To the editor: This letter is in response to an article in the Dec. 10 Berkshire Eagle spotlighting how The Brien Center is short-staffed, with lowest-triage patients needing to wait up to six months for an appointment.

I am an adult who is technically on the autism spectrum, though I choose to identify as neurodivergent or “differently-brained.” While people on the autism spectrum are said to lack empathy and/or social skills, I would say quite the opposite for myself. As a result, I am one of the only certified life coaches who is on the autism spectrum and my ability to really listen and empathize is what helps me be really effective at what I do.

I also have special needs, including a tendency to get overstimulated (which many on the autism spectrum have) and that can limit my ability to find a well-fitting job. However, I’ve learned that many employers are not at all equipped to hiring those on the spectrum and I have faced way too many rejections. I was disappointed by that result when I decided to reach out to the Brien Center to see if they would take me on as a coach.

Life coaching is a process that helps clients find their own solutions to whatever issue they are facing, different from psychotherapy but a powerful process nonetheless. Coaching and therapy can work very well when done hand-in-hand. I was really excited about the idea to help Brien’s lowest-triage patients — the ones who have to wait six months. I was excited about making a difference in people’s lives doing something that comes naturally to me. Most of all I was excited about the opportunity to have employment I would do really well at, something I have not had as an adult.

Why was I rejected? Because they don’t hire coaches, only people with certain qualifications. Considering how short-staffed they claim to be, it’s clearly not enough of an issue or they would have wanted to learn more and possibly bend. I’ve read stories of others who also were rejected by businesses claiming to be short-staffed. I think we should maybe reconsider the question of businesses being short-staffed; perhaps there is just a lack of “perfect candidates” available and the business itself doesn’t want to change? I hope this letter can help remedy that.

David Grossman-Ponemon, Pittsfield