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About alanm

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  • Birthday 06/11/1971

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    Norfolk, England
  1. This is a tricky one, I've posted on a couple of similar threads recently. While I was unemployed in periods between 2007-11, I was advised when writing 'open' cover letters with CVs, not to disclose in those, but when doing a more closed application form which asks the question, disclose on that as per Skaro7's post. For most of my early working years I had tried to muddle through without disclosing it to employers, however often got told in appraisals to "improve" at communication skills, which showed with hindsight that I ought to have been disclosing it. I got to start with my current employer as an agency temp two years ago doing data entry, a few other temps were telephone call handlers, but for most temps to be made permanent was generally conditional on cross-training on the other side. Now if normal application and interview process had been used for permanent recruitment from the outset, if I hadn't disclosed a disability at application or interview stage, I would automatically be expected to do the call handling because the official spec of the job is that it involves both sides. As it had been more a "temp-to-perm" situation disclosing my disability from the start showed that call handling training would not be for me, yet they were still pleased to take me on given the capability I had shown with the database and finance work.
  2. It was a shame those few were like this but I am now firmly in favour of disclosing on balance as I felt I had been in worse trouble for not disclosing, being told in appraisals to "improve" at communication skills. I posted this comment: http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/29731-drs-appointment-tomorrow-re-ref-for-diagnosis/#entry344532 as a thread where the poster is starting out in the diagnosis process, quoting mainly work place issues, and the second post I quoted is from an adult diagnostician highlighting why the diagnosis may be needed as proof for employment and benefits reasons rather than merely "just want to know".
  3. I think it is invaluable for work reasons. I was diagnosed young anyway, but for most of my early working years I had tried to muddle through without disclosing it to employers, however often got told in appraisals to "improve" at communication skills, which showed with hindsight that I ought to have been disclosing it. I also had long periods out of work when it had proven valuable that I had disclosed my disability to the job centre. I got to start with my current employer as an agency temp two years ago doing data entry, a few other temps were telephone call handlers. For most temps to be made permanent was generally conditional on cross-training on the other side, however disclosing my disability showed that call handling training would not be for me, yet they were still pleased to take me on given the capability I had shown with the database and finance work. Not only have they been understanding about my disability, but very appreciative of my Ability. They even took it seriously enough to arrange me to have an occupational health report, which summarised that "this individual is capable of work in his current non-customer facing role and we make the recommendation to remain non-customer facing", so that it is in writing should my current line-management leave or changes to head-count requirements may mean I have to move departments in future. Amy I see your assessment was due to have been on the 13th June, hope you got on ok.
  4. I often had well meaning friends ask if I'd considered self-employment, admittedly they had not known I had AS when they said this. I'd said no, as I'd known that selling a product on a self-employed basis is similarly difficult to selling oneself in a conventional job interview, not to mention the dealings with bank managers, solicitors and auditors. This social enterprise set-up is a great idea, more of this kind of set up is so needed, so the very best of luck with it. Sorry to have to alert you to a problem with your website though, I was going to look but my Norton security blocked it with the message "This Web page has malicious browser exploits, which use vulnerabilities in browsers to launch attacks. Cybercriminals are using vulnerabilities in the browser and on the web server hosting this web page to launch these browser exploits."
