With 4 years experience in working with adults with Asperger’s syndrome, I became immediately interested in Birmingham based Project Aspie. A volunteer invited me to their “Women on the Spectrum and Equalities in the Work Place” event. This took place on March 7th, at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
Watch Graeme Croton, founder of the charity, tell his story about how he discovered he had Asperger’s.
He founded the charity after being diagnosed himself in 2010. Described as a Social Enterprise, Project Aspie aims to help people with the syndrome in their communities. What is special about it is that people diagnosed with Asperger’s run the project themselves.
How to prevent discrimination at the workplace: advice and solutions
The event on March 7th started with Graeme’s presentation as an example of what Asperger feels like. The other guests invited also shared their experience and solutions to the difficulties they faced in employment.
From the other side of the ocean, Dr. Zoe Bartholomew shared advice on how to reduce the risk of being discriminated against in the workplace. Watch the behaviour specialist from California hold a webinar session below:
Diagnosed herself with another condition, AD/HD, Dr. Bartholomew works with families and young people in the community and in schools.
Another speaker, Jane Binnion, found a different solution: she trained in social media and became a business trainer herself. All of this happened as Jane also learnt she had dyspraxia.
Now, Jane encourages other women to start their own businesses and helps them in the process. At the event, Jane shared her story which can inspire other people with late diagnostics. It also stresses on how much one’s life can be improved once they learn about the condition they did not know they had.
Learn about Jane’s story in the video below:
My work experience supporting people with Asperger’s
While working in the Health and Social Care sector, I learn about the Autistic spectrum through closely supporting 3 service users with Asperger’s Syndrome. Of different age ranges (one in early 50’s, the other two early 20’s), they were adults with learning difficulties. Two of them were women, and one had been biologically born male, but identifying with the female gender.
I felt privileged to learn from these people. On a daily basis, I could see how much effort they put into making sense of the world, learning new skills and, especially, learning how to relate to others. People with Asperger’s find it difficult to read the reactions of the ones around them, be them strangers or closed ones, and to understand their emotions. This sets barriers in communication and relationships which can hurt and cause mental health difficulties in turn.