Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | January 6, 2021

The manager as coach: tuning into and exploring metaphors with clean language

A very good article. Language can be unclear metaphors can help.

Elisabeth Goodman's Blog

By Elisabeth Goodman, 16th December 2020

I had the opportunity to attend Judy Rees’ Metaphorum annual digital conference this year as a volunteer co-organiser. Now in it’s fifth year, and unlike many conferences that have been organised this year, Metaphorum has always operated on a digital platform. It was fascinating to see all the ground-breaking online techniques that Judy and the team were using to create as collaborative and participative an experience as possible.

More importantly though, Metaphorum is an opportunity for those practising and / or interested in Clean Language and metaphors to learn from and share ideas and experiences with each other. The approach to the conference was that people could suggest topics that they were interested in hearing about or facilitating, and then choose which of the multiple parallel and successive sessions to attend through the full thirteen hours of the event.

Being new to the conference…

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Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | November 18, 2020

GEM Talk – Free event

GEM Talks is a multi-speaker event which will provide you with positive practical steps to create positive changes to thrive in 2021

About this Event

GEM Talks – Thrive in 2021

Grow (on the inside)

Expand (beyond your limits)

Maintain (take consistent action)

We can agree it has been a strange year, right? We want to make sure that 2021 is THE year for you.

◻️ Would you like to start 2021strongly?

◻️ With clear focus to achieve your goals and peace of mind?

◻️ Would you like to thrive in 2021?

Gem Talks is all about YOU having a strong finish to 2020 and preparing for 2021

We want to support you to have exactly that! Success, focus and peace of mind.

Gem talks is a live and interactive day which is delivered as virtual conference.

There will be over 10 experts speaking throughout the day, all bringing not only insights but practical and implementable steps.

Each expert has been chosen because of their deep knowledge and expertise in the topic they will be speaking about.

This is all about bringing you value so you can finish the year strong and prepare for 2021.

What you will gain by attending:

• Powerful tools to maintain and develop a clear mind

• Strong insights and actionable steps to grow your business

• Deeper insight into how to be a leader in world as it stands today

How it will work:

Once you buy your ticket we will send you the zoom link for your session.

Once your session is finished you are welcome to stay on or carry on with your evening.

I will be speaking on how to increase the talent in the work place. Please look at the other speakers too.

Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | August 31, 2020

Mental Health and Well-being Summit – starting 1 September

I am speaking at a summit. I will be speaking on autism and work, and how to get and keep autistic people in the workplace, and thus use our skills.

The other talks will also be well worth seeing and you will learn a lot. Please click on the link below.

Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | July 8, 2020

What are the Indications of Aspergers Syndrome — Free PLR Articles

Individuals with Aspergers syndrome are on the higher end of the spectrum. Usually these issues are first observed when a kid starts school. The child can have all the indications of Aspergers, or only a few. Here are some of the common indications of Aspergers syndrome. 1. Have a tough time talking to other kids. […]

What are the Indications of Aspergers Syndrome — Free PLR Articles
Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | July 8, 2020

Understanding Echolalia and Autism — Speaking of Autism…

Time for another installment in my “Understanding ‘X’ and Autism” posts, for all of those people out there trying to learn more and/or better understand their autistic friends and loved ones. For today’s post, we’ll start with a story. The scene is about two years ago, December of my sophomore year of high school. Every […]

Understanding Echolalia and Autism — Speaking of Autism…
Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | July 7, 2020

Accessing the Autistic Skill Set 3. Ripening and Growing Part 2

I have previously given some ideas how to further understand and respect autistic people and their unique skill and build on this further. Here are some further tips to help ripen and grow them.

4. Build mutual trust and respect

By getting to know us as we are, by working with us from where we actually are, rather than where you think we are, and understanding where we are we will trust you more, and communication will increase.

Consistency in your performance and instructions, to all staff will help. I have seen inconsistencies and decided to put off feeling trust in management as a result of inconsistency in instructions given, differing responses given to differing staff and directly conflicting instructions from different bosses. This made it impossible to grow and improve efficiently, and reduced trust within the team, where it was noticed.

