I have been told by a colleague today that I am being unreasonable in suggesting that large open plan offices are not suitable for autistic people and should be reconsidered. Apparently wanting an office environment in which I can function in a vaguely efficient and effective manner is asking too much.
Not for the first time, people are keen to talk a good game on diversity but much less enthusiastic about backing those words up with actions.
Why do we insist on not listening to those with particular but in no way unreasonable needs? Is a working environment a bit less noisy than a major airport really so ridiculous to expect? You may be able to shut out noise around you but some of us cannot and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. But apparently open plan which is liked by very few people and the main positive of which seems to be that it looks nice architecturally is more important than autistic people actually being able to work there.
Some years ago I am sure that anyone who suggested that all public buildings should have ramps, lifts and wide doorways to accommodate wheelchair users would have been ridiculed. Thank goodness we have moved on from that. Yet the very same ignorant attitude continues in respect of other conditions, particularly those that are not visible. Why can we not ever learn from the past?
Autistic people are really not asking for much, just an environment that gives us a fair shot and enables us to do our best. But that is apparently still far too much to ask as far as some people are concerned. This is a total disgrace and has to change fast.
The battle is exhausting but those of us with a voice must keep speaking up or nothing will change. The fight that really should not be necessary goes on.