I’m Nigel Tremain and I work at RUAH doing mental health support.
One of the key things for me in supporting people is sitting down and listening to them, what they want, what they want to achieve. Then I connect them with the people who can help them achieve those goals. I’ve been told that I have an ability to see where a person is at, and I’m not intrusive.
The main thing you need in this job is compassion. Compassion I think is something that comes from within. I treat people with respect, value them for who they are and that usually ends up with a connection with them. People respond to knowing someone is genuinely interested and cares.
Going through what I’ve been through helps me connect with them too.
I wasn’t diagnosed with autism till I was 55. Before my burn out, and then diagnosis, I used to be a nurse for around 20 years. I loved it. Nursing combined my liking of people with science. I liked being in contact with people and helping them get well. I was what they call a generalist. I put my hand to just about everything.
When I was getting well again, I was studying community services and youthwork. With the support of my supervisor, I went and saw a psychiatrist and was diagnosed. It actually confirmed a lot of things that were happening in my life .
I have never been able to land a job by interview. Every time I went for a job, they wanted to do formal interviews and a lot of them were very complex, and it made it very difficult to convey what I knew. It doesn’t say autism on my CV, but with the job I have now, I was open with my employer. I did a work trial, and they could see my ability.
That held true in my previous career in nursing too. I’d offer my services as a casual worker and very soon after that I’d be employed.
People with disability have got so much to offer and they know themselves.
I’d like to see employers offering people different ways to show their skills and talents, like a work trial or casual employment, rather than just by interview.
When I get up in the morning I want to go to work because what I do is valued. I see myself doing this work as long as I can.