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Friday, 28 March 2014

Employment Pilot Program

I will report what I have been doing with an employment pilot program since a few weeks ago, (as I have been busy with work etc.). As I have mentioned previously in my blog I have been running a social group for Aspie adults since late last year and decided that employment help for Aspies would be the first project that I would focus on advocating for in the local area. Garry, who has been my mentor for over 6 months, planned to come down to Orange for a week to assist in getting an employment pilot program for Aspies discussed with service providers and also to help strengthen the social group.

So a bit more information about how my personal experiences for gaining useful help in applying and getting an interview and also performing well in an interview. Currently I am with a mainstream employment service provider. When I first joined the provider I was happy with the level of support as I was provided training to build up my confidence being interviewed and the staff member helped me write my applications for jobs. She spent the time that was needed to make sure I had a reasonable chance in gaining employment. Unfortunately a few months after that the staff member was promoted to another position and over the past year I have had about 5 different people, all who said I was perfectly capable of doing all the applying myself with no help at all. I have recently wanted to join a Disability Employment Provider (DES) but need an official diagnoses (multiple psychologists have said that it is highly likely that I have it although nothing official yet) to give to Centrelink for them to transfer me to the service I need. The need for individualised service where the staff understood me and the services I need was affirmed when I went to the service provider I am currently with, in which she asked me how long I had Asperger's. It is ignorance like this that shows just how hard it is to get services that will help people with different abilities that are little known about still in society.

So this is why I am currently building up the group in Orange, Garry taught me a-lot about how to build up rapport with the others in the group and how to get them involved in the running of it and the associated projects. When he was down we also built up our professional networks and to invite professionals in Orange to work together in the process of creating a special program for people with Asperger's to help them gain employment and work with employers to help them identify appropriate roles, provide reasonable adjustments in the workplace to make it easier for the Aspies to feel comfortable in the environment (to ease sensory issues etc.) and to understand how Aspies like to learn and work so they can alter their management strategies to get the Aspie to work at their best potential. People we spoke to include the Cathie Mathews from the Health Department and who advises the education department also, Betty Ross from ICAN (http://www.autismcarers.org/) who is assisting us in many ways including planning education sessions for employers and DES providers, Chris Lear who is an officer in the National Disability Co-ordination Officer (NDCO) program. He was able to provide us with contact details of valuable services and was very helpful in providing other input regarding our employment program. More information about the NDCO program can be found here https://education.gov.au/national-disability-coordination-officer-program
Meeting with Kris Lear - Early march

The next step in achieving better results for Adults on the spectrum will be to grow the group, both in size and strength. I am currently organising to set up a stall in the main shopping centre in Orange and other events that will grow the size of the group. I am also organising to start an Aspie
Adult Social Group with the Bathurst Autism Support Group (that focuses on school aged children), Betty from ICAN and several members of the Orange group who will pitch in when they can.

As you can see I have been very busy, but with all this work comes rewards such as the Adults starting to achieve closer to their potential (including me) and the reduction of ignorance of Autism in the community, leading to better understanding and inclusion. If you have any stories of what helped you get your current job, and what services providers did that wasn't as helpful please reply to this post. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!


2 comments:

  1. Good luck with your project Ben

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  2. Thanks Stella, I will write an update on my blog when I progress.

    ReplyDelete