Job Advice Sought

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superdrive1

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Evening all, I'm hoping everything I have typed in this post makes sense to you all and that you are able to provide me with help!

I'm at one of life's many crossroads, with my 2nd year IT course due to be finished at college within the next week and me currently on track to leave with the top 'distinction star' grade for the course, I need to make a decision on what I do next.

I have noticed that Greater Anglia have recently put up job postings for gateline staff at London Liverpool Street station and also for ticket clerks at a variety of stations. (Harlow Town, Southbury, Cambridge, Edmonton Green, Walthamstow Central, Hackney Downs and White Hart Lane)

Therefore I have a variety of questions about what these jobs may involve, the interview process etc, which I'm hoping you will be able to answer for me, and in turn hopefully give me a clearer idea on where my future lies.

1. Are there any age restrictions or specific qualifications that would be required to apply for either job? This is bearing in mind that I had exetremely poor GCSE grades. However, since then I have managed to gain Functional Skills Maths (Level 2 I think) and Functional Skills Maths Level 2 as well as the 2 IT qualifications that I also have from college.

2. In a link to the question above, I would assume that Greater Anglia would provide training for both jobs? Unless they are expecting all those who apply to already have experience?

3. If in the event that I applied for the job and managed to get an interview, what should I expect to be asked and what should I ask them? Also I assume that there would have to be a medical, so what would this involve?

4. I have a mental disability in the form of Aspergers Syndrome which does affect my social ability and can cause severe levels of personal anxiousness to me at times, however I can most of the time control both to a level which isn't noticeable. Is this something I should make clear to Greater Anglia in any application form? And would they be able to provide me with some sort of personal assistance (e.g. A member of staff to keep a close eye on me) to help me should I get a job with them? Or would such a disability be curtains on me getting either job?

5. In a kind of link to the previous question, would there be times in either job where I would be expected to work on my own? Or most of the time would I be around other people to provide assitance if required?

That's all I can think of in terms of questions for now, hopefully they are all clear and you are able to provide me with some answers to my questions as I need to know if my future does lie in working on the railway or if I need to look elsewhere!

Adam
 
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RailUK Forums

Clip

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Evening all, I'm hoping everything I have typed in this post makes sense to you all and that you are able to provide me with help!

I'm at one of life's many crossroads, with my 2nd year IT course due to be finished at college within the next week and me currently on track to leave with the top 'distinction star' grade for the course, I need to make a decision on what I do next.

I have noticed that Greater Anglia have recently put up job postings for gateline staff at London Liverpool Street station and also for ticket clerks at a variety of stations. (Harlow Town, Southbury, Cambridge, Edmonton Green, Walthamstow Central, Hackney Downs and White Hart Lane)

Therefore I have a variety of questions about what these jobs may involve, the interview process etc, which I'm hoping you will be able to answer for me, and in turn hopefully give me a clearer idea on where my future lies.

1. Are there any age restrictions or specific qualifications that would be required to apply for either job? This is bearing in mind that I had exetremely poor GCSE grades. However, since then I have managed to gain Functional Skills Maths (Level 2 I think) and Functional Skills Maths Level 2 as well as the 2 IT qualifications that I also have from college. No.

2. In a link to the question above, I would assume that Greater Anglia would provide training for both jobs? Unless they are expecting all those who apply to already have experience?Yes. All training will be given

3. If in the event that I applied for the job and managed to get an interview, what should I expect to be asked and what should I ask them? Also I assume that there would have to be a medical, so what would this involve? They will ask you standard interview questions about how you can demonstrate excellent CS and maybe give an example of when you have done that, the rest should be just basic information from you to get a picture of yourself and your personality. Your medical will be eyes ears d&A test blood pressure and your medical history.

4. I have a mental disability in the form of Aspergers Syndrome which does affect my social ability and can cause severe levels of personal anxiousness to me at times, however I can most of the time control both to a level which isn't noticeable. Is this something I should make clear to Greater Anglia in any application form? And would they be able to provide me with some sort of personal assistance (e.g. A member of staff to keep a close eye on me) to help me should I get a job with them? Or would such a disability be curtains on me getting either job?Inform them that you have this - there will be something on the form to indicate this. It will not be a barrier to you getting employment. This young man on this thread also has aspergers and he has given lots opf information about his attempts at gaining employment in a similar role

5. In a kind of link to the previous question, would there be times in either job where I would be expected to work on my own? Or most of the time would I be around other people to provide assitance if required?There most likely will be times when you work on your own both as a CSA and as a ticket office clerk. Is this a problem for you?

