Saturday, November 2, 2013
"So you mean you're an engineer?"
The MoUsY spell-checker writes "So you mean you're an engineer?" on tumblr.
As an electrical engineering graduate who works on the railway and is known in the office for IT skills, perhaps it is a bit ironic that I participate in Autistics Speaking Day. If my job isn’t stereotypical, I don’t know what is.
This one response I got when I tried to explain what it means to be autistic says it all:
Way to be dismissive. That’s like saying “but you don’t look sick”.
In the context of the original conversation, I was trying to explain what it means to be autistic, and received such a response when I mentioned communication difficulties.
Yes, poor communication is a common problem amongst engineers, and there are probably quite a lot of engineers who are on the autism spectrum. Perhaps the stereotype allows me to “pass” as allistic because my communication difficulties are then excused as being typical for an engineer. (The concept of “passing” is a complicated issue in itself.) It still doesn’t make it right to conflate my neurology with my occupation.