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For All Abilities

Jul 13, 2020

For All Abilities – The Podcast Episode Twenty Nine - Michael Newman - Moving from College to Employment with Autism and Bipolar Disorder.


In this episode, I interview Michael Newman - college student . On the last podcast, I interviewed Michael’s mom, Kristine. She and I discuss Michael’s early years, his strengths and his college experience. On this episode, Michael and I discuss his view of his early years and his plan for employment. We also discuss the accommodations that may help him when he gets a job. 

To connect with Michael, please email him at 


Go to our website for information on our software that enables employers to support their employees with ADHD, Dyslexia, Learning Differences and Autism.

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Full Transcription from






Betsy Furler  0:05  

Welcome to for all abilities, the podcast. This is your host, Betsy Furler. The aim of this podcast is to highlight the amazing things people with ADHD, dyslexia, learning differences and autism are doing to improve our world. Have a listen to for all abilities, the podcast, and please subscribe on whatever podcast app you're listening to us on. Hi, everybody. Welcome back to for all abilities, the podcast. Today we're talking with a special guest. We're talking with Michael and his mom. Christine was on the podcast last week talking about him and his brother. But I thought it would be really fun to talk to Michael himself and get his views on employment and school and his own neurodiversity. So Michael, welcome to for liabilities a podcast. Thank you for having me. Yes, thank you so much for being here and I would love for you just to introduce yourself really quickly to my listeners.


Michael Newman  1:13  

Okay. Um, my name is Michael Newman. I'm 23 years old, and I've been diagnosed with autistic tendencies and bipolar disorder.


My bipolar starts showing up around second grade.


My autistic tendencies didn't show up until much later than that. But due to the severity of bipolar I had I don't remember much from elementary school, there was a bunch of memory loss from that. So I'll just say what I can.


Betsy Furler  1:50  

Awesome. So and as you know, so to my listeners, Michael, this is a second time Michael has been nice enough to let me interview him because the first time I had some audio parts So we're having to do a repeat. And so Michael, I'm so glad you're willing to do this. So so you already know the question. So the first one is, what were you like as a little boy? So I know you had said that you had some memory loss and you don't remember a lot. But did you enjoy Elementary School in middle school?


Michael Newman  2:20  

Um, I enjoyed middle school, but elementary school not so much. The main problem that we had was that bipolar was running rampant while we're trying to find the right medication. Um, it made bipolar worse until we finally found out what I needed around fifth grade. I'm probably one of the sizings I remember that was actually very clear. For me remembering is my mom telling me that this was the happiest she'd ever seen me in the past couple of years. By polar There was major ups and downs there. I've ended up doing was called crash where if you don't know what that is, it's a it's an aftermath to bipolar. Where after an episode I get really tired. I can't think and I'm really depressed


hmm that made school very difficult.


Betsy Furler  3:24  

Yeah, I bet and you said you liked once you got your medication kind of straightened out that made school better, I'm sure made everything better made life better. When you were in middle school, did you have any hobbies or extracurricular activities that you did?


Michael Newman  3:41  

Well, the main thing that I enjoy doing is art. I've done pretty much every medium you could probably think of. But starting in middle school, I started doing other things sixth grade, I started doing songwriting. And then starting in eighth grade, I began to write stories.


Betsy Furler  4:02  

That's awesome. Yeah. So, um, a little bit later, we're going to kind of talk about your strengths around employment. So then, so then you went off to high school. And was high school similar to middle school, or Were there any differences? did things get better or worse?


Michael Newman  4:18  

Things got a lot better.


In high school, I'd say the issues stopped at school around eighth grade. I would have probably two episodes that were really bad at school until the fifth grade, but just for middle school, but things felt like as a lot more control afterwards. I didn't have any problems at school since then.


Betsy Furler  4:48  

That's awesome. And now you're, you're in college and you're going to be finishing up in about a year. Is that correct?


Michael Newman  4:54  

I'm going to be finishing at the end of this year.


Betsy Furler  4:57  

Oh, okay. So it's just one more semester.


Michael Newman  5:00  

After two more because I'm doing the summer semesters and have one more semester left.


Betsy Furler  5:06  

Okay. And then fall semester as well. Yes. Awesome. So and what is your major?


Michael Newman  5:14  

Um, general business? I've changed my name my major a couple of times. The first one I did graphics design for my major, which that only last fall semester because I was informed here needs Texas that job description is pretty hard to find. And then I changed it to general size and I'm doing general business.


Betsy Furler  5:42  

Yeah, I think that'll open up some more business opportunities, job opportunities for you. And what is your favorite thing about being in college Ben?


Michael Newman  5:52  

Um, well, they have. I don't live on campus but I drive up there. They have a game room actually. And my favorite thing to do the game are you playing playing ping pong with friends and actually taught other people how to play.


Betsy Furler  6:13  

Oh, that's amazing. That's, that's so much fun. And are you a video gamer as well?


Michael Newman  6:19  

Yes, I am. I've played a lot of your games, but that's not really the main thing I do much anymore.


Betsy Furler  6:27  

Oh, good. Yeah. And ping pong is a super active sport. It's like it's always amazing when I see people play ping pong, how much movement they do. Yeah, hand eye coordination and mood and physical movement


Michael Newman  6:39  

is a lot more than just involved back and forth.


