For most of my life airports have befuddled me. It didn’t so much matter earlier in my life because the only time I used an airport was to go to visit my parents in another state. Back then, before we had the heightened security of today, people were allowed to meet passengers as they stepped off the plane which allowed me to simply follow them through the airport without needing to concern myself with the confusion all around me.
THE HIDDEN CURRICULUM BEYOND THE JOB MATCH
The job match is considered crucial for successful employment of anybody, but especially so for adults with social-cognitive challenges, including those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), who tend to thrive in jobs whose requirements match their personal strengths and preferences (Schutte, 2009).
There is a saying, “love makes the world go round,” but for real it is NOT love. Instead, it is the hidden curriculum that makes the world go round! Hidden curriculum is all that social information that most people know even though they were never actually taught it. An example is the rule “don’t pick your nose” with the hidden curriculum being it is perfectly fine to pick your nose as long as nobody sees you doing it. Many people with autism have difficulty with hidden curriculum. Their brains are not wired to allow them to automatically pick up this untaught, unspoken social information. This has all sorts of consequences from embarrassing to serious (job loss). I had to intentionally learn lots of hidden curriculum before I could feel a part of the world going round.
Over the course of my life I have seen many kinds of crossing signs. When I go to a college campus I drive past a wildlife sanctuary where a duck crossing sign is posted. Each spring mama ducks line up near their sign and lead their babies across the road while the cars waited. There were lots of ducks and some days the wait for motorists can be up to ten minutes.
I was taught to treat other people the way I want to be treated. This works out great when I am with autistic friends because we share an autistic neurology. It does not always work out well when I am with everyone else who populates this world from a neuro-majority place of being. Therefore, the onus has been on me to figure this out for myself. It has taken many decades, but I have finally worked it out in a way that allows me to live more comfortably in a world largely populated by folks who do not share my neurology.