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  • Autism, ENGs and sponsor companies.

    First things first, I'm a user here - but wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

    I suffer from a form of Autism called "Aspergers syndrome". It means that, whilst I show some of the traits of an aspie (organisational skills, timekeeping, semi-photographic memory, reasonably high IQ, controlled OCD, and *cough* mild *cough* social awkwardness), I can still function as part of everyday society. This, in its self at least, isn't the problem.

    I had an interview with a sponsor company at some point in the last 5 months for a deck cadetship. For some unknown reason I managed to pass aforementioned interview, and was offered a place with the company - which I have since accepted. Again, this isn't the problem. The problem is an answer I gave to a particular question at the interview. When asked "Do you have any medical conditions/issues?", I answered "No". This is where the problem lies.
    My sponsor doesn't know I'm an aspie, and after doing some research on here (see this thread : http://www.officercadet.com/showthre...ger-s-Syndrome ) It turns out that lieing to my sponsor company wasn't the brightest idea I've had. In fact, It's probably one of the dumbest.

    I have passed my ENG1 (I DID declare that I was autistic, the doctor simply looked up, smiled politely and continued working through the paperwork) - which is good news.

    However, I think it might be a good idea to go back to my sponsor and mention that I'm autistic - Although I'm unsure as to A. whether doing so is a good idea (being that I've already signed the training contract) and B. The best way to go about informing my sponsor company.

    Also - just for the record - I'm not one of those aspies who sits in a corner, obsessed with trains or dinosaurs and refusing to talk to people... I'm obsessed with ships, not trains. Trains don't float. I also function normally in society (well, reasonably normally - I don't use the word "innit" in every other sentence).

    Thanks in advance, and apologises for the hugely long winded post.
    ~Nobody you know.

    TL;DR - Have Aspergers, didn't mention it at interview - got place. Mentioned it ENG1 - passed it. Wondering whether to tell sponsor or not.

  • #2
    I think that due to passing the ENG1 (and disclosure during it) means hopefully from a medical point of view that you will be able to function as an officer, the things that would trouble me would be the lack of disclosure to the company, if I was working onboard or ashore I would have picked up on it just by reading your post (notes on what you want to say in you post left in place and not removed upon posting) also if you have any issues at sea then the company have a duty of care towards you, if they are not fully aware it may mean things get overlooked if you need assistance.

    Your call at the end of the day but just bear in mind this is not an office job and at times it can be stressful, boring, dangerous and hazardous and IMHO you may not know how you individually react to these situations
    Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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    • #3
      As Chris has said, by passing the ENG 1 the Dr. believes you are fit for sea service.

      Obviously you are only mildly autistic - however, I would say that any obsessive, or behavioral issues at sea could be difficult to deal with and you cannot realistically expect much support with your condition.

      If you go back and tell your sponsor that you are actually autistic and did not inform them at the interview stage then they may rescind your offer.

      Honestly it is very difficult to say - lots of people are probably autistic but don't even realize it - if you are not on any meds and you really do function perfectly normally then you will probably be fine, just remember that this is not really about 'pulling the wool' over the eyes of your employer, but what is far more important is that you are not going to run into any issues while working on a ship, far from home, with no medical or counseling support. This is not really a job that is terribly compatible with problems like that.

      Only you know the answer - you obviously feel that you should tell them, otherwise you would not have asked on the forum, perhaps you should speak about this with your GP and be clear what the responsibilities are in your planned career?
      Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

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      • #4
        As a follow up take a look at this:

        http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/2012_summa...tary_final.pdf

        The only case of aspergers that appeared resulted in a restricted medical being issued, so it's rather surprising you have received a totally unrestricted 2 year medical.

        http://www.pml-logistics.co.uk/files...quirements.pdf

        The additional guidance says that:

        Disorders of psychological development
        Autism and Asperger’s syndrome impair interpersonal interactions.
        As these are critical to work at sea individual assessment is needed
        but the more severe forms of these conditions are incompatible with
        fitness for seafaring.

        So again, perhaps either your Doctor felt you were not really suffering with Aspergers or there was some misunderstanding?
        Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nobody you know. View Post
          I also function normally in society
          Well you're doing better than most around here....
          I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

          All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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          • #6
            ^^^ Ha!

            To boldly go.....
            Forum Administrator
            OfficerCadet.com

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            • #7
              @Guinessman - At least half the engineers I have worked with could be diagnosed as mildly aspergic based on their social skills alone.
              Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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              • #8
                I'm not an expert or anything but just my thoughts on it all.

                I am assuming you have been properly diagnosed? Or is it just a label someone has given you. If that's the case then I wouldn't worry.

