Lara Schaeffer

Autistic Insights Series

Apr 17, 2024

Lara Schaeffer began the Autistic Insights series in early 2024 through her profile on LinkedIn. She has been an active advocate and supporter of autistic individuals through this account since July 2022, and has gained nearly 12K followers since that time.

Lara intends the Autistic Insights series to highlight one aspect of autism at a time, and aims for a non-autistic audience to be among her readers. In this way, she hopes to educate them about lesser-known aspects of autism, foster empathy, compassion, and understanding for autistic people, and continue to work to de-stigmatize autism in general.



If you have an autistic employee or co-worker, or anyone close to you in your life is autistic, it's important to be aware of something that commonly affects many of us: autistic inertia. 

While some people are comfortable with interruptions at work, others, whether neurodivergent or not, simply prefer to focus without being disrupted.

But for an autistic person, interruptions while in high productivity mode can be especially jarring and invasive.

I usually explain autistic inertia by referring to starting a large, lead ball rolling…it can take some effort, but, once rolling, that ball moves forcefully (and, speaking of a real person, moves with clear drive and mission). 

A sudden, unanticipated interruption to forward progress easily throws it off course or may stop it entirely…and then starting again requires the summoning of another great effort.

After diving into a project or starting an intensive task, many autistic individuals like to work without interruptions to fully embrace the productivity that focused concentration brings. 

Speaking for myself, I can get a bit bothered when interrupted during deep thinking or brainstorming.

Even a friendly greeting or casual remark can throw me off, making it feel like I need to catch up. In tougher situations, the process of getting back on track can snowball, leading me to lose more time being frustrated about the effort needed to resume.

When allowed to work on my own, I am not only less stressed but also a more productive and valuable worker.

Autistic inertia is not a flaw; rather, it’s just sometimes part of being autistic. 

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