Personal Assistant/Life Manager for Autistic Adult. Job Ref: HK0721
• Committed to the role and able to find satisfaction in positive outcomes for those they support.
• Extremely detail focussed, and willing to re-visit tasks as often as needed in order to ensure that they are doing them exactly right – committed to maintaining a continual process of reviewing how best to tailor their work to meet the needs of those they support
• Exceptionally well organised, conscientious, hard-working and practical.
• Respectful of the rights of others and welcoming of the opportunity to empower autistic people to live the life they want, not the life others (including the PA/Life Manager) might choose for them.
• Able to communicate straightforwardly and clearly and constantly refine and adapt communication as needed to meet my communication needs
• Willing to revisit tasks as often as required in order to ensure that they are doing them in the way I need them to be done, while being able to deal with being corrected, and the fact that they might not always get things right, especially when they are new to the role.
• Resilient and able to respond positively to challenges.
• Extremely comfortable communicating by email and able to take in information well in written form.
• Able to stay calm and think clearly, even in stressful situations. This is a vital aspect of the job. My disability means that I find change, or unexpected events extremely stressful. I need my PA/Life Manager to support me to plan things in a way which minimises the possibility of stressful situations occurring. However, it is impossible to completely control this all the time, and it is essential that the people supporting me are able to remain calm in the face of unexpected or stressful events.
• Patient, tolerant and accepting of difference.
• Able to be comfortable around others without feeling the need to converse constantly.
• Extremely respectful of privacy and confidentiality.
• Self- confident and self-disciplined enough to work independently without constant guidance and supervision and comfortable with a high level of responsibility.
• Able to recognise if they may not remember things and reliably and consistently use their own systems (e.g. note taking) to compensate for that.
• Systematic and methodical in their approach to tasks.
• Extremely self-aware and analytical.
There is no such thing as the perfect PA/Life Manager However, if you have some of these qualities and aspire to others, please consider applying for this unusual post.
I am a busy, autistic, single mum of 2 autistic sons (both young adults). I live in the Lancaster area and the successful post holder will need to live locally to this area due to the requirements of the job.
I run my own small business and work full time, both from home and out of the home. In addition to that, I am involved in a diverse range of other activities.
I know exactly how I want to live my life, but I need a highly organised, reliable, responsible person to support me with the admin and organisation required in order to do that. You must understand the importance of supporting me to remain in control of my own life and make the decisions that I want to make, rather than those that others might choose for me.
There are already other support workers in different roles. However, this role involves taking primary responsibility for ensuring my support works well and helping me function well and get things done. The rewarding role is extremely varied, but always involves keeping track of numerous tasks and lists, juggling multiple responsibilities and priorities, responding to urgent needs, advocating on my behalf and overcoming obstacles! Although the majority of the hours in this post will be worked remotely, from home, you will need to come to my house (and other locations in Lancaster) regularly to accompany me to meetings and appointments, in order to discuss ongoing tasks and allocate new ones, and also to be available to pop to my house on occasion to do small jobs, such as dealing with urgent post which has arrived, or picking up some paperwork needed to do a particular task. The nature of the role means that at least some of the hours will need to be worked during office hours, in order to make phone calls. Many of the hours in this job can be worked at times to suit the employee. However, some availability will be needed on a minimum of 5 days per week and frequent monitoring of email and work phone for urgent issues is likely to be a necessity, requiring the postholder to have the ability to establish and maintain routines to protect their own work-life balance.
Typical tasks may include:
• Emailing information to me in a format which enables me to make a fully informed decision.
• Communicating with other people/agencies by telephone or email on my behalf (having ensured that you know exactly what I wish you to communicate to them) and then relaying details of that conversation to me by email.
• Assisting me with admin related paperwork such as form filling or dealing with incoming and outgoing mail.
• Drafting emails or letters for me to send
• Supporting me with some aspects of running my business, for example keeping track of expenses I need to claim or putting accounting related information in a format which I am able to understand (full training will be given for this).
• Supporting me to manage my team of support workers, including planning of rotas and allocating of shifts (while ensuring that my autonomy is protected at all times, and I have full input into this).
• Helping me to keep an overview of what is going on in mine and my sons’ lives, and spotting logistical problems which I may not be able to spot myself (for example, spotting that both I and my son might need my car, for separate activities, on the same day and helping me to come up with a solution to this issue).
• Supporting me to communicate, especially in difficult or stressful situations, intervening on my behalf and supporting as needed, whilst also ensuring that my views and wishes are accurately conveyed.
• Gathering information about topics I need to know more about (e.g. options when I need to purchase a new household appliance) and presenting it to me in a clear, simple format.
• Supporting me to solve problems and make decisions, by highlighting potential issues and acting as a sounding board, but without influencing my decisions.
There are other support workers to whom you can delegate some more straightforward tasks and tasks can, to some extent, be divided in a way which plays to each employee’s strengths. It is therefore likely that the successful applicant will not need to do all of the above tasks all of the time, but will need to retain an overview to ensure all tasks are completed satisfactorily.
Applicants must have experience of managing their own workload, and an extremely rigorous system for keeping track of, and managing, multiple tasks. A perfect memory is not required, a virtually perfect system for ensuring that absolutely nothing is overlooked and the willingness to constantly seek to improve that system is.
Applicants must be able to manage their own stress and work-life balance, be able to cope well with making mistakes and resolving problems, being clear and proactive in making requests and establishing ways of working to support this, whilst always being sensitive to and bearing in mind any impact on my quality of life.