I know some of you have had support arranged through Access to Work. I don't want to write anything that may identify me on here, and I'm sure some of you feel the same. So just wondered if anyone would be happy to PM me how they got on with the support provided, or who their support worker was and how the sessions went?
Mine are due to start at the beginning of May and I just have no idea what to expect.
I get on very well with my support funded by Access to Work.
I have two sessions of, ostensibly, one and a half hours each per month although they often overrun by up to half hour each. My support is provided by my local autism charity and not the ubiqultous 'Remploy' who seem to be the default provider for access to work help.
One session is my monthly 'supervision' with my line manager (supervision is given to all employees on a 1-1 basis each month) and the other is a private session. These are to discuss any problems I am having at work and misunderstandings, causes of stress, near or actual meltdowns, how I cope, the way I work, and my support worker, with my permission, will take them back to my line manager. My line manager will also contact my support worker if there are any concerns and depending what they are my support worker will explain how this is part of being autistic or bring them back to me to see if anything can be done. She will also intervene if there are 'changes' to my work and often she has prevented these as a 'reasonable' adjustment for autism.
It has gone so well over the past year that basically things have been changed from constant 'meetings' and 'quiet words' between my manager and me, to me being left alone to do my job in the way I feel I can do it with no interference. My meetings now with my support worker are just chats about my interests, little moans I may have about anything and everything from the price of things in the shops to the brilliant job the government are doing regarding Brexit (there is a bit of irony in that last bit!) But it all helps make me a lot more relaxed in my work, things are going along very well. The other thing I will say is without my support worker I am certain I would not have a job as things were very bad at the time I contacted Access to Work and for a while afterwards.
You may find that the support sessions are initially for a limited period, for example a year. This does not mean they will cease after this time, they can easily be extended if you and your support worker think this beneficial and apply to Access to Work, your manager should not stand in the way of this since it would be to the benefit of your employer. And the number of sessions may be increased. The funding provided by Access to Work has a fairly high maximum figure so it will pay for more than just a support worker and if there are other things that funding might help with your support worker should help with getting this.
I don't have to have any direct dealings now with Access to Work, all dealings are through my support worker who deals with the monthly finance and getting forms signed. It is a completely painless procedure in my case. The one thing I would suggest though is that you don't hold back with your feelings about work with your support worker. The purpose of the support worker is to help you and your concerns will be addressed far better if your support worker knows what your feelings are. Meetings should be confidential but obviously if you want your support worker to speak to your manager you should give permission. Your support worker should know how to phrase anything you say in a way that doesn't cause offence to your employer (which would certainly be the case if I spoke directly to my employer about such matters).
I hope it all goes well when you get your help.
Thanks for replying :) That all sounds really good! I'm still nervous about my support sessions, but it's good to know you've benefitted so much. I have constant 'little chats' at work. Usually a few times a week, and they really stress me out and I can't get anything done after because I'm replaying the conversation over and over and over. My support isn't through Remploy. Just another few weeks to go and I'll meet my support worker. I didn't find their email inviting me to my first session all that welcoming, but I might just be reading it wrong, so I guess I'll have to wait and see how it goes!