Erica, 46 from the Wirral was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when she was 32. She has been unemployed for the past six years. Erica finds social interaction at work hard, she feels people don’t always understand her and sometimes see her as being less intelligent, because of her facial expressions. Determined to do everything she can to find employment, she decided to take part in Employable Me, as she believes that if you don’t try, you will never succeed.
As part of her preparation for work, the National Autistic Society recommended she use Brain in Hand software. She met with a specialist Brain in Hand trainer who worked through the demands she would face in work and filled her Brain in Hand account with reminders, appointments and coping strategies for all of the challenges she would face.
Erica used her Brain in Hand software whilst on her job placement at Marks and Spencer. She explains that when she has a meltdown her anxiety means she loses her sense of self and ‘her rational head goes out of the window’. But that Brain in Hand helps reminds her of the coping strategies she knows works and has developed when feeling rational.
But if things get too much, Erica presses the red button feature on her Brain in Hand, which alerts the National Autistic Society who gets in touch with her to talk her problem through, which helps her to get on with her day.
Erica says “I would recommend Brain in Hand to anybody. You don’t have to be the most computer literate person. I’m certainly not.”
She carries her Brain in Hand in a bum bag at work. She says “Knowing Brain in Hand is there gives me a feeling of safety – I won’t go to work without it. With Brain in Hand I don’t need to worry about being anxious, as if anything happens I know I have someone there who can help.”
Erica performed so well on her placement, Marks and Spencer’s offered her a job. She loves it. She enjoys going out into the wold doing something. Her plans for the future? Well, she wants to be a pensioner with a CV that she’s proud of and to know that she has delivered a good service!