This week I have to attend a training course. I do not do courses. I don’t like them. I really don’t like them. This evening I have been trying to do the prep work that is required. One meltdown later, i have calmed down a little but it has got me thinking. What is it about conventional training that sends my stress levels so very high even before I get to the course.
Let me try and break it down for you
- The total lack of control I feel
Its well documented that us non typical types don’t like change we have no control over. So in a course environment you have to deal with a change in location, a change in people, a change in the day to day routine, change in expectations, change in meal times and food options, change in hours. All this along side not actually being able to be in control of anything yourself. Often, not even when to go get yourself a coffee. Lack of knowledge of whats actually going to happen during the course also plays heavily into this. Am i going to be made to speak, present without time to plan. Will i have enough spoons left by then?
2. The prep that takes me much much longer than billed
1 hour prep, that’s all that’s required, don’t go mad, but don’t come in empty handed. Now I’m not an idiot. I understand 1 hours prep is never 1 hours prep and i try really hard to make sure i have enough time. But i am still autistic, so once i get through my hour and ive read 15 of the 48 pages of slides that come before you DO the preparation task i start to get stressed. By the time i am 2.5 hours into just reading the slides, i really am getting really stressed. 3 hours in, and i get to trying to do the assignment. But by then my senses have been assaulted with information that no longer makes any sense and im heading for full on meltdown
3. The inconsistencies and gaps in the material
Trainers expect you to overlook small mistakes, or they introduce errors to catch you out. They expect you to make things up or make assumptions where there are gaps in the information. I HAVE ASPERGERS (note in interchange the terms Aspergers and Autism. I haven’t yet decided which it is i’m comfortable with), inconsistencies and gaps in detail DRIVE ME TO DISTRACTION; and further fuel the meltdown that’s already going on because of the information and the prep timing.
4. The complete fear of getting it wrong. I don’t believe in safe environments. Nowhere in a neurotypical environment can be considered as safe
This is a safe environment for you to learn in. Do people actually believe that statement? I will never willingly risk standing in front of a group of people I don’t know and risk doing or saying something wrong. I’m not sure if the utter stress of this scenario is something related to me being autistic or whether its stress everyone feels when you might get asked to do something down right unpleasant!
5.The dread of a room full of people I don’t know. they will want to shake hands, make small talk and of course the utterly soul destroying “icebreakers”.
I know i will walk into the room with my hands firmly rammed into my back pockets and quickly replace them with a full cup of coffee. Its a defence mechanism for all the hands that are going to be flying around. But whats worse is that they often don’t just leave it at the mingling. They have to come up with some stupid cringe generating icebreaker (see point above about safe environments and doing unpleasant things!!!)
So, bang goes all my spoons just in time to start the actual learning! The trouble for me is, nobody in the room will know i have Aspergers. That’s a situation I have created by not telling them and giving them the opportunity to support me through the process.
Wish me luck! i’m going to need it…………………..
Edit : just to say I think it’s going ok. I haven’t been told off, and there has been no melt down(if you ignore the huge one last night). I tend to go into over exuberant mode when i’m nervous and disruptive when i’m bored. Lets hope day two goes as well. But i am utterly shattered now!