The autumn-winter period has been a bit of a blur for us here at Aspie Trainers, so much so, that we’ve been too busy to post! Consequently, here is a whistle-stop tour of what we’ve been up to.
It’s been a period of transition: we’ve welcomed two new trainers in Anna and James H; and we’ve also be joined by James P, who will help us to deliver training sessions. Anna has her own blog if you’re interested in reading her views; she has also posted about her expeirence of being diagnosed on our blog. All of our new members have settled in admirably, and we’re looking forward to their contributions to the project in the coming weeks and months.
What have we learnt?
Planning is important, but it won’t prevent the unexpected!
First and foremost, we’ve learnt that our expectations are rarely in accordance with reality; that we can’t prepare for every eventuality. Last month we hosted a training event in Worthing. Everything was going well, until the sound failed to play during one of our activities! It turned out that the sound codec files on the PC we were using were out of date, which is something of which we were unaware… Fortunately, our trainers were able to “style it out” and the session progressed. No meltdowns occured, and the students didn’t seem to mind/notice, which is the most important thing!
It’s important to meet, and sometimes manage, people’s expectations.
Here at Aspie Trainers we always try to deliver bespoke training to our clients; we draw up session aims and outcomes, ask the clients to explicitly tell us what they want, and then plan accordingly. Sometimes there are gaps in communication which can complicate the production and delivery of our sessions. The nature of Autism exacerbates the need for clear and concise communication, so in effect the training we deliver starts from the first point of contact.
It’s important for us to decide which form of social enterprise we want to become.
Aspie Trainers hopes to become a fully indpendent social enterprise by October 2018. In preparation for this, Lesley and Alex have been attending events hosted by Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester in order to find out more about this process. One event, hosted at The Base Skatepark, was particularly inspiring; it served to illustrate what can be done with enough determination, and that’s a resource which we have in abundance. The Base is a CIC, or Community Interest Company, a type of social enterprise which we are currently researching. Establishing what type of social enterprise we want to become will be one of the first items on our agenda for our steering group, which we hope will meet for the first time at the end of this month.
Surviving Autism Awareness Month
For most people associated with Autism, April is a very busy month. It marked the beginning of the NAS’s Too Much Information Campaign, which is hoped will achieve greater awareness and understanding of autism. It has already prompted an autism debate in parliament on 28th April, although the results of that remain to be seen. We hosted a free awareness raising session in Worthing, which now means that we’ve delivered to over 130 people in the past 6 months – far more than we had expected. The upside of this is that we have been really busy, but at this point in time we’re in need of some relaxation.