Working with people with AS and autism

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Laddo
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07 Jun 2013, 5:49 am

I've had a major revamp in my careers ambitions recently and I've decided I want to do something where I can help people. Helping people makes me feel good and I feel that it would be a massive boost to my confidence. Obviously a job where I can help other people with AS would be ideal. Maybe helping younger people with AS/autism using my experience of what life throws at us to help prepare them better. I think that I, being an Aspie myself, would be better qualified to give advice to fellow Aspies than an NT person. Does anyone know of any foundations in the UK that do this sort of stuff?


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Ellienad
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13 Jul 2013, 2:55 pm

hi,
i work as a support worker for young persons with autism (usually around the other end of the spectrum). i disclosed AS on my health declaration form, which i believe has been seen only by people at head office, but not verbally to any colleagues or local managers. working with autism can be very rewarding!
My theory is that just because a person is on the spectrum does not make them an expert, but it gives them a hell of a lot more insight than NTs.
However, the way that society is structured means that the very way these organisations are run is that they create two categories, one of which is 'persons with autism', the other of which is the 'ruling class of NTs', who, by their very nature, assume that those without autism are in a superior position and have a 'real' view of the world, which they attempt to impose upon those with autism, from the kindness of their hearts.
i think some of my colleagues suspect i have AS (they mention it frequently) and my opinions tend to get overlooked by these people as i am seen to be 'over-analysing' or 'not really grasping it'. they tend to struggle with the concept that i can communicate better than they can with non-verbal persons, yet remain completely blind to everyday body language.
i am brilliant at the parts of the job that involve rules, legislation, communication, philosophy, planning etc; i am good at the things that involve working with the young person with autism.
i am not very good at working with my colleagues. when i am working with a young person that requires 2:1 support, i struggle to read the cues from my colleagues and have no idea what their intentions are. this often leads to inconsistencies in our approach, which is obviously a very negative thing!
there is also a specific 'culture' of these sorts of jobs, especially in the UK. This involves a lot of bad practice and rule-breaking, which is quite distressing to observe.
generally, i tend to have better understanding of triggers etc in the environment because i experience things my colleagues don't.
The big thing to remember, though, is that just because something is bothering you, and something is bothering the person you're working with, does not necessarily mean that you are both experiencing the same thing.
Overall, i think that people on the spectrum are better equipped to work with other people on the spectrum than NTs are. It's a shame that society creates barriers here.
But you should totally do something like this. it's great!

If you want experience in that sort of thing first, i think Mind runs a volunteer mentor scheme that occasionally lets people with similar diagnoses be paired up. Something like that is probably your best bet. if not, email NAS.



diablo77
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26 Jul 2013, 3:04 pm

I work in direct support with people with developmental disabilities, including autism and AS. On a certain level I think it might actually be an advantage because I understand how an autistic brain works in a way no NT ever can, no matter how much they study it. But it has its own challenges too when you and the people you work with end up having the same challenges and no one to see you through them or explain or whatever. I just made my own post about that here actually.