Case studies

Sean K

With invaluable and ongoing support and guidance from IWORK4ME and out of my desire to bring Autism to the attention of the wider public, I started my own small business as a public speaker in 2011. In return for a fee, I have made presentations to groups including:

  • JobCentre Plus
  • The City of Edinburgh Council (regular contributor to “Autism Champions” initiative training)
  • SUSE (Scottish Union of Supported Employment)
  • SCLD (Scottish Consortium of Learning Disabilities)
  • Coalition of Senior Professionals working with People with Autism (CoSPPA)
  • Borders Council/NHS (launch of the Autism Strategy April 2015.)
  • Edinburgh College

My formative years were immersed in music and training to be an actor.  This helped my confidence and assisted my ability to “fit in” to society, but this did not suit my nature.  I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in December 2012 on my 51st birthday.

Since then I have spent time learning to accept my difference and sharing my experiences with others through public speaking.  I believe the need to raise awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome to workers/colleagues and the public alike is vital. People with Asperger’s have many qualities and skills to offer, yet the understanding of the condition is still sadly lacking.

My desire is to continue with public speaking, mainly to help to dispel the misleading way in which people with Autism (and with Asperger’s Syndrome in particular) are portrayed in the media.  We need and deserve a voice.


Ruth

My Mum and I first met with Sue and Bryce at IWORK4ME back in 2013 when I was starting to sell some of my artwork. We weren’t sure how this would affect my Employment Support Allowance so went to them for advice.

We were given help and advice to fill in the necessary forms to allow me to do supported permitted work and to register as a sole trader with HMRC.

Since then we have had regular meetings with them every couple of months and they give us advice on pricing, feedback on products we are considering, ideas on things to try, how to approach retailers and general support in a relaxed and friendly way. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off and give us the confidence to try things out.

Being autistic means that I can get overwhelmed easily when things move too fast and I can take longer to process things so having someone understand that I need to take each stage at a slower pace so I can cope has been good.

It’s crucial to have help from people who are familiar with the particular difficulties that autistic adults can experience in the world of self-employment to support them and that’s what IWORK4ME are good at. I am also lucky to have my Mum work along with me, to accompany me to the meetings and do all the things that I find difficult.

Trying out self-employment and running a micro business with the support of IWORK4ME and my Mum has really given me a purpose in life and helped my self-esteem and mental well-being. I now feel like I have achieved something and am successful whereas before I felt like a failure.

Kirsten & Ruth

Penguin Parade

Visit www.penguinparade.co.uk