  5. alanm

    School prom

    I went through precisely this in my own teens with bullying, though these proms had not taken off then, my final year being 1987. Back then the simple leaving party cost £2, a small price to buy a "decoy" ticket to make peers think I was going, when I had absolutely no intention to. I can't really give any advice here but so feel for those really unhappy teenagers who must be put under even more peer pressure to go to today's proms than I would have been in the 80s. I feel for your daughter's dilemma, on the one hand wanting to have the same experience her siblings had, but if the kids who picked on her in her days at the school picked on her at the prom causing her distress, ultimately feeling worse for going and being picked on having her night spoilt than if she hadn't gone. As an aside, here's a link to a thread on the Gransnet forum, highlighting a few more views on proms: http://www.gransnet.com/forums/am_i_being_unreasonable/a1188762-Why-do-school-leavers-have-to-have-Proms
  6. This has certainly paid off for me, last May one of my local temp agencies got me a data entry job which they thought could be a fortnight to a month, I settled in ok and just took it week by week, another linked department found more work for me continuing through August and September and then they were in a position to offer me and several other temps fixed term contracts on their own books to the end of February. Last month they then had early Christmas presents for us, that they were able to make those permanent. The great thing was that when I started through the agency last May it was a case of "can you turn up and start there next Monday" with no need for an interview, those being my usual obstacle. I was able to turn up and start, be shown the ropes and prove my capability. Three months in I got to go beyond my first general data entry task and get some financing, now I have about 5 regular tasks, all linked phases of a wider process, and my supervisors have been really good about my disability and I don't have to be on phones at all. There's a mix of data entry and telephone people, those who can be good at doing both sides are encouraged to for cover flexibility, but many are distinctly one or the other. I haven't even been on these forums for ages, I don't have time to read often since I've had this work. Best of luck to all those out there still job hunting.
  7. Hiya, appreciate your reply. Will say on that note I am smiley by nature (hence that I did put that in bold in the quote), and do get to say a lot of "hello, it's nice to meet you"s in friendly social situations which helps. Likewise I get to do a fair few handshakes, I try to be as firm as possible given that I'm of a light build. Could be worth asking some of said social friends if they think my handshakes with them are firm enough for "interview standards", don't normally think of it when out socially though as I, and they, are there to enjoy an event. I had more wanted to post the link up to emphasise that the Guardian, in writing the article, had recognised that difficulty in interviews was a common problem, and to empathise with the original poster and Oxgirl as opposed to merely posting about my own situation. I also wanted to throw the Work Trial possibility into the thread and see if many of those reading who are jobseekers knew about it, had any luck suggesting it to employers etc, emphasising how while interviewing is still regarded by so many as the only way to assess people, if the alternative of work trials was more widely used, would more people with AS get jobs if assessed that way? My DEA agreed in principal but admitted even the Jobcentres themselves weren't pushing them as much anyway because they'd actually been misused by some employers.
  8. This shows just how much interviews suck, particularly for those of us with Aspergers. I found this on the Guardian, which sums it all up. "The prospective employer reads the unwillingness to shake hands, difficulty making eye contact and hesitation in speech as coldness or incompetence, and the applicant is rejected." I'm not "unwilling" to shake hands but know I'm not as "firm" at it as its perceived I ideally should be. I do have very hesitant speech, this is the first time I've seen an article explicity referring to it as "coldness". I had guessed from when I had been employed my experience of previous stern supervisors that they did seem to see me as "incompetent" from the tone they spoke to me with, and that when out of work and attending interviews that was again how it could be seen. This puts another angle on the issue of whether or not to admit my condition on the initial written application, if it is an open covering letter rather than an application form with a disability question. On one hand I'm told "don't say it as you just won't get an interview", on the other it may help to prepare them for my hesitant speech. That said of course there were those interviews I had where I had said it in my letter, still got interviewed, but they hadn't noticed it and still wanted the communication aspects of the jobs so was eliminated anyway. The comment on the article by a writer called "Darkblade" puts it well: "Most job application forms have a place where you can fill in if you have a disability or similar. Maybe it would be advisable for people with Asperger's syndrome to complete this section. Perhaps they don't want to because they fear stigma and misunderstanding - and think that this will mean they just won't get the interview in the first place. Or, getting to interview stage, there is often a question beforehand about 'special requirements' where, I suppose, it's expected that people might ask about wheelchair