Post-Diagnostic Support Group Minutes – December 2017

Meeting-minutes-pictureMinutes of the Twenty Sixth
Post-Diagnostic Support Group
13th December 2017


The meeting was very well attended with 46 delegates & a very lovely “Therapy dog”.

Minutes taken by Linda Saint
Speakers – Sarah Hendrix & James Holden

Employment and Sustainability

Sarah Hendrix is a consultant, trainer and author who specialises in giving help to people with ASD particularly in the work place environment. Sarah is also able to benefit the employer in giving advice and enabling them were possible to make adjustments. A person with ASD can make a marvellous employee if there is identification and an understanding of any particular needs.

Sarah’s presentation identified many of the problems ASD sufferers have in coping with the work place being, the social side to work “understanding banter”, the politics of work/organisation, and the ability to cope with change. How a change of environment can be so stressful to someone. This could be the movement of a desk, different noise levels, and different personnel.

How we give instructions to the Autistic individual is crucial. An autistic person given complete clear instructions will be brilliant at completing the task but not perhaps the social norms, a canteen at lunchtime could be a nightmare.

The Autistic person may not be able to understand or be able to resolve conflict.

Problems can also arise when the job role is changed and the ASD person has different expectations to deal with. This could involve a change of location, management, a promotion or the organisational structure is being changed.

Like any one else the stressors that affect the working life of the Autistic individual could be external being family issues or money problems, which affect their functioning.

If the differences of the Autistic individual are not identified and their needs are not met it can lead to significant stress and a detrimental effect on their health.
Various delegates spoke of their problems at work that left them feeling very stressed and in the main they were given little help or support to over come such issues. In variably it led to them having to leave the employment.

What was very clear in what Sarah said is support from HR or a mediation service is vital for the ASD person within the work place. This facility will obviously depend on the size of the organisation.

  • How do you find a role and employment that meets your needs? What do you look for? Sarah spoke about the following criteria when looking for employment:
  • Location – is it easy to get there, Can I manage the journey, travelling time.
  • Interest/skills – do I have the skills does this role interest me?
  • People – what do I know about the people? Do I know any one there?
  • Environment – Is it a nice place to work? Would I be comfortable there?
  • Values – Is the organisation compatible with my views
  • Hours – can I manage to work the hours needed? Or would part time working be better, or could I work from home.
  • Tasks – is it repetitive tasks or varied?
  • Support – What would you need to ask for?
What makes a role a good fit? If the job is something that is of interest. It could be solution focussed – like book keeping. Working on one’s own gets away from the social and political side to work. A job that involves a task with a defined start and end point – very clear and defined process. Self-employment is very successful as it allows freedom to do things your own way and to manage the working environment.
When or should you tell perspective employers of your disability. It was felt that one should only divulge when the job has been offered unless support is needed at interview.

This is a very hard area as the Autistic individual can be penalised in interview situations, as they are sometimes unable to pick up on non-verbal clues or hidden agendas.

EQUALITY ACT 2010 – EMPLOYER responsibilities
The employer has a duty to provide reasonable adjustments in the work place. However the level of support will depend upon the size of the organisation. Larger organisations will have the facility to undertake a workplace assessment and to provide support, advocacy and mediation to the disabled employee. However although it’s a legal requirement adjustments and support are limited by what is deemed to be reasonable.
The perfect job is one that fits the person’s profile, works to their strengths. This could be someone who enjoys book keeping/ accountancy and is working at this from a home environment. This reduces the strain of the social interaction of the office environment. The perfect role could be one that is a real love and interest to a person, being gardening, cookery etc. The job could be below the persons qualifications or not seen to be a good career choice but more importantly and significantly it has little or reduced stress and anxiety and provides enjoyment and self worth.
Sadly at this point various people spoke of deliberately getting fired to leave the environment they were working within. Others spoke of constantly moving jobs trying to find the right environment. Sarah spoke of the enjoyment in voluntary work, which may enable a person to find out what they really want to do. I felt very sad within this conversation because if the people who spoke had received support within the work place perhaps adjustment could have been made to enable them to remain at work. It highlights how important good H.R. is and the confidence to disclose the diagnosis; however, H.R. facilities are only available within large organisations.


James Holden is responsible for running a pilot for the next 18 months. It has been developed to be run as a pilot by 9 local authorities if successful it will be “rolled out” countrywide. The results will be audited. The pilot project is the initiative of the DWP to enable people with ASD to gain sustainable employment. The sustainability of employment is a huge problem to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If successful this pilot should provide support to the ASD employee and employers. The pilot will consider people who have an ASD diagnosis coupled with either a social services referral/assessment, or they are on ESA or Universal credit. Please contact James directly for full clarification

The project will provide pre employment support that will look for suitable roles by the use of job analysis. The job analysis will look at any training needs and transport issues. Once the person has been placed in a role there will be on going support to try to identify and sort problems, providing support and guidance for the employee and employer. This gives much hope that a mechanism will be in place to provide much needed sustainable employment.

From January, Axia Film Society will be holding a weekly WEDNESDAY “DROP IN” session at Red hill House. There will be games and role-play. In the New Year, Calvin will present the 10 best & 10 worse films of 2017. SEE WEBSITE FOR DETAILS

For those who still wish to evaluate the group support sessions. The questions to consider and then answer are as follows:

  1. How many group sessions have you attended?
  2. What do you find most useful or enjoyable about the group?
  3. How has attending the group benefitted you/your life?
  4. What would you like to be different about the group? (if anything)

You can CLICK HERE to open an email which contains the questions above which will be sent to Carly, or bring them along on a sheet of paper to the next group.

Responses can be brief – one or two points per question is fine.

Please feel free to respond even if you did not attend the group on 13th December, but have previously.

Our next monthly post-diagnostic support group will take place on:
Wednesday 31 January 2018 between 11.30am and 1.30pm at the Lifestyle Centre, Crewe.

Share This Post:
Posted in News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Next Axia29th May 2024
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Get in Touch

To find out more, ask a question or book a consultation, get started by filling out the short form below:


Follow Us!

Subscribe to Our Monthly Round-Up

Submit Guest Content

Submit your own "Reviews" or "Guest Content" by clicking on the icon, or click here.
If you are experiencing difficulties with the functionality of our website, please let us know by clicking the image above.