until after you start a job to disclose a disability and though asking for a reasonable accommodation on the first day or later is within your rights, this will not foster a positive relationship between you and your employer. The above tips were adapted from the Pathfinders for Autism website. 56 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses When in a friendship with someone on the spectrum, I think knowing helps color in the picture of why someone may behave a certain way, or maybe you won’t be offended if a person with autism says something and doesn’t realize you’re upset. That kind of important information should be shared earlier rather than later. A Personal Choice I have found disclosing my diagnosis to potential and current friends to be a helpful, timesaving and honest practice. I have also perfected how I do it. Naturally, the way I disclose to friends may be different than how I would disclose to a partner or an employer. I tweak what and how I say to fit a situation best, if necessary. Disclosing an autism diagnosis is a personal choice, and whatever decision you make in regard to it is yours and yours alone and should be respected. “Once upon a time, the only people who knew of my autism were my family, my best friend, school administrators and teachers. Today, the people who know are all of you reading this.”