An Unwanted Hill to Climb: The Challenges Autistic Adults Face in Social and Occupational Settings

J. David Hall
7 min readAug 24, 2020

As the parent of three diagnosed autistic persons, and as the founder of Life Guides for Autistics | NeuroGuides, I’ve devoted untold numbers of hours to serving autistic persons and documented around three thousand hours of direct one-on-one coaching with autistic persons in service through our non-profit organization. In doing so, I’ve gathered a great deal of empirical evidence as to the challenges autistic adults face in social and occupational settings.

Autistic persons, who have been a vital part of our combined social history and civilization, have been subjected to unwarranted, unnecessary discriminations and lack of appropriate engagement from the majority of neuro-typical humanity.

Based on anecdotal evidence, the overarching challenges facing autistic adults in today’s culture are three-fold. They are an ongoing state of disconnection, lack of understanding between autistic and non-autistic persons, neurological processing differentiations, and the reality of sensory processing disorders, among other co-occurring conditions.

Among most autistic persons, there exists an overarching confusion about social conformity in all cultural constructs. In other words, neurodivergent or autistic persons, seem to operate in a state of disconnect from most social normalities in a majority neurotypical, or non-autistic culture.

This has nothing to do with any lack of empathy on behalf of autistic persons. I’ve witnessed the majority of autistic persons demonstrate a startling degree of empathic awareness, understanding while in the presence of other autistic individuals. However, it seems when autistic and non-autistic social interactions occur, the union produces and oil and water reaction. Bereft of any intentional outreach, the adaptation of understanding differing perspectives, autistic persons are left “in the cold.”

How impactful is this first condition in causing challenges for autistic persons trying to succeed in life socially, occupationally, relationally? Considering there are almost no aspects of human existence that are unaffected by human social constructs, interactions, the range of this conflict is unfathomed. It is one unhinging nearly every…

J. David Hall

Writer, speaker, maverick, neurodiversity ambassador, autist, social justice warrior, doctoral student at Seattle University, CEO at