Alison Briers is Training Co-ordinator at the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) in Glasgow. She is responsible for developing and delivering autism training to Professionals, Parent/Carers and individuals with autism who want to find out about their condition. Alison was nominated by her friend Ruth as an Autism Champion. We asked her to tell us more about her role.
I was somewhat surprised and humbled to hear about my nomination, which was unexpected. I am delighted to be nominated as an Autism Champion.
As Training Co-ordinator, I find that professionals do not always have the skills to work with those on the Autism Spectrum and adults with autism will often approach ARC for support. Along with my colleagues, I give advice and support to those adult service users who seek it.
You can see the tiers of training for which I am responsible outlined in this diagram: ARC E-Learning Pyramid
I have worked in autism for 24 years and in ARC for 7 and a half years.
Alison was nominated by her friend Ruth, who has first-hand experience of the benefits of Alison’s work. She told us, As well as training hundreds – possibly thousands! – of people around Greater Glasgow and Clyde, she goes above and beyond her role as training coordinator to help many individual adults on the autism spectrum – including me. She sorts out practical issues, offers reassurance when we’re anxious about something, accompanies us to doctor and hospital appointments, talks to us via email and phone, organises shopping trips when we’re feeling too low or anxious to go to the supermarket ourselves, takes us out for coffee when we’re stressed, works out strategies and timetables for us and is just generally a wonderful, kind person. She even used to take time out of her day after work to take a small group of us swimming – although unfortunately due to time constraints she has had to give that up. All of this is done in her own time outside of her incredibly full timetable of training work. She is the only training coordinator for the whole Greater Glasgow and Clyde area so she is an extremely busy person!
Alison has recently been helping me cope with filming and interviews – the autism e-learning course that Alison wrote (and that I helped develop and illustrated) has been nominated for a Glasgow City Council Flourish Award, so we’ve had to be filmed and interviewed. Normally I would panic about things like that, but Alison helped me a lot – despite being a bit nervous about being filmed herself!