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Sheila autism v4

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There is this bias that autism looks a certain way. I can be an autistic person while looking just like you. I'm Sheila de Guzman, and I’m the community manager for the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network. I help facilitate a lot of introductions for either women entrepreneurs to another woman entrepreneur, or to a partner, a resource, or even to VCs and investors. Sheila's dynamic, enthusiastic, creative. Sheila is very compassionate and smart. She brings a lot to the table. Growing up undiagnosed, now that I look back on my experience and my childhood, there were definitely signs. I studied abroad in China, and I remember going to a rave party because that's what cool people did. I took two steps in and started crying and busted right back out. It was too much information; it was overwhelming. When I look back from high school to undergrad even to grad school, there were a lot of choices that I made that may have seemed antisocial, but really it was because I couldn't handle that. How I found out I had autism is honestly because of my partner's passion for music. We went to a lot of concerts. He is a musician himself and has a lot of band stuff, and so that lack of routine, all of the sensory information going on was driving me crazy. We went to therapy to discuss it, and that's when the therapist said, perhaps you should look into autism. And when we finally did the evaluation, all of a sudden, everything started to make sense. Those social interactions that I couldn't understand, it wasn't that I was dumb, it was that I'm hardwired to think of it a certain way. I was definitely scared and even had some therapists and mental health experts say, don't talk to anyone about it; keep it to yourself. For my boss and my team, I definitely did feel safe with them and sharing this. Thankfully I have a very patient and understanding boss. For someone who has autism, we rely a lot on observation. When we can't understand a tone, we look at your gesture, we look at your facial expression, which is a little difficult, because my boss works in Ireland, and so then you rely very heavily on clarification. When you're managing a team that everybody is different, and we all work to different ways. But it's always really helpful if your team is honest with you if there's any accommodations that they need. In Sheila's case, it's, you know, the way we work in a certain way that I know she may look at something in a different way that I look at it, because we're different, and we have different communication styles. I feel like we're a big team here at Dell, and everyone has something, whether you're dealing with a mental health issue or neurodiversity or stress or a family situation, and I think it's really important to know and support your colleagues as people, not just as a coworker. When she told me about what she's going through and the help she's seeking and the results that she's gotten, I could see her grow in that whole process. It just made me very proud of her. I've had a lot of people come to me and say, thank you so much, because they felt very alone. I want to be an example of someone who can work at Dell, who can work in tech and have a great fulfilling job and still be on the spectrum.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 51 seconds
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Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 9
Posted by: ralph_jung on Apr 4, 2018

Sheila autism v4

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