5. Mentoring and other support

This should be with a trusted person, not automatically any line management, but could be from Human Resources (especially if experienced with disabilites), or other person, with clear, mutually agreed goals. If there is no trust or respect between the parties, sit down meetings, clear goals and reports the chances of success are quite low. The autistic person should have a say in the appropriate person, and feel able to trust them totally.

When done well, there should be mutual trust and respect relations will succeed and there will be freedom of communication, and increased trust and respect on both sides.

6. Building up confidence

The actions above should help with

a/ SMART, clear goals – clear, measurable goals

b/ Clear, positive feedback, stating why the action was good, when. Comments like ‘At times’ with little specific information as to when and little or no indication of remedial action, or chance to discuss generally reduce confidence.

c/ Constructive feedback where there were issues –

Good/Bad/Good, so it ends on a positive, all issues having been clearly discussed, with clear goals for improvement.

Another approach which encourages discussion of areas of challenge could be – ‘I noticed you did this at this point, and it lead to this happening. Maybe if you try it that way, it might work better. What do you think?

This opens dialogue more than ‘You did this, which was wrong, do it better/differently in future’. This ends on a negative note, and is more likely to reduce/shut down future communication where low levels of confidence already exist as a result of previous experience.

I have had my confidence destroyed as a result of some of the actions above, leading to lack of clarity of expectations as I felt unable to communicate with management. As a result I have told you can build on the confidence of the person with autism, to avoid this happening to others.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like more information. Look out for my next post. It will be worth it.

Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | July 7, 2020

Why do so many autistic people chew on things? — Speaking of Autism…

Find out why do so many autistic people chew on things.

Why do so many autistic people chew on things? — Speaking of Autism…
Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | July 5, 2020

Why I can’t remember your name as an autistic person. — Speaking of Autism…

“What’s my name, Quincy?” … “Come on, we’re in the same English class, how can you not know who I am?” This has become a common interaction for me at school recently, ever since it became widespread knowledge that “Quincy can’t remember anyone’s name.” I get stopped a lot with people asking me the same […]

Why I can’t remember your name as an autistic person. — Speaking of Autism…
Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | July 3, 2020

Accessing the Autistic Skill set 4. Reviews and Reflection Part 2

Reviews are an essential part of building companies and employees to perform at their best. However they can be very stressful as I said in my last blog. Especially for autistic people, many of whom have struggled to keep work, possibly due to poor reviews due to symptoms and misunderstandings. I was only diagnosed with ASD, autism spectrum disorder, after workplace reviews. I was not the first. I will not, I am sure, be the last. The diagnosis brought me great relief.

Last time I discussed, Support, Preferences of feedback, recording, and information provided in advance. This does take time, but it will really help all parties.

Some other issues to be considered as part of the review system, based on my experience are

5. Clear Positives and areas to improve

Some of this was covered in Ripening and Building, but worth covering here too. How feed back is given on particular areas. Areas of good performance and why it was good provide a solid foundation to build on. Areas of improvement should be clear, why they are considered poor and discuss how to improve. Training, internal or external may help, including Access to Work, or support from charities.

Summarise these at the end, leaving on a clear positive note. This could be as simple as we can see you are doing well here etc. There are areas to improve on here. We know working together you will make it. Well done. We now want to try, and know what to do. Rather than only words a barchart or diagram will clearly show level of performance and progress. A visual sign, with back up notes if required.

This will provide firm foundations of improvement. A more positive start point.