                Aspergers varies hugely as you know, I have worked with quite a few people at school with it. I have friends who have children on various ends of the spectrum. Its difficult to judge where someone is 'normal' and someone crosses the border, it seems even the professionals don't always agree.

                Some I know it is quite obvious that if they were pursuing this career, would not even manage the application forms, let alone an interview.
                Exams prove a problem for many, timekeeping being one so they often have someone like me as a prompt to help them. Have you ever needed any assistance at school like that?

                Only you can really know if you can manage or not really, have you ever been away from home for an extended period in a frequently changing environment and did you cope with that well. Or if not would it cause you a problem? Applications and an interview obviously didn't.
                Woule sharing a cabin with someone for a few months be a cause for concern?

                I would imagine there are a great number of people out there with this 'disorder' who have no idea they have it and their families and friends don't either. They are most often the bright, quiet ones, and have been perfectly successful. There are many people out there that have obsessions it doesn't mean they have Aspergers.

                I wonder how many have started on this career not knowing they have Aspergers and have then given up as they can't manage it, thinking its not for them I would expect there have been a few. I would also expect there are a few out there that have never had a problem too and have been good officers.

                Apparently 1-100 people are likely (many are undiagnosed) to be on the Autistic, Asperger spectrum, that is a significant number of people.

                Society in many ways is very quick to label, and sometimes the label given is incorrect, as the MCA guidance also says some people could not manage a sea career it does not say all. Perhaps the one HolyNougat pointed out on the stats was someone who was effected to that extent.
                Last edited by Midge; 15 April 2014, 11:43 AM. Reason: stats addition

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with the advice above, if the medical went fine and the interview was all successful then really its up to you to decide if you can handle a life at sea. Remember that in a few years time you will be an officer, dealing with people of all different types and having to manage them an understand them. Some people will be very difficult, others will be very easy but you need to be able to handle them and defuse situations, rather then compound a problem.
                  I think if you are self aware enough to be on here posting about this, you will probably get on just fine.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thankyou for the honest responses everyone!

                    I have been clinically diagnosed with autism, however, it happened when I was 6. Obviously, I've changed alot since then. The condition and any of it's side effects aren't medicated. I don't receive any support for my aspergers in college - although I do have extra time in exams as, for some reason, I've been given a scribe. I have no idea why, and neither does my college - we've tried to get it removed, but the exam board flew into a tizz. Rest assured though, I don't make any use of either.

                    Personally I think I've outgrown my diagnosis, in that I don't really suffer from any of the major autistic "traits" any more - I highly doubt someone who suffered from the same diagnosis as me would be able to go into an interview, pass it, then handle the rest of the process (medical etc) themselves.

                    Perhaps the one thing that I *might* suffer from is that I can be blunt at times - but I guess that's more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Would you rather have someone tell you "we've got water coming in, fore peak tank" or "Sir, erm, err... I think we might possibly, maybe, slightly, rapidly be starting to ship water in the erm err erm"?

                    After reading through the advise you've given me, I think I will not disclose the diagnosis to the company. If they saw fit to offer me a position post-interview, then the interviewer must have thought there were no issues/problems.

                    Thankyou again,
                    ~Nobody you know.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Being blunt with people as a cadet will likely get you in the *hit, so watch that one...
                      Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chris View Post
                        @Guinessman - At least half the engineers I have worked with could be diagnosed as mildly aspergic based on their social skills alone.
                        *grumble grumble* sod off...*grumble*

                        Originally posted by HolyNougat View Post
                        Being blunt with people as a cadet will likely get you in the *hit, so watch that one...
                        Oh aye, but I think being a bit blunt with anyone is not likely to ever go down well.

                        I'm having to try and watch what I say nowadays as people get upset...
                        I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                        All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There's a difference between blunt and rude... On a ship short and factual is much better than flowery and nervous!

                          Size4riggerboots

                          Moderator
                          Blog tWitterings Flickr Tumblr Faceache

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by size4riggerboots View Post
                            There's a difference between blunt and rude... On a ship short and factual is much better than flowery and nervous!
                            It depends on the situation being a bit short during an emergency or a navigation can be a good thing but if you end up as a mate or captain managing people and dealing with appraisals and personal issues its not so good.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                              *grumble grumble* sod off...*grumble*



                              Oh aye, but I think being a bit blunt with anyone is not likely to ever go down well.

                              I'm having to try and watch what I say nowadays as people get upset...
                              Using Exclamation marks instead of periods in your emails is my subtle way - all non native english speakers think I'm being so polite, all the native ones detect my severe sarcasm
                              ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

                              ? Mark Twain
                              myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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