access etc, but it might also be appropriate to mention if the candidate has Asperger's syndrome so that it can be taken into account at the interview. I think that in order to encourage people to 'disclose' Asperger's syndrome at application or pre-interview stage, employers definitely need to be educated better about Asperger's syndrome". One comment writer called "Muggedbyreality" does seem to hold firm their belief that people with AS are unemployable and makes a sarcastic comment about whether they are going to be told to employ someone with AS in sales. Another called "ThermoStat" stands up to Muggedbyreality asking "What do you suggest? That Aspies are left unemployed and in receipt of benefits for their entire life. Is that sustainable?" Muggedbyreality replies "Of course not. But private companies are not charities - why should they be expected to redefine the way they work or take people who aren't suited for the job? The author is asking for what are essentially either sinecures in HR or a complete change to the way HR works." It's not about asking for a complete change to the way HR works but more subtle redefinition of some manpower in a team, e.g. someone with AS can do what they are good at while a colleague takes on communication tasks that might normally have been in the AS person's role, should not be too much to ask in a reasonably sized employer. I think one "answer" would be if Jobcentres could persuade employers to use their "Work Trial" scheme for applicants with AS, this would give them the chance to demonstrate what they CAN do, and they'd be able to sell their skills better than with conventional interviewing especially with open questions like that quoted. The Jobcentre should make the point of stressing to the employer that the Work Trial is at no cost to them for up to 30 days. I added this information to so many applications yet still didn't get offered that possibility, which was so frustrating when I know it is how I would better be able to demonstrate my capability.
  9. Glad to have been of help and best of luck for the meeting.
  10. Haven't been on here for a while but saw this thread. I had posted on this "Pre-interview Declarations" thread last December. For a while I'd been perhaps more upfront than I should have been. During 2009 an adviser at the Jobcentre had let me know about their "Work Trial" scheme where I could work for them 15 days free while still having Jobseeker status, and I tied admitting my AS with stating my eligiblility for this scheme, explaining how I would sell my skills better this way than with conventional interviewing where the first thing they see is my nervous body language and verbal communication and they expect me to "sell myself". Yet even being told they could have me at no cost didn't persuade anyone to take it up! I enquired about a paid employment scheme through Shaw Trust called the "Intermediate Labour Market" available to people with a disability that have been on any benefit (both JSA and health-related) for a year, in which Shaw Trust are the employer and people can work for employers either in the public sector, charities or companies classed as "social enterprise". March this year I started with a small design and printing company who were in this social enterprise category as they ran a training centre aimed mostly at the "learning disability" category but also accepting those such as lone parents and general long term unemployed. The scheme generally ran for 6 months and I was fortunate to get a 7th finishing at the end of September. After the employment finished, my contact at Shaw Trust is very good and pleased to continue to support my ongoing job search. She advised that my applications for most permanent jobs should perhaps not state my AS so upfront in that first application stage (usually a "covering letter" with a CV), but that if I was invited to an interview, then my contact would be able to contact the employer on my behalf, as one reasonable adjustment employers should make to pre-recruitment procedure is to allow the disabled person an advocate in an interview, which she would be willing to do. The exception is where you have an application form that asks if you have a disability anyway.
  11. Hello there, relieved to hear this was resolved. I do think it was well out of order to try to "scare" you into taking the training though, as it is after all THEIR duty to make reasonable adjustments to a role taking your condition into account, you had been upfront and honest with them. I can so empathise as I was put in bad situations myself in one particular previous job, and when that ended it had been hard to get another one because I don't do well at interviews, though I've had a good temporary job on a special scheme for a few months now. Anyway, best of luck with the job.
  12. I've often wondered about this, I've been honest at application stage about having AS, while at the same time emphasising what skills and experience I do have. I've also tied admitting my AS with explaining my eligiblility for the Jobcentre's "Work Trial" scheme, where I can work for them free while still having Jobseeker status, which would give me a better chance of demonstrating my capability of work, than an interview does where the first thing they see is my nervous body language and verbal communication and they expect me to "sell myself", yet in 6 months since I first saw the adviser who let me know about work trials, I have yet to be offered one. Welcome aboard to Vanna, how did the application go? Good luck all, Alan
  13. Tell me about it, the whole "selling" thing is the big pain! Very best of luck with these applications anyway.
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