Monday, 26 May 2014

Exciting new progress & Dealing With Change

The last few months have been very busy for me. I have recently learned that my contract will not be renewed at a local retail store. When I first got told that my contract would not be renewed I was unsure of why they wouldn't renew it and that all my good work there had not been recognised. After much thought and being at a loss as to why they would make me casual again (before I got the contract I had been there for about 4 years casually) I realised that other staff members were made casual too. The decision was structural, they gradually changed peoples positions from part-time to casual in order to allow rostering to be more flexible. Once I had realised that it was not a personal decision against me I was able to think about getting a new job and consider change. I realised that to succeed in what I wanted to do I needed to move out of my comfort zone of my job at K-Mart because if I don't make changes, everything will stay the same. I may be comfortable but not as content as I could be that I am making a real difference to what means the most to me.

I talked to Garry Burge (for those who don't know he is my mentor who first encouraged me to start advocating for myself and others on the spectrum) who suggested that I look at working in the community sector because I already do a lot of volunteering in related areas such as running the Adult Aspie Social Group in Orange, training to be a Lifeline Crisis Supporter, attending courses such as Mental Health First Aid and other advocacy work. I have since applied for a job working as an Information and Intake Officer at a large organisation that is a provider of community services. I am also in the process of applying for another position as a Ability Links Linker. This position will involve connecting with the community and referring people who make contact to services and businesses based on what their aspirations and needs are. I believe the positions that I am seeking will mean that I am making a real difference in the community and will broaden my skill base allowing me to make progress in myself and in the positive effects I have in the community.

Along with the activities I have been undertaking for a change in employment and training to be a Lifeline Crisis Supporter, I have been busy establishing a new Adult Asperger's Social Group in Bathurst. Along with contacting various people in Bathurst including psychologists, the University and various other people who may be interested I was also in the local paper (the article can be found here 
The first meeting of the group was last Saturday. It was a great opportunity to meet some Aspies in Bathurst and was interesting to hear their successes and aspirations for the future. We engaged well and I believe that although there were only 5 people who attended the group, that through more advertising and as time passes this number will grow in time. 

As the network here is growing, Garry and I discussed the possibility of having the social groups associate with an organisation that we could unify with and therefore share resources and have a bigger voice for issues. Garry and I often talk to Stefanie from Asperger Services Australia (ASA) and find that this organisation aligns closely with our values and goals. I have discussed the possibility of associating the group in Orange with ASA and Stefanie will get back to me after discussing it at the next meeting of the Board. In the future I also hope to apply for funding in the future for various purposes including running courses for people on the spectrum and providing other support for members of the group.

As you can see, I have been keeping very active in many activities. I believe that through my continued persistence and hard work things can only be improved and become better. I hope to start writing blogs on a more consistent basis so please check the blog in about a weeks time for the next post! And if you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below.