When I first started my work placement, I went with a readiness to learn. I was looking to improve what skills I already had and develop new ones. After completing my initial self-assessment, I could see the skill and qualities I had that would help to meet the needs of the service users’ and also some that I would need to work on. One of my qualities is that I am patient. Having patience is very important when working with people with Autism as they often need time to process what is being said to them and you can find yourself having to repeat yourself. You also have to give them time to tell you what they need in a way that they can. I also feel that I am friendly and respectful to service users’ and staff which is important when developing a care relationship as it can help to build up trust. I have maintained a positive attitude throughout my placement and accepted each service user for their individuality. In my work placement, effective communication with the service user is most important. Each of the service users’ have different levels of understanding and different ways of communicating, it is important that I could communicate with each service user in a way suitable for them. I sometimes found communication difficult to begin with, especially with the service users’ who cannot talk, as I was not sure if they understood what was I was saying. I also found it difficult to carry on talking to them as it seemed like I was getting no response. However, through time I learnt that these service users’ could understand what I was saying to them and I began to notice little signs and gestures that told me they were listening. I also became more aware of signs that could tell me how the service users’ were feeling, for example, recognising when they were becoming anxious.
I feel that through communicating with the service users’, my understanding of their non-verbal communication has greatly improved which was important for me to contribute to meeting their needs. Observation is a good skill to have when working with people with Autism as it is important to be aware of anything that might trigger any reactions and to do your best to avoid these. Some things cannot be avoided and you have to be able to pick up on any behaviour that may lead to an outburst. It is best to try to divert the service users’ attention to something they find enjoyable or diffuse any situations that may arise. I have improved in my ability to remain calm or at least appear calm when I do not feel it and I have become more assertive, although there is still room for improvement. It was also be useful for me to develop leadership qualities as I do not feel that I do this, I prefer to be told what to do which is not always helpful to the client group.