has anyone had an assessment with someone from Access to work? How did it go and what sort of things do they ask?
I have support at work paid for by Access to Work.
The assessment is nothing like a PIP assessment even though it is the same companies that do the assessments on behalf of DWP. Remember the purpose of Access to Work is to keep you in a job so they want to find ways in which you can be helped.
You should perhaps prepare yourself so you have something to say about the way the workplace affects you - be it distractions because of a busy environment, movement of people, bright lights, sounds, even smells from the kitchen or when people bring their food back to their work area. You should say if you have difficulty 'multitasking' or need some 'recovery time' at regular intervals. You may want set hours if that is possible in your job rather than working at different times each day. You might have difficulties with instructions from management and misinterpret things that are said to you, or your so-called 'body language' might be misinterpreted. You may have difficulty with telephones or dealing directly with visitors to the workplace, either the public or from a different work-site.
Access to Work should do a work-place assessment, seeing what adjustments could be made, from siting your workstation to providing you with equipment for your exclusive use, providing training for work colleagues and management, and a support worker for two or three hours a month. They will speak to your management which may be a day or two later and send you a letter listing what they consider should be done. These adjustments are not something your employer should refuse since they could provide evidence in a grievance and ultimately at an employment tribunal if they were refused.
Some documentation from your assessment may be useful for the assessors, but it won't be essential.
I have a support worker who acts as a go-between when difficulties arise and also sees me for two sessions a month, once on my own in which anything and everything could be discussed, and once a month with my manager. It has changed things for me totally at work. I have my own personal allocated desk, and a printer/ scanner for my exclusive use. I was even offered a taxi to get me to and from work but I felt that this was not necessary (although on rainy, snowy, or cold, frosty mornings I sometimes wish I had accepted!)
So don't worry about it at all. You won't be expected to do 'tests' to prove your autism, and in practice, in my experience, they accepted everything I said.
I think it was you that recommended I apply for access to work support a few weeks ago.
I had a call from them last week and now have an assessor coming to meet me at work at the end of next week. I’ve had a lot of meetings at work lately and am close to losing my job due. I’m really hoping for a support worker even for just a few months to help me understand why I find some things so easy but I have such struggles with other things that people find so easy. Just to have someone that understands, and has spoken to others that have similar struggles. I’ve lost jobs in the past, and I really don’t want to lose this one.
I have no doubt at all that I would have lost my job had it not been for Access to Work and the efforts of my support worker. And the training for managers and other staff also help you as it is evidence that the employer has been told about how autism affects people so they would then find it difficult to say that they didn't know about the affects autism has.
Hope it all goes well for you, I know it is easy for me to say but try not to worry about the assessor, they should be very much on your side. Just make notes about the difficulties you have beforehand so you don't forget anything, and perhaps hand it to the assessor so they don't miss anything out.
The 'grant' you get can be worth many thousands of pounds, although you won't see any of the money, it will go direct to the help you receive.
I had my assessment at the end of last week, and am being given sessions with a coping and strategy person, which isn’t a support worker. Have you seen one of those? Just wondering the difference between a coping and strategy worker and a support worker. Plus some other workplace adjustments recommendations.