As part of my new job as a support worker, caring for adults with challenging behaviour. I am being sent on several one day training courses.
This week I was on a safeguarding course. Dealing with keeping vulnerable adults safe from abuse, neglect, exploitation etc.
Halfway through we were asked what we knew about autism. I kept my mouth shut. But a couple said that they had experience with Autistic people. And explained that autistics like to stick to routines. One gave an example of an autistic who walked along the same route everyday for 16 years. The class had a giggle.
That's how we autistics are seen by the NTs.
I like to walk along the same route.
Ouch. Obviously the training wasn't designed or delivered by an autistic person. Sounds also like they never considered what an autistic person would feel like if they were present. To that extent it could be said that such training is discriminatory.
I attended some very good autism awareness training recently with some social workers. Only half of the trainees knew what ASD stood for or knew about sensory sensitivities, but they were free with their opinions of autistic people (I'd introduced myself as autistic, but maybe not that clearly). 'Lazy' was one word used, and the routine and 'don't like change' stereotypes, plus other images from TV and media, came up, although others were more open. Part-way through the trainer revealed themselves as autistic but good at masking... maybe some minds were blown that day.
Our bright and cheerful trainer revealed that in in the past she suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts.
This was only a half day, level 1 course on safeguarding.
Then you've something in common with Immanuel Kant.
I know how you feel. I went on a course last week. One of the workshops contained an activity that involved brainstorming all of the challenges autistic people have. The people delivering the training and everyone in the room knew I was autistic but they still laughed at the examples that were read out. Some of the examples had led to me feeling suicidal at times in my life so I was left feeling like a pile of rubbish.
Hi there, thanks for taking the time to address this. First of all, many congrats on your new job as a support worker. The courses can be very beneficial and informative I can imagine. It is always going to be a complicated topic because how each person perceives autism will be different. To be fair, it isn't just autistic people who stick to routines or like things in order. I have pretty much walked a same route for many years and I'm sure to some extent others have as well probably without realising.
Hopefully, the class can see the bigger picture of safeguarding and autism. Because, to them their initial response is to laugh or portray as being 'odd'. Fingers crossed, there was something positive to take from it.
In my current job, I had to do a three-day course of training in techniques to deal with challenging behaviour. The trainers knew me, knew I was autistic, and were themselves on our trust's autism behavioural team. In one exercise, we were told to pair up with someone else, then stand face-to-face with them, very close, and maintain eye contact for 2 minutes. I refused and explained why. They hadn't thought about that. So it was suggested that I stare at the top of my partner's head instead. Thankfully I'm tall and she wasn't. All the same, it was a very uncomfortable exercise. Afterwards, they apologised. I have a few struggles at work with being expected to do things or react in certain ways - based on the NT template. This is part of the problem with being high-functioning, and 'normal-looking'. They look at the people I'm working with and can see no connection or similarities. They ought to know better, but sadly they often don't.
Hi, thanks for sharing this it is highly appreciated. Wow, despite knowing you was autistic they still put you in a situation like that? Even if the alternative, looking at the top of the person's head it still doesn't rectify putting you in that situation. At least they were compassionate and ultimately apologised.
Autism or those with 'high-functioning' appear to others as you say 'normal-looking'. Also, autism in a way is invisible in terms of how you present yourself.
People like to stereotype others. That's how neurotypical minds work. They put people into categories. That's how they can manage to get through life with their tiny little mundane brains.
Ooops, look at me, stereotyping neurotypicals.....
Anyway, Robert, I'm glad your job has progressed to the point where you are being given training. That could be a good sign.
Today I had another half day training course. This time about epilepsy. How to recognize it, The different types. Causes, medicines, treatments. What to do when someone is having a fit.