Betsy Furler  6:44  

Yeah, yeah, strategy and everything else involved in that. And so as you get ready to graduate, I know you and your mom have been talking a lot about what kind of job you might want. So what have y'all been thinking about?


Michael Newman  7:01  

She thinks the best job with me would probably be a desk job routine as a big thing for me if like a sum, if I get a job description, but then things are just like I get a curveball with an assignment. Things change I start getting a little confused and worked up. I get a little stressed out.


Betsy Furler  7:28  

So you need as well as we're just kind of talking about jobs. We'll talk about the job accommodations too. So you need clear direction, right? Yes. Excuse me like so you like people to tell you like this is what I expect from you. And what about structure around schedule?


Michael Newman  7:49  

I'm really when it comes to schedule, I'm very flexible as if someone needs me to work someday I'll just go work there no questions asked.


Betsy Furler  8:00  

Okay, and and then I think we talked when we were talking before about one of the accommodations you might need is a little bit of flexibility on missing work occasionally, if you have a crash,


Michael Newman  8:13  

yes. And


Unknown Speaker  8:18  

oh, god,


Michael Newman  8:19  

oh, there was another accommodation that we had talked about. And that accommodation was when I get stressed out, I need like a moment to step back and just sort things out, kind of calm down, get things together, before you start working again.


Betsy Furler  8:42  

Yes, that's right. And I had said, I like 15 minutes and you said no more like five minutes, right?


Michael Newman  8:47  

So five tops.


Betsy Furler  8:49  

Yeah, not even a big deal. And what about I don't think I asked you before but what about what is your How do you like to learn new information? Do you like to read video To read watch a video here something, how to you are hands on learning? What do you think your best learning style is?


Michael Newman  9:10  

hands on learning would probably be the best.


Betsy Furler  9:13  

Okay, yeah, like going through so, yeah. So as we were, you know, on our last conversation we were talking about, you know, it's, you really don't need that many accommodations. And I think one of the things I was excited about having you on the podcast to talk about was the fact that someone could hire you, you would be a really loyal employee. And, and while you have a disability, you really need only about four things three or four accommodations that really aren't expensive or a big deal to implement because, you know, to have a little flexibility on if you need to come in late a day or so would you say a month or every couple of months when you have a crash


Michael Newman  9:58  

crushes really only have an episode whenever I get really stressed out, sometimes very, very rarely. I will miss miss medication, either at night or in the morning. And that can lead to some effects. But usually an episode doesn't happen often. Yes, probably a couple months.


Betsy Furler  10:27  

Yeah. So and then being able to take a moment away a couple of minutes, 235 minutes. And when you get overwhelmed, clear instruction, and and then maybe for your manager to know that when you're learning something new, you like to do hands on the walks instead of you know, giving it to you in written form, that having been able to walk through it is preferable to you, which that's not really even a common accommodation that's more like learning style and something that employers Do for everybody. So, um, yeah, I'm really excited. I can't wait to hear about what your job search looks like when you get there. And then you know what you what you end up doing because I think you could be you would be a really great employee for somebody. And really, they would really have to do very little for you. I really, I really wanted to point that out to people who are employers who are listening to my podcast, that there are so many times where you can get someone where they might be, you know, kind of, they don't know what to think or what to expect with someone who has artistic tendencies and bipolar. But once you get there on the workforce, you're kind of just like everybody else, you just need a couple of little couple of little things here and there that if your manager is aware of it doesn't even cost them any money or make any difference in your work. What you're doing Your productivity.


Michael Newman  12:03  

There's a one thing I didn't mention, though, when we start. And I think this would really help out my employers. Um, I've been told that this is very rare for people with bipolar. But I've been able to recognize what was going to lead to an episode like, I can recognize an episode before it happens. So people know, I'm going to have a problem. And this is what I need.


Betsy Furler  12:36  

That's Yeah, that's fantastic. That's definitely something you'll want to let your employers know that, you know, they you need, you basically need to be able to communicate with your managers. Yes. Yeah. Well, Michael, thank you again for being on the podcast. And I don't think the first time we recorded it, I asked you how people could connect with you did, I can't remember We've went through that. But if people want to, to email you, or I don't know if you're on LinkedIn or any social media, but is there any way that people could connect with you?


Michael Newman  13:11  

I'm really not on social media, but I'd be fine giving up my email address. Okay.


Unknown Speaker  13:19  

What's your email?


Michael Newman  13:21  

That'd be Michael Newman 199


Betsy Furler  13:27  

Awesome. And I will put that in the show notes. Because I know this is gonna be really helpful for other people out there who are both hiring people or other people that are looking for jobs or they're college students and families. So I thank you so much for doing this interview not once but twice.


Michael Newman  13:48  

I really appreciate it.


Betsy Furler  13:52  

And to my listeners, thank you so much for tuning in today. And please rate review and subscribe to my podcast. Cast on whatever podcast platform you're listening to, and tune in to the next episode. Thanks, Michael. And thank you. Thanks so much for listening to the for all abilities podcast. This is Betsy Furler, your host, and I really appreciate your time listening to the podcast. And please subscribe on any podcast app that you're listening to us on. If you'd like to know more about what we do in our software that helps employer support their employees with ADHD dyslexia, learning differences in autism, please go to www dot for all abilities calm. You can also follow us on Instagram. And you can follow me on LinkedIn at Betsy Furler. It's f isn't Frank. You are le AR Have a great day and we will see you soon.