Autism Awareness Month – Lived Experience at Pure

Posted on the 21st April 2021

April is Autism Awareness Month and on radio, podcast and video, Pure clients have been sharing their lived experience.

Pure staff member Karl has also written a piece about what he has learned in his new role, job coaching young autistic people.

Now we are sharing these complementary viewpoints here. They give real insight into the challenges autism can present and the need for greater understanding by society

Autism and the Workplace

First up is this video of an online conversation between Pure’s Community Engagement Co-ordinator, Emily Smith and Tristan, who is autistic.

Tristan talks about his own late diagnosis and how support at his interview helped him secure his part-time job with progressive hospitality business, New World Trading.  Hear how Tristan has played his own part in spreading Autism Awareness at his work place.

One Voice on Autism Awareness

Clients on our One Voice Show radio team dicussed their own experiences in their weekly programme, broadcast on YourFM Stockport.

You can  listen in on their  discussion in the podcast right here.

Topics covered include popular misconceptions about autism. The old-fashioned view that autism only affects males was discussed – and dismissed! Common triggers for high anxiety were also shared by members of the team. These included being hurried along or made to feel inferior.

Perhaps the strongest message across all the things they discussed though, is the need for us all to be more empathetic and non-judgemental. Do listen to the podcast for more insights.

Supporting Someone With Autism

Karl works for Pure Innovations and is currently  job coaching a young person with autism working in a school. It was a big change from Karl’s earlier career with the Metropolitan Police and a sharp learning curve.

I admit I initially felt out of my depth. I was not quite prepared for the challenge. The young person was not meeting targets and no matter how I tried, things were not going well. I felt a failure.

At one point, I heard a conversation and thought the young person was on the phone. When I checked, they were having a two-way conversation with themselves and moving between two different positions.

The next day I was meeting a Pure manager for a socially distanced coffee. After one lap of the park, he had reframed my thought process, reminded me about echolalia - a need to repeat conversations - and also reminded me of the great company we work in, where everyone supports each other.

I decided to try different things.

First, I got the young person to use the phone to time themselves when cleaning the classroom. They started to beat the clock while still completing all tasks.

I changed the order that their jobs were done; starting with small rooms, building up to the bigger classrooms. Again, they succeded in beating the clock.

I then introduced a sheet with the word HURDLE and underneath, written in red, I CAN NOW MOVE ON. The young person would tear one of the strips off and put it in the bin after they'd overcome a particular hurdle.

Now we are making progress. In fact for the first time, after not completing the work routine, the young person said to me "I have let myself down, I will get better and I will get faster."
This, together with a more positive attitude, is progress.
I have a couple of mantras I use:
Every day is a school day, and How do you eat an Elephant?
Bit by bit, Karl Bit by bit!

Karl - Pure Innovations.

The right support is clearly all-important.

Our thanks to Karl, Tristan and The One Voice Show team for helping raise awareness of autism. Let’s spread the word!

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