Autistic not Weird

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Autism Not Weird

Autistic not Weird. In this episode Judith Germain speaks to Chris Bonnello from Autistic Not Weird. They have an insightful discussion about how human progress relies on diversity of thought, and they gain perspectives on autism in the workplace.

Chris also details his journey from struggling to find employment to becoming a respected autism advocate, emphasising a shift from focusing on weaknesses to strengths.

Key Takeaways

  • Autism brings valuable strengths and perspectives, though society often only focuses on the challenges.
  • Accommodations should not be seen as an act of kindness, but a normal practice to help people perform at their best.
  • Disclosing autism strategically in interviews/applications can highlight strengths, if framed properly.
  • Progress comes from appreciating different perspectives and listening, not trying to make people conform.

Topics:

Introductions and Background

  • Chris is an autism advocate and former teacher who wants to change the narrative that autism is a bad thing.
  • He started the Autistic Not Weird platform to provide personal and professional autism perspectives.
  • The Facebook page has 176k followers and provides a sense of community.

Discussing Diversity of Thought

  • Diversity of thought allows looking at problems from different angles and finding more solutions.
  • Chris uses a Rubik’s cube analogy – more diverse thinkers equals more solution sets.
  • Progress comes from appreciating different perspectives, not forcing conformity.
  • Organisations can improve by allowing authentic expression, not insisting on the same methods.

Autism in the Workplace

  • Many see high-functioning autism as “inspirational” but dismiss others who struggle more.
  • Chris shared his journey from unemployment to successful advocacy, though his strengths/weaknesses stayed consistent.
  • Disclosing autism can be strategic if focused on strengths relevant to the role.
  • Reasonable adjustments help everyone, though people resist changes to “normality”.

Additional Perspectives

  • Society has progressed, but still often sees autistic people as either genius or pitiable.
  • Chris’ novels feature autistic heroes, but people assume it’s for charity, not profit.
  • Accommodations shouldn’t be “kindness” but standard practice to enable performance.

In this conversation they debated the need to shift perceptions of autism from a burden to a valuable form of diversity, considering the harms of portrayals that only depict inspiration or struggle.

Chris recounted overcoming obstacles to find fulfilling work in special education and advocacy, though public views still associate autism with charity cases over professional careers.

They agreed society should normalise accommodating differences rather than view it as a favour, and that diversity enriches organisations when people feel empowered to contribute uniquely.

Chris Bonnello is an autistic advocate, speaker, and former teacher, who discusses the priceless value of neurodiversity through his platform Autistic Not Weird.


Maverick leadership is all about thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo. It’s about having the courage to take risks and the confidence to lead in a way that is authentic and genuine.

But amplifying your influence as a leader isn’t just about having a strong vision or a big personality. It’s also about having the right leadership capability and being able to execute on your ideas and plans.

The consequences of not having the right level of influence as a leader can be significant. Without the ability to inspire and motivate others, you may struggle to achieve your goals and make a real impact.

How Influential Are you? Take the scorecard at amplifyyourinfluence.scoreapp.com and see. 

Chris Bonnello can be found on LinkedIn here. His website is here.

You can listen to Episode 402 on any of the popular podcast platforms or apps (including Spotify, and Audible). If you prefer to listen to your browser you can do that below. Enjoy!

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Editor
Maverick Paradox Media is for the pathologically curious who seek to learn from lateral thinkers, including how to execute maverick thinking. We provide a Maverick perspective on the world arounds us. 💢 I am the leading authority on 𝗠𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 and Founder of Maverick Paradox Media. It is because I am passionate about demonstrating that Maverick Leadership exists everywhere and understand that we can all learn from diverse and differing voices that I founded Maverick Paradox Media. Maverick Paradox reaches thousands of leaders and business owners, empowering and inspiring them to think differently, challenge often and increase their leadership capability. 💢 Maverick Paradox Media consists of: ✅ The Maverick Paradox Podcast (on all popular podcast platforms/apps – available episodes here: https://www.maverickparadox.co.uk/maverick-paradox-podcast-available-episodes/) ✅ The Maverick Paradox Magazine I also write for The Maverick Paradox Magazine and you can find those articles under my name Judith Germain.