Do you want to be an Aspie Trainer?
Do you want to have your voice heard in a meaningful way?
Due to increasing demand, we are looking to expand our bank of Aspie Trainers. We are looking for passionate, enthusiastic, #actuallyautistic people whom are keen to share their experiences in order to raise awareness and improve services for autistic people. This supported role is a great platform for autistic self-advocates to have their say, and is not reliant on previous public-speaking experience. For more information see the Job Description and Person Specification.
What has been my experience of working as an Aspie Trainer?
I've been working with Aspie Trainers for four years. In 2013, I took part in a quality check for the mental health services offered to autistic adults. Whilst conducting interviews with mental health professionals, many said they would like to hear what it was like to live with an autistic spectrum condition from #actuallyautistic people, so Lesley and I sought out funding to start this project.
The early days were a massive learning curve for me. I hadn't done any public speaking since university and we were essentially starting with a blank slate. Prior to my first training session I spent hours preparing for it; pacing up and down in my back garden whist generating ideas, then losing track of time as I committed them to slides. It would be fair to say that work was my special interest at the time; I could think of little else, which wasn't always great for my mental health, but Lesley always made sure I took time owing when I needed to. Then gradually with experience came confidence, as well as the ability to recognise when I needed to take a step back and relax/pursue other interests.
Looking back, I'd say one of the main benefits of being an Aspie Trainer is that it's allowed me to find my voice in a world of neurotypicals, whilst making a contribution to society because of my differences. I feel less angry and exhausted when I get home because I'm not expected to be "normal" and I don't have to expend so much effort on masking strategies. I can say without doubt that this is the first job I've had where I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not. If I'm feeling stressed by something, or confused about a task I've been set, then Lesley or James are always there: to offer me solace, advice, or just listen.
It can be quite tricky to bridge the gap between neurotypical and autistic minds; that's arguably the biggest challenge I face as a trainer. I've learnt to design my sessions with this question in mind: what is it that the clients want to know? Once I've established the answer to this question it's easier to deliver training which benefits the clients, rather than allowing myself a platform from which to espouse my views on the world unchecked.
What I enjoy most about my work is that it allows me to be creative, whether that means writing a blog post, editing the website, designing hand-outs, or developing new sessions for our clients. It also makes me feel good knowing that our clients are better able to help autistic people as a result of our efforts. The staff at Impact are really friendly and engaging, and I feel grateful that I've been given a chance to demonstrate my skills.
How to apply.
If you're interested in applying to become an Aspie Trainer, then please complete this application form, before e-mailing it back to us (the address is on the form). For more information about the role on offer please get in touch via our contact page. The closing date for applications is 30th April 2018.