How Autism Voice Change A Life- Aicha’s story

 

When Aicha Sadiku walked the corridor of the office of Autism Voice in Clapham in July this year, she did not envisage that in a couple of months her life will be changed for good. In a month since she started receiving job support from Autism Voice, Aicha gained traineeship and a fixed term employment with Lambeth council. She also successfully applied for her Personal Independent Payment (PIP) for people with disability.

The Situation

Aicha, 23, is epileptic, with learning disability and a pending diagnosis for Autism. She was signposted to Autism Voice’s job support project by her local job centre. With little hope she joined the project. Aicha was suffering from stress which was leading to regular blackouts for which she needed wellbeing support. Aicha who had been unemployed for two years due to her deteriorating health had very little hope that she could secure any job soon.

“I didn’t know what to think when I started coming here. I just thought oh well this setting is a place where I can come every Thursday, talk about my issues and get genuine people who’ll listen to me.”

At the time Aicha joined the project she was not receiving any social benefits relating to her disability. Even though she was clearly suffering from several issues regarding her condition.

Success

With the help of our job support and wellbeing support advisors, Aicha’s stress level reduced immensely, leading to very fewer weekly blackouts. In addition, Aicha was supported in writing her Curriculum Vitae, jobs were applied for including the traineeship by Mencap’s Lambeth Inclusive Future Employment (LIFE) project. Aicha was offered a one to one support that prepared her for the interview. She was escorted to the interview and all other prework appointments both on phone and in person by an advisor. Aicha was also supported in applying for her Personal Independent Payment which came through successfully on the first week of November.

About our Job Support Project

Our Job support for autistic adults provides career advice and support for autistic young adults including job search, preparing curriculum vitae, interview techniques and support during job interviews. This is complemented by regular training courses on different aspects of autism and employment.

About our Wellbeing Support Project

Our wellbeing support include monthly support for wellbeing to autistic people, families and professionals, mentorship for adults on the autism spectrum and weekly one-to-one support for autistic people and families.

The Future

Aicha hope to maintain the fixed term role and look for other opportunities within Lambeth Council. “I am very excited. I can’t believe this is happening to me. I was at a stage wherein I was not sure what the end of this year would be like. I am totally grateful to all the team at Autism Voice for the support. Now I feel happier, I see progress happening in my life, I am hopeful about the future once again.”

Aicha will continue receiving wellbeing support from Autism Voice and we intend to extend this support to her Mother and other members of her family.

Thanks to grant from Supporters of People’s Postcode for making the job support to Aicha possible. We are also grateful to the Lambeth Community Foundation for supporting our Wellbeing project.

If you wish to be part of any of the projects mentioned here, please call 07460399290 or email info@autismvoice.org.uk or autismvoice1@gmail.com.

Meeting Autism Voice – A parent’s story

My name is Josanne James. I’m a mother to a son (Delano McDonald) who was diagnosed with autism at age 4. Delano’s autism is accompanied by learning disabilities and dyspraxia. Against the advice of others, he has always remained in mainstream schools. With a statement of special education needs, he’s had a one to one ta or Las.

I really struggled when Delano left school because I did not have an advocate and I did not know what to do. Whenever I contacted International House (Brixton/Lambeth Sen) I got conflicting information. They obviously weren’t bothered. I kept calling around but nowhere or no one would help us. I found myself completely on my own. I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and stressed. I struggled on my own and became increasingly anxious about my son’s future. I was sleeping even less than usual having always suffered from insomnia.

A few months ago, I was advised to visit the job centre to meet some people regarding support and advice about Delano. At this time, I was desperate and would have travelled to Timbuktu if I was promised any kind of help. Not knowing what to expect I went along.

This was where I met the wonderful people from Autism Voice. At first, I was very anxious and cautious. I had become use to talking to people who had no clue about autism or what it is like to be a mom like me. I was usually judged and left to feel even more frustrated. I trusted no one. However, I soon realised that these ladies were not like that at all. I eventually relaxed, my back was not up against a wall, sweet relief at last. I finally found a place where I was understood and wasn’t judged. I laughed for the first time in a while. I talked about my son in a relaxed atmosphere.

Since I met these beautiful women, I have had some relief. They were able to give me the support, advice and information I needed to make decisions to assist Delano.

They keep in touch regularly; I go to meetings and meet other moms just like me. I am no longer alone or ashamed. I do not feel like a failure anymore nor do I feel like I’m letting my son down anymore. For me, I met people who knows exactly how I felt, and I was comfortable. I found some people who shared similar experiences and knows exactly how to navigate this journey.

The support is phenomenal, and I do not know what would happen now if I hadn’t encountered Autism Voice when I did. Now my sleep is improving because I do not feel like I’m swimming in a rough dark ocean alone anymore. I still worry about my sons’ future, I’m still anxious but I’m not alone and now I’m sure I’ve got people who knows and understands. People who won’t judge or mock me or my son. People who offer support and quality services.

Thank you for everything Mariama and the rest of the team from Autism Voice.

About our Wellbeing Support Project

Our wellbeing support include monthly support for wellbeing to autistic people, families and professionals, mentorship for adults on the autism spectrum and weekly one-to-one support for autistic people and families. If you wish to be part of any of the projects mentioned here, please call 07460399290 or email info@autismvoice.org.uk or autismvoice1@gmail.com.

Volunteering with Autism Voice – Sonia’s story

Since volunteering with Autism Voice almost two years ago, I have met a lot of parents/carers and spent time with the autistic community. It has helped me to understand how life is for a young person or adult living with autism and trying to manoeuvre every day. It has been very refreshing to meet some inspirational people from different parts of the community. I have been privileged to connect with lots of professionals, some really good and well informed.

As well as offering wellbeing within the community, the charity also runs several workshops during the year and being a part of the organizing team has enhanced my skills in events management.

Recently the charity has set up Employment Advice and Support service for autistic adults. This has opened a whole new world for me as I meet young and older adults trying to find full time employment, while managing their condition. Some time, it can be frustrating for the individual as they try to understand what the neurotypical employer is looking for. I try my best to explain to them why they do not always have the necessary skills for a certain position. Sometimes it takes a while to get some clients to understand why they need to be opened to alternative jobs in which they can exhibit their interests. I’ve learnt through trainings and personal advice how to deal with this. I do find it extremely rewarding when I am able to support the individual into full time employment.

Benefits for me include:

  • Meeting life-long friend
  • Going to a workplace I enjoy and gaining
  • It has increased my self-confidence

This role has fired me up to pursue a course in management recruitment. And above all connecting parents/ carers and autistic adults to the workplace through an organization that understands their needs and can communicate this to the outside world is really a fulfilling achievement that I will forever be proud of.

About our Job Support Project

Our Job support for autistic adults provides career advice and support for autistic young adults including job search, preparing curriculum vitae, interview techniques and support during job interviews. This is complemented by regular training courses on different aspects of autism and employment.