World Autism Acceptance Week blog

To mark World Autism Acceptance Week, Laura Whitehouse, Autism and Asperger’s Employment Advisor at our Cambridgeshire Employment service has written this blog to share her experiences of working with people on the autism spectrum.

Who am I?

In 2015-2016, I trained with Teach East to become a Primary School Teacher. I completed my training and got a job as a Classroom Teacher, teaching in Year 4 at the school I trained in. I left teaching in 2018 as I found that it was not the role for me. Having left the profession, I secured my current role working with autistic adults to find and stay in work. But my experience of working with children on the autism spectrum as a Teaching Assistant, Trainee Teacher and Class Teacher continues to help me in my current work.

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects about 1 in 100 people. It is a condition that affects the way in which people communicate and interact with the world around them. It is also a spectrum condition, which means that every individual is affected in a different way and have their own strengths and challenges. This definition has come from the National Autistic Society website, and this is a good place to start if you want to find out more at www.autism.org.uk. Also, local libraries have a good range of material on the subject including those written by people with autism.

My Experience and Top Tips

Working with and talking to people on the autism spectrum on daily basis allows me to learn something new every day. It has also highlighted the fact that each person is unique with their own strengths and challenges and so the best way of supporting them is by working in a person-centred way.

Now, I would like to share some of my top tips to supporting adults and children on the autism spectrum:

  • Increase your own knowledge of the condition and how it might affect an individual, this way you will have a better understanding of why they might be acting in a certain way.

  • Take time to get to know them, what are their interests, strengths and challenges, that way you can tailor support to suit their needs. The importance is that they are listened to and heard.

  • Routine is important to those on the spectrum as they know what is happening and it reduces anxiety. So, use of timetables written or visual can be beneficial.

  • Sudden changes can be difficult for some people on the autism spectrum. So, spending time preparing for it, explaining what the changes is and why it is happening can help manage the stress around it.

  • Avoid figurative and ambiguous language instead be clear in what you say and mean and check for understanding.

  • Be specific with expectations of work and behaviour.

  • If they have a sensory need or challenge, try to find ways to manage this. For example, if they are sensitive to noise then use noise cancelling headphones.

To find out more information about our Cambridgeshire Employment service, click here.

Being a Recovery Worker at Richmond Fellowship

Restrictions may have eased but the impact of the pandemic continues to bite, with recent figures showing that mental ill health has increased amongst adults and young people. We know that people will need support and services like ours ahead more than ever and we are proudly able to deliver that support and be part of the solution ahead to mental health.  

However, without our Recovery Workers, this support wouldn’t exist. They are our frontline staff, providing the direct support that makes recovery a reality for many people every year. We are proud of our recovery workers and the important work they put in to make recovery reality for the people we support. We want to send out a huge thank you to all our recovery workers for their dedication to continue delivering this needed support to people experiencing mental ill health.  

So, what is it like to be a recovery worker at Richmond Fellowship and what does the role actually involve? This week you’re going to be hearing from staff in a whole range of different services and models to support recovery. People we support will be sharing their stories and how the support they received from their Recovery Workers made a real difference in their lives. And this month’s Radio Sparky will be talking to staff at Holder House about their work, and what being a Recovery Worker with Richmond Fellowship has led to for them. 

You won’t want to miss out on the week, and we can’t wait to share some of the stories of our recovery workers. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and check out #RFRecoveryWorkers to stay up to date! 

Our recovery workers are inspiring individuals that make a real difference in people’s lives every day. Much of their work can be very challenging but equally rewarding. You could also be a part of our team of recovery workers across England. Why not see if there are vacancies in your area and start your journey with us as a recovery worker? See our vacancies here.