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Woman seeks advice on how to deal with autistic coworker who is triggered by her breakfast shake

Woman seeks advice on how to deal with autistic coworker who is triggered by her breakfast shake

A Reddit user recently found herself between a rock and a hard place when an autistic co-worker raised an objection to her daily breakfast shake.

Years of raising awareness about the severe lack of inclusivity in the workplace, public spaces, and almost every aspect of life has only just recently come to see positive results on a wide scale. Now, corporations are more tuned in to the voices of disabled communities to try and understand the challenges they face in everyday life and come up with adequate solutions. However, it isn't yet time to pat ourselves on the back and call it a day as we've only just scratched the surface on the matter. This is still a subject that requires constant learning and attention as we try to navigate the intricacies of being inclusive to all those around us.

A Reddit user recently found herself between a rock and a hard place when an autistic co-worker raised an objection to her daily breakfast shake. Sharing her conundrum on the r/AmItheAsshole community, the 28-year-old wrote: "I have been working for the same company for just over two years now and I really like my job and all of my workmates. I have this habit where I drink a breakfast shake every morning. It contains one banana, 100 grams of strawberries, peanut butter, almond milk, and two scoops of protein powder. I keep it in a shaker that can be closed and sip on it throughout the morning."

Image Source: Getty Images (representative)

"All was fine until a few weeks ago when a relatively new co-worker asked me to please not bring the shake in anymore. I asked why and he said something about textures. I was a bit confused and told him that it's in my shaker and he doesn't have to worry about it leaking or anything," the Redditor explained. "He told me no, he's autistic, and the texture of my shake is one of his triggers. I said alright and started keeping the shaker in my bag and would only take it out when I had a sip whereas I used to just have it on my desk before."

"I thought that was good enough because then if said co-worker walks into my part of the office he wouldn't have to look at it," she wrote. However, this seemingly perfect plan of hers did not work for long. "Well, the inevitable happened and he walked in right as I was having a sip," she revealed. "Shocked, he asked why I was still bringing the shake. I apologized for having it outright as he was walking in and explained that I usually keep it in my bag now to accommodate him. He told me that this wasn't good enough and just knowing that the shake was on the same floor could trigger him." 

"I told him that I was sorry but I wouldn't change my dietary routine to this extent just because of him. I'm willing to keep it in my bag but that's as far as I will go. He said that I should be more inclusive and if I won't change my behavior he might have to get HR involved," the Redditor recounted. She explained that while she believes she has done enough to accommodate her co-worker's aversion to her breakfast shake, a little voice in her head had her doubting herself. Other Redditors, however, assured her that she wasn't in the wrong.

Image Source: Reddit/SpyglassHunter
Image Source: Reddit/Ask_Aspie_
Image Source: Reddit/missplaced24

"As an autistic person myself, [you are not the a**hole.] In fact, I've never seen a sensory aversion THIS extreme and I've worked with lots of other autistic people. You're already doing more than required by keeping the shake in your bag. If his sensory problems are this severe, he's obviously not ready to be in the workplace and needs to pursue some sensory therapy," wrote u/PigDoctor. u/EarthlyAntics chimed in, writing: "This is exactly what I wanted to say. Also as an autistic person, I have some extreme sensory aversions that cannot be avoided just by simply going out in public. He needs to understand that you are doing your best to accommodate him (which is very sweet of you btw), and he has to come up with his own coping mechanisms. It's unrealistic to expect the world to bend to you 24/7, despite needing some accommodations."

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