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Phillip McKay

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When should you , if at all tell a work colleague, he an Aspie?

Excuse the grabbing questrion I dont mean to be so blunt. I have worked with a colleague for some seven years. I had always known him to act strangely (strange for me anyway) but always accepted and worked around his peculiarites. I need to add that i wish only to act in his best interests. I value him as a team member and would never look to lose him from the team. There has been an occassion where , I believe, he may have unwittingly put a client at risk because of his condition and his behaviour does at times come across as rude, though I'm sure this outcome is often not intended. I am reading Attwood to garner as much knowledge as i can and to seek ways of moving forward. But I am left with still the unenviable possibility of having to broach the subject with him,. He's 48, lives at home with parents and just recently told me he had never heard of the word Aspergers when it came up innocently during a conversation. I have read that a diagnosis should be sought only when the dysfunction may intolerably affect relationships and work security. I know he has lost sexual relationships because of his syndrome and I have this feeling that letting him know would benefit staff in supporting him and for him to be more open to such. I have a feeling it might free him from the disguise and the sometimes elaborate and tiresome intellectualising he engages in to be seen as typical. In an often social setting at work I see and feel some of his pain, anxiety and coping. I felt if it was out everyone would feel better and most importantly, that he would. Apparently some feel liberated but the odd few can react poorly and become depressed. Help!! Thoughts Advice please. Particularly if you're an Aspie.

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    Feb 27 2012: Thanks Allan and Robin and Daniel for your thoughts.
    I must get back to my original plea, that I truly respect the man in question. I consider him a friend as well as colleague and I am acting, I hope, with his best interests at heart. I wish for him well being as i do for most.
    I hear your words about being straightforward , sensitive and honest. I hear your criticisms re. judgement and labelling. And i hear the words about friendship. In the end i will decide my way forward from the perspective of a friend. I'm not so worried about being sued, only that i take the right approach to benefit him and the clients. I'm not particularly happy about broaching this subject online but i needed some guidance and further food for thought. I appreciate all your comments. I am particularly agreeable to the suggestion of providing supervision but the money is not there to provide this all of the time. It would be the best answer.

    With regard to the suing, I might also be sued for trying to save a drowning man or hugging a participant at graduation but I'll always take that risk if i think its the right thing to do. The alternative is that I might not take any responsibility at all. Let it go. Let someone higher up take responsibility. Simply address the various behaviours in performance review and if he doesnt meet them, then what?????????

    This issue is so hard for me not because he is a work colleague but because he is a friend. I need to take some action and i want to get it right.

    Thanks again and i really wish i could speak to an Aspie who has been in a similar position. Perhaps this is the advice that i would cherish most. I'm guessing none of you are? Do any of you have Aspie friends?
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      Feb 27 2012: Oh how many disasters have occurred from people 'acting with someone else's best interest at heart'. Remember that there is a considerable difference between intent and impact. Your intentions may be good. Your impact may be disastrous.

      It appears as if you are pretty determined to share your 'diagnosis' with your co worker (for his own benefit) and are looking for advice on how to best broach the topic. You are getting repeated warnings, 'don't'. But you seem pretty set on doing it anyway.

      I hope for your co worker's sake and your own that things do turn out well. I am not an Aspie (and your co worker may not be as well) but I'd be pretty pissed off with a co worker with no professional background in counseling or therapy that came up with a pretty serious psychological diagnosis - and potentially shared their 'diagnosis' with my co workers. Angry enough to get a lawyer and sue.

      You really are walking the road to hell with good intentions. But who knows - everyone may be wrong and your 'diagnosis' may change your co workers life for the better. I wouldn't bet on it, but stranger things have happened.

      Peace.

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