That's all I can think of in terms of questions for now, hopefully they are all clear and you are able to provide me with some answers to my questions as I need to know if my future does lie in working on the railway or if I need to look elsewhere!

Adam

I do not work for GA so my response to Q3 above is based on what I ask at interviews. To ask them a question or two I find i like the ones who ask about shifts and structure of the company and also maybe throw in about promotion too to show that you are keen and eager to progress and make a career out of it and not just a 'job'.

I wish you all the best with your application and maybe pop back with how you got on at the interview.

There will be others who will add to this thyread but do not hesitate to come back and ask as much as you want - I/we will endeavour to answer anything you may need answering.
 

E&W Lucas

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1,358
Adam,

I have a friend who has a teenage son with Asperger's, so have been able to gain some insight into the condition.

I am wondering what is attracting you to these roles, and I would urge you to consider if they would really suit you on a day to day basis.

Customer facing roles can be very high pressure, and can place you in challenging situations involving interaction with strangers, who can often be very agitated and distressed themselves. This is particularly true where the "routine" or "norm" has broken down, eg in times of disruption. You would have to be able to keep calm in the face of pressure from others, abuse, etc.

Make sure that you are going for work for which you are suited. You are obviously displaying a talent with maths and IT, so perhaps that is the avenue for you? Maybe a technical, rather than a "people person" career may be more suitable?
 

superdrive1

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2012
Messages
44
Location
In the East...
I do not work for GA so my response to Q3 above is based on what I ask at interviews. To ask them a question or two I find i like the ones who ask about shifts and structure of the company and also maybe throw in about promotion too to show that you are keen and eager to progress and make a career out of it and not just a 'job'.

I wish you all the best with your application and maybe pop back with how you got on at the interview.

There will be others who will add to this thyread but do not hesitate to come back and ask as much as you want - I/we will endeavour to answer anything you may need answering.
Thank you Clip, the answers and link to the other thread that you provided are extremely helpful. In response to you asking if I would find it a problem working on my own, most of the time I believe it would not be a problem, providing I actuallly knew what I needed to do. However, I would rather work with a group of people than be on my own.

Adam
 

142094

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Thank you Clip, the answers and link to the other thread that you provided are extremely helpful. In response to you asking if I would find it a problem working on my own, most of the time I believe it would not be a problem, providing I actuallly knew what I needed to do. However, I would rather work with a group of people than be on my own.

Adam
That may be the problem - as always the railways are very dynamic and it can go from being fine to complete chaos in the matter of minutes. At times like that you'd no doubt be forced to work alone and think on your feet, and as every situation is likely to be different, you might find there are times when training only goes so far and you have to deal with the situation there and then.
 

superdrive1

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Joined
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Messages
44
Location
In the East...
That may be the problem - as always the railways are very dynamic and it can go from being fine to complete chaos in the matter of minutes. At times like that you'd no doubt be forced to work alone and think on your feet, and as every situation is likely to be different, you might find there are times when training only goes so far and you have to deal with the situation there and then.
That's true though, I suppose if a major incident (such as a total signal failure) was to occur thus stopping trains from moving, then all staff members would more than likely need to split up to try and manage the situation as best as possible?

Adam
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Adam,

I have a friend who has a teenage son with Asperger's, so have been able to gain some insight into the condition.

I am wondering what is attracting you to these roles, and I would urge you to consider if they would really suit you on a day to day basis.

Customer facing roles can be very high pressure, and can place you in challenging situations involving interaction with strangers, who can often be very agitated and distressed themselves. This is particularly true where the "routine" or "norm" has broken down, eg in times of disruption. You would have to be able to keep calm in the face of pressure from others, abuse, etc.

