Managing the autistic kid


stockxpertcom_id13281961_size0Being a manager is like being a parent to an autistic kid. I know this because I am a manager and I also have an autistic twelve year old kid. My autistic son needs a clear set of rules that is handled firmly. He needs to know up front what we are going to do this day. He needs to know how we are going to do stuff, where and when. He hates sudden changes, and unclear messages. If I am going to change a plan at home I need to warn him. He can do a lot of tasks, but to get it done correctly he need reminders or he will wander off and start do all the things he is not supposed to. He just won’t do more than exactly what he is told, and he does not know the concept of time.

But you did say so…
My son takes all I say literally. For instance I once told him to lay low, because he was just about to get in trouble, after a while I asked him why he had been laying on the floor for so long. You told me to lay low!? A clear non confusing message is important both for him and for the people you are leading.


I like to have fun with this comparison, both being a parent and a manager can be a challenge from time to time. I do believe that thanks to him I am a better manager. My patience is much better; I know the importance of rules and clear messages. I know how people by basic instinct react to changes. I am just glad my department doesn’t get temper tantrums when things don’t go as planned.


But in the more serious corner.
There is a lesson to learn from him. Let them know what, where, when, how and why and you are on a great path to becoming a good manager.


Happy birthday.
Today is his twelfth birthday and we are celebrating today at the pizza place. Happy birthday Alex!

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2 Comments on "Managing the autistic kid"

  1. Frode Heimen | October 9, 2008 at 6:08 pm |

    Hi Barry.
    Thanks a lot for reading my blog.

    You are right. This post is most for fun. But there are a lot of similarities. The one thing that differs is that I do not need to follow up on everything at work, and my employees remember the routines from day to day ? Btw: Like your blog. Keep on reading.

  2. Barry Wooderson | October 9, 2008 at 8:30 am |

    I agree, up to a point. When you need to give direction it has to be very clear and understandable, but you don’t need to do this all the time.

    Sometimes you have to let your team find their own solutions and if you are telling them exactly what to do all the time then they won’t be able to grow themselves.

    Happy Birthday Alex!

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