Speakers - 2nd National Conference
Leith McMurray - Workplace Rejection
It is an unfortunate fact of life for adults with Asperger Syndrome that only 15% of “aspies” are, or ever will be, in employment, whether that be full-time and paid, through all types down to part-time and voluntary. Many aspies who make it into the workplace experience bullying and rejection and the experience can leave long-lasting scars. The new welfare reforms, originating in the UK and now heading our way, carry thunder clouds of doom and despair. Although the “reforms” in the UK have turned out to be a predictable disaster, New Zealand seems determined to repeat the experiment. Leith’s presentation comprises reflections of a more general nature about Aspies and employment, a short power-point presentation of some individuals talking about their experiences in and out of the workplace, and some further reflections on employment peer-coaching, such as the model being formed at Aspiehelp in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Leith McMurray - Bio
Leith McMurray, at 65 years of age, has finally discovered her vocation! Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2005, she has spent the intervening years reflecting, learning and developing skills in counselling. She formed “Aspiehelp”, a peer-support service, and “The Aspire Trust” with Jan Brooking in Christchurch, shortly after attending the AutismNZ conference in September 2010. Jan and Leith are both “hybrids” with a foot in each world, NT and Aspie, and are able to “translate across the divide” very effectively. Leith has written a chapter in Josie Montano’s forthcoming book “Autism All-Stars” (to be published in January 2012).
Leith has a B.A. in English and a (post-graduate) Diploma in Social Work, both from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. These qualifications were gained as an adult student after her studies were interrupted earlier by Life, the big one. Chronic depression and anxiety affected her for many years, but with diagnosis, appropriate medication and increased self-confidence, Leith is now a part of the “Aspie Revolution” in New Zealand – “nothing about us without us”.
Aspiehelp is currently working on a model for helping aspies into work with appropriate workplace supports and mentoring. Other projects in the future will include a respite facility, training modules for other service providers, and an “aspie village” for supported living.
Asperger Services Australia - PO Box 159 VIRGINIA QLD 4034 Australia - Tel:+61 7 3865 2911 - ASA Head Office Email