Thursday 24 February 2011


Welcome back to Adventures with Autism Works. Please note that this week's entry comes a day earlier than normal because both Peter and I are taking tomorrow off after realising that we have annual leave to use up before the leave year is out. After the week we have had though, we both probably need to step back from the flow with a long weekend.

As I have mentioned previously in this blog, one of the aspects of which I have had to be aware of with Autism Works being a relatively new project, is that chances are that mistakes are likely to be made, especially as much of our operational procedures, especially our recruitment tools, remain largely untested. Earlier this week, Autism Works noticed its first major mistake, which was we forgot to include a field on the Expression of Interest for E-mails. Not having a background in IT, I naively assumed that Google Sites would pick up E-mails as responses came in. It was when we were looking at sending a message to those who have expressed interest to keep them informed of updates when we realised. Having checked the form before making it live, both Peter and myself were astonished at how we left this out!

Not long after we found this, an incident then took place during a meeting with ESPA Research, who are working with us to help measure the impact of Autism Works as the company develops.  The accident could quite possibly have had tragic consequences, when one of the meeting attendees had a car accident in the car park. Fortunately she wasn't hurt, though her car was very badly damaged. Even so, she was badly shaken knowing that she could have been severely hurt had the van that the car went into not been parked where it was.

Despite all this though, we are still working on getting back in track and I would like to thank those who I have got in contact with since noticing the Expression of Interest form error for providing us with their E-mail addresses that we don't already have. Regarding mistakes, often one of the most difficult things to do, especially when involved in the early stages of development as is the case at Autism Works, is to stand back from your role and realise that there is so much that can very easily go wrong, including stuff over which you have no control. I often find this true just about being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in terms of what can go wrong in relation to how the condition effects you, including how you are interpreted by those around you.

After realising that we had made a mistake, I initially felt really 'stupid', but Peter has been great in reassuring me. As he commented, it's got a lot less about being stupid and a lot more about being human!  I guess it is helpful when mistakes are made to focus on putting them right rather than become over-worried or too concerned about them, as well as learning from them, as they also represent things to learn from for anyone looking to replicate us. In the meantime, please be sure to continue to watch this space for further developments.

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