Defining support types.

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If i am feeling upset or muddled up, i often find it useful to start digging deep into the definitions of things. For example, i have specific definitions for autonomy and independence. Those defintions grew out of a desire to better express and understand how i was feeling.

This week i have been defining the different types of support i receive and what it means to me.

Sometimes i am being supported by a carer / support worker, other times i am being looked after by a friend / babysitter. These are different things. They cause different emotions and by defining them i hope i can better understand the emotions they cause.

Here’s the defintions i have landed on:

  1. Carers / Support Wokers - typically work with adults and come from an agency. They don’t tend to have any autism experience. They will tend to ask me to do things rather than tell me. Can be a bit clinical at times. They dont get involved beyond the tasks they are asked to do. This accounts for the majority of my routine.

  2. Friends / Babysitters - either know me already, or work mostly with autistic / SEN kids. They very much take control of the visit and “fill” the time. Following the routine but also getting involved directly in whats going on. They complete the tasks on my routine, but often suggest new things to do. This accounts for a small part of my routine.

It’s not a huge difference, but it’s an important one. I think both types of interaction make sense.

This has all become relevant because we have been trying to organise more support for me. We have some gaps to fill. I have the funding in place but it’s been hard to find agencies etc. The time we are trying to fill is variable and most agencies want more hours or more stable hours. Generally speaking none of the agencies have a clue about autism.

We have gone back to a method we used before. We have found someone who normally works with SEN kids and offered them the job. We have found a “babysitter” rather than a carer. In this case, someone who i met via my autism presentation work and have known for about a year.

I’ve been chatting to them for the last couple of weeks in preparation for the first visit tonight. It’s been really interesting to see the difference in attitude. Whereas the carers are keen to know what tasks are wanted, the babysitters tend to be more interested in knowing my goals.

In all i’m feeling pretty relaxed about the first visit. It’s going to be wierd to have a babysitter again, but it worked well last time and as a way of filling gaps it might fit the bill perfectly. If it doesn’t work, ah well, nothing ventured nothing gained.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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