Alan, 26, lives in Nottingham and has high-functioning autism. He’s passionate about politics and one day would love to be a Green Party MP. For now, he is keen to find work in the political analysis field, yet despite gaining a degree he’s struggled to stay in work. Although he finds the work itself easy, he finds it hard to get past the interview stage. He enrolled on the Employable Me series to tackle this.
As part of his preparation to get into work the Employable Me team gave Alan Brain in Hand. He participated in a one to one session with a Brain in Hand trainer who helped him think about the practical aspects of his day and advice he had been given about the rules of the office. Together they filled his Brain in Hand software with reminders, appointments and coping strategies that he could call on when on his job placement to help reduce anxiety.
As part of the programme Alan participated in a job placement at EON, where he found Brain in Hand useful support. A reminder helped him to wake-up on time and if this didn’t happen, he included lots of coping strategies to call upon, to avoid getting stressed. Other sets of advice Alan included in his Brain in Hand were linked to helping him arrive to work on time, getting there, remembering appointments and manoeuvring ‘the rules of the office’. For example, it reminded him to avoid political discussion but that ‘talking about the weather is an appropriate topic’.
Alan also valued Brain in Hand’s anxiety monitor, a traffic light system to note how he was feeling and alert the NAS team and his friend Kat, if he needed extra help. Most times he pressed the green button, letting them know he felt OK. But he did press the red button a few times, once when a political matter caused him to become extremely anxious, enabling the team to get in touch and give him good advice that helped him feel calm again.
Talking about this Alan said “It makes me feel relieved that I can access this at times of distress when I need it most.
“I’ve had a better experience of being in work because of Brain in Hand.
“I would recommend it to autistic people who can benefit from using it at time of stress, to remind them about things such as appointments and meetings and help plan for unexpected changes.”
Alan really enjoyed his job placement on the programme; he especially enjoyed analysing and manipulating data, practicing his software skills and presenting this to the board. He hopes his experience on the show will help him to become a psephologist, or professional elections analyst. If you are able to help Alan in his next step in his career, get in touch.