Interview With An Incredible Kids Playworker #2

Incredible Kids Playworker Standing Next to a Playtray

Why did you want to work as a playworker at Incredible Kids?

I’ve always worked with children, either babysitting or child minding. I really loved looking after children and I started to look for a job that fit similar criteria. Luckily for me Incredible Kids popped up in my search and it was just perfect!

What do you love most about your job?

I love the friendships you build with the children. It’s lovely when you can talk to them and get to know them, especially some of the older children.

Also when the children start coming to Incredible Kids they are usually really shy and worried about coming. However it’s great to see them a few weeks later when they’re more comfortable and confident with us. They begin to open up to us and we get to see them enjoy themselves.

Which was your most memorable moment at Incredible Kids?

All of the amazing parties Jeanna puts on are always memorable. My favourite memory of Incredible Kids is probably our Christmases with Santa and our decorations as everything looks so beautiful and the children love it.

How has working as a playworker at Incredible Kids changed you?

I think working at Incredible Kids and with my great team has made me more open minded seeing different people from different backgrounds. It’s also made me better at communicating with people and my time here has inspired me to work with children when I finish my education. 

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

When I’m not working, I like to be creative. I like things like painting, drawing and making things. I love that Incredible Kids supports any child that liked being creative too, there’s always something there for them to do.

Also, when I’m not at work I’m studying. I just finished college this summer and I’m starting university this September which I’m very excited about!

If, after reading how much fun we have at Incredible Kids it’s made you want to work with us, just take a look here for more information.

Autism and Employment

What I Want Employers To Know – From An Autistic Perspective

Two people walking to work with images of a clock and cogs in the background.

Seeking employment can be a minefield for anyone with autism and only 15% of people with autism are in full-time employment.

Social communication, jobhunting, interviews, maintaining employment and sensory sensitivities in the workplace are a few challenges that may be faced.

Hints and Tips

Below are my personal 6 pointers that I feel could a) help autistic job hunters navigate the job market, and b) businesses create a supportive employment experience for their autistic employees:

1. One to one support with a careers advisor would be beneficial when job hunting as it can be hard to decide what sector to work in. I am skilled at written communication and ICT and am extremely ambitious to provide appropriate support to people with autism. However, my extreme anxiety and communication difficulties makes it challenging for me to find suitable jobs.

2. I think job interviews can often be a daunting prospect because of anxiety and dislike of unpredictability. I would need support by having mock interviews with trusted people to ensure I have strategies to manage my anxiety and build my self-esteem. It would help to have a list of interview questions beforehand from the employer so I would know what type of questions to expect.

I would appreciate the employer giving me extra time to process information during the interview too. Having a friend to come with me to the interview would be useful too. A good idea is to allow me to complete a series of work experience where I can practically show my skills (as opposed to explaining answers during a competency based interview – as this is something I find difficult).

3. Setting up a buddy system would be incredibly useful to provide me with support in communicating with others and help by explaining tasks during the working day. I would need on-going support from a supervisor as I would need additional time to adjust to the working environment and to understand my responsibilities.

4. Having written instructions or video instructions of how to complete the tasks would be good to have as I can struggle to remember things, especially when concentrating on a specific task or feel overwhelmed.

5. It would help to be introduced to all members of staff beforehand as this would reduce my anxieties. Everyone should be made aware of my autism and how it affects me individually. The manager needs to be aware of the reasonable adjustments that should be in place for employees on the autism spectrum.

6. A reduced timetable/part-time position may help at the beginning to reduce anxiety and ease me into the bustling work environment. I get anxious very easily, particularly when communicating with new people that I don’t know well. I struggle to know what to say when asked questions as I’m put on the spot. Social situations can be frightening, overwhelming and exhausting therefore, a part-time position would benefit me greatly.

Focusing on the positives

Please focus on my strengths in the workplace. I have excellent written communication skills and ICT skills, organisation and meeting deadlines. I am enthusiastic and proactive and put a lot of effort into everything that I do. I need these strengths to be considered and celebrated!

I hope my tips are useful for anyone who is autistic is thinking about entering the world of work as well as for companies who have recognised their responsibilities in the workplace and want to understand and offer support for autistic job seekers and employees.  

Written by Lauren

Incredible Activity Pack

Lockdown and summer holidays provides a lot of time to fill. Not everyone has the natural talents of Mr Maker or Mr Tumble so we thought we would make our own activity pack to give you activities to keep your family engaged and busy over the summer.

Our playworkers have put their best creative hats on and designed our Incredible Activity Pack with 86 pages of ideas. Each activity has been given a handy guide to help you find the ones most likely to appeal to your family.

Please let us know what you think of the activities and send us your pictures of your Incredible Mr Makes!