'I'm Autistic': Worker Says They Had to Make Office Sign After Punishment

A workplace issue led one autistic employee to express their condition in a more straightforward manner that many on the spectrum found endearing.

TikTok user @aegoaegyo posted a video titled, "I made an autism sign at work because I got booked for (a) disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator." The eight-second clip has been viewed over 2 million times and is focused on a piece of paper hung up by the user, who identifies as a trans-masculine individual, in their workspace.

It reads: "I'm autistic. I prefer direct, literal and detailed communication. If I am not making eye contact; not greeting you back, not understanding your social cues, etc.—there is no malicious intent. It is the autism. Thank you for understanding."

@aegoaegyo

I made an autism sign at work bc i got booked for disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator.

♬ original sound - 🥞

Autism Speaks reported that genetics are involved in the majority of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cases, as children with older parents are at higher risk. However, firstborn children being on the spectrum does not mean a second child will also be affected, as the odds range between 2 and 18 percent.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2018 revealed that one in 44 children are diagnosed with ASD—most of whom are males, as boys are four times likelier than girls to be diagnosed. All ethnic and racial groups are affected.

Research published in the National Library of Medicine estimated that at least 20 percent of adults with autism are unemployed.

There are also gaps based on the condition: About 74 percent of people with intellectual disabilities, and 95 percent of people with other learning disabilities, worked for pay between the ages of 18 and 25. But only 58 percent of those diagnosed with ASD worked for pay in that same age range.

Autism
An autistic office employee who was reprimanded for a lack of communication put up a sign in their workspace to let colleagues know how the spectrum works. Many commenters were empathetic to the worker. iStock/Getty Images

Psychology Today inferred that unemployment rates for those with ASD may be linked to the beginning of job hunts.

"They may struggle during the interview process, which often relies on eye contact, a bold personality, and creating a bond with the hiring manager," they wrote. "Once in a new role, people with autism may be unable to navigate the social dynamics of a workplace—with regard to assignments, clients, or office politics—and eventually lose their job."

VeryWell Health cited a list of major companies that have made strides to hire autistic adults, including Microsoft, SAP, Freddie Mac, Ford, and Ernst and Young.

TikTok users commented on the cubicle sign from a place of empathy, understanding that certain actions—or a lack of actions in certain instances—can be perceived by colleagues or superiors as negative and impact job performance or viability.

"I've learned that when neurotypical people say they think I communicate poorly, they really mean that I'm just responding differently than they would," one user commented.

"I got called out for 'needing to have my hand held' when rly I just needed clear instructions/direct communication so I knew I was doing the job right," said another.

Perhaps it doesn't have to just do with ASD specifically.

"I don't understand why people choose anything except direct, literal and detailed communication though," one user pondered. "It's so much better that way."

Newsweek reached out to the TikToker @aegoaegyo for comment.