Make sure that you are going for work for which you are suited. You are obviously displaying a talent with maths and IT, so perhaps that is the avenue for you? Maybe a technical, rather than a "people person" career may be more suitable?
Lucas, I think it's almost the whole challenging aspect of it that is appealing to me! Railways are one of my more expert areas along with computers and maths, and I enjoy being interested in all 3 of those. I almost feel that even though I do have Asperger's and can severely feel the stress and pressure of unfamiliar and difficult situations, if I could get some form of job involved in one of my interests then the pressure would counter-balance itself with some level of happiness because I would be involved in doing something that I have always been interested in.

All this will need further looking into, I'd love to think that my future does belong in working on the railways, but there's a lot of things that need to be looked into first.

Adam
 

142094

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That's true though, I suppose if a major incident (such as a total signal failure) was to occur thus stopping trains from moving, then all staff members would more than likely need to split up to try and manage the situation as best as possible?
You'd be in at the deep end and trying to deal with a lot of passengers on your own, who all expect you to have information to hand (of course the railways doesn't always work like that communication-wise, but you are the one who has to deal with it).
 

Simon11

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1,012
Hey

Have you thought about working in hq for a toc? You get the chance to work in the industry, working in an office with other colleagues and not having to deal with customers in a front line role.

Firstly, how about working in an it department?

You also mentioned that you are keen on maths and it. I personally work in the commercial department for a toc and my role includes reporting revenue figures, creating excel models to anlyse different part of the company and working with all the departments in the company.

Another role that you may enjoy is yield analyst. All tocs with advance tickets can have several yield analyst. Their role is to analyse reservations and using computer code apply rules to work out what price should be charged for that ticket.

Both these roles really lots of thinking to work out solutions and are very rewarding once you have solved the problem.

These sorts of role would require a degree ( or a few tocs offer placements), although some starter jobs just look for alevels - but you would need something to stand out from the field on your cv.

Any q's drop me a pm

Simon
 

superdrive1

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Location
In the East...
Hey

Have you thought about working in hq for a toc? You get the chance to work in the industry, working in an office with other colleagues and not having to deal with customers in a front line role.

Firstly, how about working in an it department?

You also mentioned that you are keen on maths and it. I personally work in the commercial department for a toc and my role includes reporting revenue figures, creating excel models to anlyse different part of the company and working with all the departments in the company.

Another role that you may enjoy is yield analyst. All tocs with advance tickets can have several yield analyst. Their role is to analyse reservations and using computer code apply rules to work out what price should be charged for that ticket.

Both these roles really lots of thinking to work out solutions and are very rewarding once you have solved the problem.

These sorts of role would require a degree ( or a few tocs offer placements), although some starter jobs just look for alevels - but you would need something to stand out from the field on your cv.

Any q's drop me a pm

Simon
Not really something I have considered Simon, simply because that kind of job is way too high up for me to reach, I'm not qualified to an A-Level standard, let alone a degree standard! I'm only just up to GSCE standard with a few extras in IT, so on that basis I assume I would have little to no chance of actually being able to get such a job!

Adam
 

E&W Lucas

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Lucas, I think it's almost the whole challenging aspect of it that is appealing to me! Railways are one of my more expert areas along with computers and maths, and I enjoy being interested in all 3 of those. I almost feel that even though I do have Asperger's and can severely feel the stress and pressure of unfamiliar and difficult situations, if I could get some form of job involved in one of my interests then the pressure would counter-balance itself with some level of happiness because I would be involved in doing something that I have always been interested in.

All this will need further looking into, I'd love to think that my future does belong in working on the railways, but there's a lot of things that need to be looked into first.

Adam
Careful! "Enthusiast knowledge" counts for nothing, and can even be counterproductive, especially if it comes over the wrong way in an interview.

None of the roles you have expressed an interest in actually get you anywhere near trains. They are customer facing, customer service positions. Seriously, they are not the place for someone with Asperger's.

If you are interested in things railway, want to be near the "railway" aspects of the job and if you haven't got much in the way of qualifications, why not try and get a shunter position? You'll be working with a small team, the job requires you to follow routines, and have attention to detail. Two of the "positives" of Asperger's I believe?
 

superdrive1

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Joined
15 Feb 2012
Messages
44
Location
In the East...
Careful! "Enthusiast knowledge" counts for nothing, and can even be counterproductive, especially if it comes over the wrong way in an interview.

