Friday 26 November 2010

Thinking outside the box

Welcome back to Adventures with Autism Works,

This week at Autism Works has offered plenty of challenges from designing an autism-friendly application form to coping with Arctic weather conditions! I have continued working on designing the application forms as well as drafting the guidance notes for applicants over the last few days, which is proving to be a hard yet very fulfilling, and at times, entertaining task. Most importantly though for me, from this task I am finding that there is so much that the eye doesn't see.

It may be assumed that being a person on the autistic spectrum, I shouldn't have too many problems being able to develop an autism-friendly application form. In my previous entry, I talked about the problem of not having any good practice examples of practice to build upon, but the other factor that makes the task difficult even as an individual on the autistic spectrum is being aware that whatever I include in the form may make sense through my own eyes, but may not through the eyes of others on the autistic spectrum. This is where the ESPA students can help when we eventually test the forms on them, possibly over the next two weeks.

A theme that was talked about at my meditation class earlier in the week was about seeing the fulfilment is undertaking and eventually completing a task, however challenging, in terms of what it will bring. In this case, an autism-friendly recruitment process. An aspect that meditation practice has really helped me with most of all though for the challenges that I am facing is being able to think 'outside the box'. Chances are that some of you reading this blog may have come across or attempted the nine dots puzzle where the challenge is to connect a square of nine dots, like the one below, using four lines.

For those who have attempted the nine dots puzzle, did you assume that the  answer lay within the square formed by the dots? Go on, admit it! Without giving too much away to those who haven't attempted it, you may want to look a little further.

These and other qualities from meditation practice are really helping me to enjoy the challenge that my duties at Autism Works are presenting. As well as the tasks that involve thinking outside the box, there are also those that require concentration and attention to detail, including updating the company database. From beyond the autistic spectrum, the tasks that require concentration and attention to detail may appear to be more 'in line' with Asperger's Syndrome than those that require thinking outside the box, but for me though, it is a good mix. When interchanging between different tasks, I am finding it helpful to start with a refreshed mind each time, as what it is that can so often block our thinking is when we become 'lost' or 'stuck' in something specific, including writing this blog entry!

From the early feedback on the application forms and guidance that I have put together this week, I feel that we are making progress, but the acid test though will come when we test them on the ESPA students. Be sure to revisit Adventures with Autism Works to see how the journey continues to unfold.


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