ASD: (Adult) Autism Support (Service) Dilemma

  • Adult support services need give and take. Wanting help is understandable but raising a voice is necessary.
  • Is it easier to let somebody tell you what they would like at their own leisure? Rather than try to bring a group of people together?
  • Should concentrating on yourself be more important? Focusing on work that pays money and gives opportunities?

This blog piece is an update and a rethink. Having shared an introduction to Awetistic as an approach that could hopefully provide a way of helping jobseekers with autism in South Staffordshire to find work, while showing employers how the Rain Man effect shouldn’t reflect every jobseeker with autism they meet, I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile. Wondering if there’s a reason adult support services for people with autism are apparently hard to find.

“We need to do more!” “A lack of support when they need it most.” “Why isn’t there anything like this already?” Tweets relating to adult autism support and thoughts heard while marketing a focus group for jobseekers to launch Awetistic that took place on Monday 1st June 2015 make me think change should come. The result I’ve found, however, may confirm why it’s so hard to find.

Awetistic. A labour of love I'll take nothing from. All about giving if it's wanted.

Awetistic. A labour of love that could take nothing and give a lot.

Coming to the focus group may have been tricky. Getting to a set place on a set date at a set time always could be. I appreciate that.

Having help from volunteers who like Awetistic’s vision was kind. Knowing local businesses offered their services for free in supporting a charitable idea is humbling. Having one jobseeker arrive though after a big effort in promoting the group, both online and on foot in walking around with flyers, was hurtful.

Putting together an online questionnaire to establish a need for Awetistic may be a better approach. Thoughts shared in the group were that meeting a lot of new people can be daunting and that being anonymous in giving feedback could be more comfortable. Producing a video introduction before meeting a jobseeker face-to-face could be relaxing.

A questionnaire is worth trying. It can be free to make and free to send out. Making a video myself or making one professionally could cost money, resources and time. It could make no difference.

Devoting time to public speaking and writing, however, brings a difference I can see. I’ll be presenting my experiences of special educational needs to delegates on a training day at the University of Derby, with support from The National Autistic Society, on Wednesday 3rd June 2015. I may also get to deliver a presentation in a virtual venue too (think Minecraft) if promising talks progress.

All while I continue to look for an opportunity to build a career in PR through a permanent job or freelancing.

Helping is something I love doing. Being helped by others has enabled me to talk about Awetistic to employers, including one who would like to offer a volunteering opportunity, and people with autism in employment who would like to support the idea of helping jobseekers too. Only meeting one jobseeker so far though creates doubt about the future of a giving project that will take my personal time and resources.

This blog piece is a list of questions. Do you think a questionnaire would help? If a lot of time is spent on putting together a business plan, a funding bid and an application to become a charity (complete with a search for trustees from South Staffordshire with an interest in autism), do you think it would be worthwhile?

Is there a point in offering a support service so few people want?

Awetistic is still an idea. It hasn’t taken up too much money and too much time. There’s still a chance to leave it alone and lose nothing. As speaking opportunities are coming along, I’m currently in a better position than I’ve been in for a while.

Please help me. Please share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter if you find me through social media or at the bottom of this piece if you find me here.

I’m writing this on Tuesday 2nd June 2015. Feelings may be raw. There’s time to chat.