The autism champions are a working party at Little Gate who meet every 3 months. The purpose of Little Gate’s Autism Champions is to try small, manageable changes to our practice and processes to help make things as accessible as possible for our trainees.
In the past changes have included creating an easy-read information sheet for trainees about Access to Work, taking photos of workplaces when setting up with new employers, and creating handover sheets.
Each meeting has its own topic (the topic for the last meeting was ‘decision making’), and the autism champions choose some improvements to try out which relate to this topic in some way.
They review the actions at the beginning of the next meeting and share what they have learnt with the staff at Little Gate and now here, on this blog.
Who are the autism champions?
The autism champions are a mix of people from across the organisation:
Andrea – CEO
Biff – Employer Training Officer
Chloe – Trainee
Emily – Young Rangers Support Worker
Jess – Skills Coach
Leah – Team Coordinator
Nancy – Team Coordinator
Paul – Job Coach
Rob – Employer Engagement Officer
Tracey-Anne – Events and Community Fundraiser
The topic at the last autism champions meeting was ‘decision making’. This was mainly because Biff could not decide what topic to focus on!
Here are the actions from last meeting:
- Develop questions to give a story-telling way of asking for feedback from trainees about how things are going at the workplace, rather than asking for ideas/opinion
Send out something to all staff with top tips for making decision-making easier for trainees
Chloe and Jess –
- Order whiteboards and pens for every group
- Talk to the farm staff about what activities will be happening in their areas on the next plan (seasonal activities).
- Get feedback from the farm staff about what “regular” activities happen in different parts of the farm. Take photos of the regular activities.
- Talk to the farm staff about what activities will be happening in their areas on the next plan (seasonal activities) so that trainees know what activities will be happening in different groups.
Emily and Paul –
- Make some Widgit cards to help shier/non-verbal young rangers be able to choose and take part in activities
Leah and Nancy –
- Talk to job coaches about booking time outside of the workplace to talk to trainees about reviewing their jobs.
- When at the farm, plan for TCs to have lunch hour 12:00-13:00 so that they do not need to use a room at 12:30 when trainees start lunch.
- Get feedback from employers within 2 weeks of new placement starting
- Extend the timeline for communication with trainees about private events.
- Talk to farm team about planning in time so that the training for the events could be part of the 8 week plan.
- Update Access to Work team and Team coordinators so that they have ample time to arrange paperwork and staffing
We will turn the minutes and actions from the next meeting into a blog post so that our learning can be shared with not only just Little Gate staff, but with trainees, parents, carers, and partner organisations.