6. Clear questions and comments and clarifications

There will be a lot of talking, it is unavoidable. However by keeping questions clear, and clarifying what you mean if necessary, leading gently to the issue helps. We cannot read between the lines as to the required answers. I have had the experience of being asked a question, trying to answer it, being stopped, AGGRESSIVELY I felt . I am now feeling scared. Asked it again, trying to answer it again, stopped again, AGGRESSIVELY I felt. I am now feeling very scared, finally being asked it again, giving VERY confused and scared, the precise answer wanted, in the manner required. They displayed their anger at my earlier incorrect responses and how they were not delivered succinctly enough. Did I trust that person again? No. Did I want to speak to that person again? No. They later acknowledged my first answer was relevant. My trust and respect was not restored in that person however. This negatively affected my working relationship with them, and indeed the rest of that meeting.

So what you think, or the desired answer may not be what you get first time. Seek clarification, follow up, lead, acknowledge the answers, nicely.

This leads on to the next point.

7. Our thinking process

Our answers may not be clear in response immediately. It can, according to Tony Attwood take up to a minute for an autistic person to respond, and we may talk around the subject, struggling to find the right word. This is where having support helps us. They can help clarify if necessary. The short delay for the answer, rather than just rushing in is worth it.

I do emphasise that this does not mean we are not intelligent. It means our brains operate differently. Be patient with uncovering our thoughts and processes, display this and our confidence will grow, and our wonderful talents can help companies, especially during and post COVID-19. The wait is worth it.

8. Review reports and follow up meetings to discuss

Whoever writes these up, they should be discussed, and amendments made if necessary. If there are note takers at review meetings this should ensure an accurate report, with which both parties are happy with. Either way they should be mutually agreed and signed off. I have been in situations where they were not, but management did not seem concerned, adversely affecting the review process.

This is where reflection time and discussions matter. For the performer it shows their view point is important and everything is clear. Vague comments like ‘Mostly performed well but at times….’, ‘lots to work on’ but insufficient details are too vague to be helpful, with the negative aspects counting over any positives. They must be clear and management happy to discuss any issues you have, until there are no issues. Where this has happened, regularly with some managers, I have lost confidence in myself and trust in them.

Clear, SMART goals, with clear, timely feedback, good and bad, delivered well can really help improve performance and confidence between meetings. What company would not want this?

The result of reviews poorly carried out could be – Loss of employee engagement, poor performance, unhappy staff and departments, high stress levels, increased absence due to health issues, loss of communication and possibly disciplinary or other review processes. All of this could be time consuming and expensive and still result in the loss of skills and knowledge. Not desirable for any company wanting to grow especially in this time of lockdown and Covid-19, and uncertainty still ahead of us.

So to recap, it is important with reviews to be clear on levels of performance, clear questions, recognition of our thinking process and review reports. As an Autistic person I have requested support for reviews, it is on my personnel file. I am sure it will help me a great deal to grow within my work.

Some of this may seem time consuming and yes, it will take extra time. However, staff are the main cost in the company. Invest well and we as your investments will grow. Don’t CLAM us up in the Review process, CALM us down, and we will perform well. Remember, treat everyone as individuals and adapt to our needs in this area.

I hope you enjoyed that and have learnt something. I have lots more information to come. Please post in comments if you have any questions or would like to know more about Autism.

If there are areas you feel would be useful to cover contact me and I will be happy to discuss these. My wish is to help autistic people and companies work together for the benefit of all. Working together we could make an awesome team.

Posted by: Jo Farmer - The Autistic Mouse | July 3, 2020

Who am I ???

Very good, I don’t like bright lights either and just like comfortable clothes. Masking to fit in is exhausting.

OldLady With Autism

Finding your authentic self after diagnosis

There has been much discussion lately, in the online forums I attend , about masking and finding one’s own identity.
How to drop the mask and be more authentic? How to know who I really am beneath all the adaptive and self protective behaviors I have learned over my lifetime? How do I know which parts are “real” and which parts are camouflage for self protection or ease of coping?

I was at a loss for a long time about these questions. For me a lot of these questions did not apply because as I had aged, I had adjusted my style of dress, my social behavior, my willingness to put up with discomfort, etc.
I had become more authentic to myself for the most part before I learned of my autism.

It might be a process of ageing that we become less willing…

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