None of the roles you have expressed an interest in actually get you anywhere near trains. They are customer facing, customer service positions. Seriously, they are not the place for someone with Asperger's.

If you are interested in things railway, want to be near the "railway" aspects of the job and if you haven't got much in the way of qualifications, why not try and get a shunter position? You'll be working with a small team, the job requires you to follow routines, and have attention to detail. Two of the "positives" of Asperger's I believe?
There we go then, shows what I know about railway jobs doesn't it?:oops: I'm obviously too keen for my own good!:oops: Yes, a shunter job does sound rather good as details and routines are probably 2 of the very few up sides to having Aspergers. Do these kind of jobs come around quite often or are they pretty hard to come by?

Adam
 

ungreat

Member
Joined
11 Nov 2006
Messages
765
Hey

Have you thought about working in hq for a toc? You get the chance to work in the industry, working in an office with other colleagues and not having to deal with customers in a front line role.

Firstly, how about working in an it department?

You also mentioned that you are keen on maths and it. I personally work in the commercial department for a toc and my role includes reporting revenue figures, creating excel models to anlyse different part of the company and working with all the departments in the company.

Another role that you may enjoy is yield analyst. All tocs with advance tickets can have several yield analyst. Their role is to analyse reservations and using computer code apply rules to work out what price should be charged for that ticket.

Both these roles really lots of thinking to work out solutions and are very rewarding once you have solved the problem.

These sorts of role would require a degree ( or a few tocs offer placements), although some starter jobs just look for alevels - but you would need something to stand out from the field on your cv.

Any q's drop me a pm

Simon
degrees...railways...oh dear .Thats where the railways went wrong.Employing people with no railway background into managerial positions.People should not manage what they do not understand.sorry but it doesnt work,never has,never will
 

wessexen

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5 Mar 2012
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43
Location
Chichester, West Sussex
Wow!! I can't believe I missed this thread, although I've been eyeing it up for the last couple of days. Anyway, I think it might be an idea if I rambled on a few-too-many-words.

Firstly, superdrive1, its funny how our interests are simliar to a degree, I recently completed a 3 year BSc degree, I guess I should be Wessexen(BSc). If you are interested in the details, I completed a course at the University of Portsmouth, in Computer Games Technologies (mainly on the programming pathway, so I know bits of C++ and the DirectX API... to the rest of you, it may not make sense.). The link is provided so you know what the course entails.

Interestingly, I also managed a few teams as well, while studying on the course as some elements required team work.


Thank you for linking to the thread I started, I am really happy that it is a useful resource and others can learn from it as well. :) As you say, AS really isn't a barrier if you think about it, its a hinder sight in one area, an incredible skill in another. Now presenting your incredible skill is the hard part, because they probably know its there, but to satisfy their criteria (explained later), they may have difficulties fitting it into a category.


Adam,I am wondering what is attracting you to these roles, and I would urge you to consider if they would really suit you on a day to day basis.

Customer facing roles can be very high pressure, and can place you in challenging situations involving interaction with strangers, who can often be very agitated and distressed themselves. This is particularly true where the "routine" or "norm" has broken down, eg in times of disruption. You would have to be able to keep calm in the face of pressure from others, abuse, etc.
Any customer facing roles can be stressful, so can facing the public on a daily basis when you aren't working. I just have the misfortune of being easily spotted since I have "the most interesting hair colour known to man and its natural", even though I joked about it to my assessor about "unnatural hair colours" which mine may fit in. :) Well, only 1% of people are naturally red and I might dye it if needed be to be less conspicuous.
The best way to deal with it, is to volunteer for a shop, I did and it was a learning process, so was the management who often joked "You'd be the death of me", referring to my rule following nature, I guess that's an AS thing. That is, following the rules to the exact letter. The managers have now changed, I have to a degree as well and I thought I'll be gone before the managers, how wrong I was.

Anyway, the experience you gain in voluntary work is valuable and will help you a lot with your competency questions in the interview, assuming that's how GA (is it still NXEA?) work.



