Autism, Another Operating System

Every now and then I give a presentation or lecture on "Autism from a Different Perspectiveā€¯ that discusses how people with Asperger or PPD (NOS) usually think and learn, about the communication styles they use and how we can best deal with this in the workplace. Before I actually start with this, I take the participants for a company outing to Japan and I ask them to prepare this as well as possible. The answers to the question, "How do we make this company successful?" I then write it down on a flipchart or whiteboard. Invariably, "Delving into their culture and their communication" has been cited as very important, if not crucial, contributions.

Hmmm ... apparently we find it useful to take into account that people from Japan have a hard time with the word "No" and that it is insulting when we carelessly tuck their business cards away in our jacket pocket.

Isn't this effort also essential for our people with autism who also have their specific styles and follow autism-related culture rules? Are there differences in principle?

Let me now focus on my IT savvy reader. Which is the better operating system, Windows, Linux or OSX? Well, you can't answer that 1-2-3 because one of the first questions should be, "What should it be for?".

When I want to run my web server in a cluster in a data center, it is not my first thought, use OSX or even Windows for this, in practice it appears that Linux functions well as a platform in this environment. To compensate, if my mom wants to play her bridge game on the computer then chances are Windows or OSX supports it, Linux won't be the platform of choice.

Obviously, it is not my intention to start fierce discussions with these statements, that will be clear.

What I'm saying here is one operating system better than another? Yes, but this depends on the context and what this operating system should do.

You already feel it, are people with autism also not a different Operating System? We usually judge people based on their user-friendliness, their flexibility and versatility, their friendly interface. Yeah, let me just say it, Windows, right? But when we have tough jobs that require special talents, then just another Operating System, one that may not be able to chat with you at the coffee machine, but can explain to you in detail what the String theory entails. However?