Welcome back to Autism Works. After a busy week and, at times, confusing I have finally managed to submit our bid to the Adult and Community Learning Fund for a grant to cover training costs for Autism Works' first two trainee software test analysts. Most interestingly this week though, we have had a visitor from Australia and a regular follower of this blog Garry Burge.
An active advocate for Asperger's Syndrome in Australia, Garry and I first 'met' in 1999 via the E-mailing list University Students with Asperger's Syndrome formerly run by Clare Sainsbury (author of the book Martian in the Playground). Twelve years on, Garry is determined for the Autism Works model to be replicated in Australia. Though we are still in the process of getting Autism Works off the ground in the UK, it certainly won't hurt to spread our brand awareness internationally, in which Garry, with his passion for social media use can play a part, together with the creative flair that our Marketing Intern from Newcastle University Sumanjeet has brought to Autism Works, can hopefully help us to win contracts from software development companies.
To sell our technical services in the UK and overseas, we are focusing on both the unique abilities that adults with an ASC can bring to software testing and also that, not being a software development company, we are able to look at and test software from an independent perspective, which can often be more effective than companies testing their own software. Using another mindfulness analogy, we so often find ourselves carrying out tasks on 'automatic pilot' because we get lost in the working practices of the organisation. Like with Asperger's Syndrome, when we see things through a system, or in the case of Asperger's Syndrome, a set of diagnostic criteria, it can condition us to the extent that we often 'miss' certain details. Similarly, such minor errors within software can often go amiss when doing it from the template or system in which the software is designed.
Such outside-the-box thinking can take quite some effort, but opening up to the way that people with Asperger's Syndrome think can often enable it, as Grayson has found out from the Awareness Training course that he has just completed this week and I have found out from the funding bid I have been working on. Being a learning grant, the Adult and Community Learning Fund is different to previous bids that I have worked on in the sense that we need to sell our application on the training aspect of Autism Works, the ISEB Foundation Certificate, which is an industry-recognised qualification. When you have been used to writing bids in a particular way, you often forget to review it through the eyes of those who allocate the grants.
Elsewhere, Dan is continuing to make excellent progress with the new Autism Works website, including linking this blog to it. In the meantime, continue to watch this space for more developments at Autism Works.