That may be the problem - as always the railways are very dynamic and it can go from being fine to complete chaos in the matter of minutes. At times like that you'd no doubt be forced to work alone and think on your feet, and as every situation is likely to be different, you might find there are times when training only goes so far and you have to deal with the situation there and then.
Yep, and the chaos times are the fun ones. Even working in a shop can go from calm to chaos in a matter of minutes, where you are frantically tidying, dealing with customers and the like. What matters is how you handle it, crack under the pressure and it maybe a bad move, keep calm and do what you can, is the best you can do. The thing I don't have is radios and explaining to someone why a train is late. I guess thats where you have to say to the customer "I am very sorry for what has happened, but I will do my very best to find out whats happening." I really wanted to try that out at Chichester, just to see how good I was in handling the situation.

Careful! "Enthusiast knowledge" counts for nothing, and can even be counterproductive, especially if it comes over the wrong way in an interview.

None of the roles you have expressed an interest in actually get you anywhere near trains. They are customer facing, customer service positions. Seriously, they are not the place for someone with Asperger's.
Sorry, I highlighted it all in red that particular sentence because it is the complete opposite in my view. I am open and honest that I am a train enthusiast, my email signature shows it, my applications mentions it and what I do in my spare time and the interviewers are well aware of it.

In one of my recent ones, I was praised for my interest (which probably was "off the scale") and research of facts for the company, facts that even the other interviewer didn't know. The fact that I've made timetables in my spare time just for one line as a challenge, in Trainz, along with designing my own 3D models, probably has something to do with it. Why?

Because I think they are looking for someone involved in their interest that is willing to learn new areas like timetabling, diagramming, design, logistical operations, you get the idea. One thing I can't do is roster, because there isn't any staff to roster in the virtual world.

If I said "I'm a train spotter and I sit at the end of platforms taking numbers down, photographing trains as well", then what does that say about me? I'll spend my shift doing exactly that and ignoring every customer? Think about it. For me, I'm interested what 313201 for example, is, what it will be doing and what it can do, like, what is the performance like on fast services?




Big tips on applications:
"Give me 4000 characters and I'll write an essay", well OK, more like:
"Ask me to write a page and I'll write a book!". That is literally what it is like with me, the good news, is that I haven't had ANY rejections, because I wrote a book, that I am aware of.
Why? What can you say in 4000 characters? It is a lot you will be surprised to hear. My applications for South West Trains, went from 9 pages, to 11 or so on my third application and I still got a pretty much instantaneous pass in the screening process. At the moment, while everyone is waiting for a decision on their application for the "Graduate Management" position that SWT recently advertised, I know I will be offered an assessment already. I also got a response in 2 days for a Gateline Assistant, which I really was impressed about.

But, waffling like I am doing now is one thing. What you really need to do, is add a lot of quality, this includes perfect punctuation and I really need to find "Mr Grammar" for this. To cut a long story short, someone in a community introduced a fictitious character called "Mr Grammar" to help the forum members finding literature harder to grasp. I'm not perfect and I am sure no one is, because the English language is very complex with its rules on how you use words. Another tip is to print out or even copy and paste your blurb into a word processor (Like "Microsoft Word", "OpenOffice Write", "LibreOffice whatever-it-is", "WordPerfect" and the like) and do a read from top to bottom and ask yourself "Does it make sense?"
Don't be afraid to ask someone to proof read what you wrote as well, I did.

Also, keep it relevant to what you do and what your experiences are. Here is my example from an application (to which, I copied the first few lines.).

My main tasks and responsibilities for the (company name removed) is cleaning and working to a specification and additional duties set out by the duty manager. This includes team work
between the duty manager, the gym staff, the other cleaners and the supervisor to ensure that the cleaners effectively communicate, delegate, follow the rules, regulations and procedures set out by
management and solve problems with some areas of the club when required to clean those particular areas. The duties are often split between two sides, wet and dry, of which we either voluntarily assign
ourselves or decide upon ourselves what duties are to be done and by whom. This usually starts by going through a sheet that explains what has been missed.


If you wondering what I was talking about, I was referring to my duties I performed in my recent employment and you may well be asked for that.


Assessments:
Once you completed your application and it disappears into the sky, probably to be scored on keywords and the like. (That might be why my score maybe high.), filtered, screened and the like. Well, how do you get 300 candidates down to 10? Answers in a PM please. :) Just make sure its ethical and fair.

Then you are invited for an assessment and you'll notice a familiar theme, scoring. You will get scored on everything which is good.

I've done 3 assessments so far, one for a depot based role and 2 for a station based one. There also isn't a lot to say about them, except, practice, the sooner and more often, the better. Before the assessment, have a good night, it really does help and I noticed that as well. For some people, taking an assessment on 7 and a half hours is easy, not for me for some bizarre reason. When I was assessed with Southern for a PA, I found the first one easy but I wanted to sleep through the second one, I was fine when I got some coffee though.
Some assessments will take a long time, I was stuck in Knollys House for 4 hours or more, 1 1/2 was waiting with my massively oversized laptop which I won't carry again, because even the recruiter and everyone else couldn't believe how heavy my bag was.
Others are over in minutes, one at Overline House was just 2 8 minute tests. Of which, a further 30 minutes talking to a few candidates and done. Oh yes, break the ice when you first meet the candidates, when I had my South West Trains assessment, no one spoke a word before going into the assessment, it was soo quiet, you could hear a pin drop or my smaller laptop's fan whirring, whichever you found annoying.



Interviews:
They are surprisingly easy, if you know what is involved in an interview. From what I have seen, the interview sheet is just 2 printed sides of A4. The important part is that they ask you 3 to 5 questions and I believe you are scored on these questions, I am not sure if you are scored on anything else though, I'll ask on the next interview. However, basic interview tips applies here and I recommend reading this book:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Perfect-Interview-right-Random/dp/1905211740/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

It worked for me. To be honest, there isn't a lot said about the interview process, apart from the fact, you might find it gets real tight to decide which candidates to select on their scores. I appeared second best for one however.


The medical is from what I remember, very easy, I've only done it once with Southern though, its a series of questions about your health and a check of a few areas, as long as you are reasonably fit and healthy, don't abuse alcohol or drugs, you are fine. For my first and only time, it took them 3 weeks to get back to me to see if I passed the medical, they had to write to my doctors to ask how my Asperger's Syndrome affects me. Interestingly, despite having a history of depression, I passed easily. I guess that's because AS and depression often go together, its how its managed that matters.




I think I've covered everything, PM me if I have not. Also, feel free to share the knowledge, it may not be accurate, but it maybe helpful and vaguely in the right direction.

You know I said I'll write a book? I did just that. It took me an hour to write this, not good when I have to take my car in early the next morning when I write this, for a cambelt change, the little blue Clio is 15 years old and needs its third cambelt... or is it 4th? Either way, I know the last one was changed in 2002, when the life expectancy is only 5 years. Although, it hasn't done the mileage of 72,000 since the last change (which was at 62k), its only done 112 since.
Talking of cars, beaware when you are applying, some roles need cars if you live a fair distance away. Its easy to blag, I did for my first role as I didn't have a car then, but I did have a licence and I got out of it by saying "I would get a car". I ended up with one 4-5 months later anyway which I still have. I've had it for about 2 1/2 years now.
 

E&W Lucas

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Joined
21 Jan 2010
Messages
1,358
Wessexen - as you may have noticed above, I have a friend who has a teenage son with AS. Are you finding that it is possible to counter the effects of the condition by placing yourself in challenging situations?
Almost by training yourself to cope with them, as it were?
Do you feel that over time, you will be able to manage the condition, so that it will not be noticeable, or affect you significantly in your daily life?
 

wessexen

Member
Joined
5 Mar 2012
Messages
43
Location
Chichester, West Sussex
Wessexen - as you may have noticed above, I have a friend who has a teenage son with AS. Are you finding that it is possible to counter the effects of the condition by placing yourself in challenging situations?
Almost by training yourself to cope with them, as it were?
Do you feel that over time, you will be able to manage the condition, so that it will not be noticeable, or affect you significantly in your daily life?
Yes, to an extent, I don't like conflict, I will admit. But now I know the condition and understand it, I'm trying to work around it. There will be things like eye contact that is still difficult, fixed subjects and the like. I guess to a degree that it is a learning process, a life long one at that.

The problem is, the best way to learn is to really put yourself out there, I've managed 2 groups at uni with various results and I am capable of doing it, it just matters on the environment. I was sort of in a safe environment where I could talk to my lecturers about certain students like one I had who was quite simply, no use to any group with his laziness.
 
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