Darius Turner, 20, is among many Australians living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, commonly known as Autism. Darius was referred to Global Skills Disability Employment Services (DES) program as a job seeker and is now a full-time Customer Service employee.
In recognition of World Autism Day, 2 April, Darius generously shares his story. He credits the support of our DES team with his sustained employment. He describes how he navigates workplace challenges and explains how his unique skillset is beneficial to his role.
On joining Global Skills DES in July last year, Darius was connected with Employment Consultant Scott Morton. In October, he landed a customer service role at Mimco, Penrith. He transferred across to the company’s Politix store when they opened in Penrith the following month. Darius has sustained full-time work, saying “The support I received from Scott and the DES team has helped me navigate the work space. They have provided the tools and support to allow me to deal with situations that I find overwhelming.”
Darius details the unique challenges he faces at work and expands on the support our DES team provides.
“Due to my Autism, I take in everything in my environment around me all at once to the most minute of details. This can cause a sensory overload in certain situations, such as when there’s a large crowd of customers. This increases my anxiety and creates a snowball effect where it keeps piling up. It’s the same thing but it gets progressively worse.
Also, due to my Autism, every single thought that goes through my head is four dimensional. I have multiple thought tracks going at once. Mostly I can deal with them but when I’m really busy, they can become overwhelming.
One of the coping strategies provided by Global Skills which really helps is ‘tunnel vision’. When I start to get worried, I focus really hard on one thing, get it done, then move onto the next.
“I used to have a lot of social challenges, sometimes I still do. I might stumble in a conversation or miss social cues but I’ve made a conscious decision to expand my comfort zone and I am finding it easier. My social skills have improved enormously and Scott has helped me apply those skills to the workplace and make sense of certain social cues.”
Darius says that living with Autism also has benefits. He describes the unique skills he brings to his clothing retail role.
“I have a very keen attention to detail. When I look at a customer, I take in every single facet of their features, eyes, height, hair colour, everything and I sort through in my head what we have that would suit them. I can picture in my head how it will look without them having to try it on. I can formulate multiple ideas in my head for what works and I am frequently told that I am great at customer service.”
On living with Autism, Darius says, “I learnt to live with Autism I suppose. I just tried to take the best aspects of it and apply it to my life. It’s definitely made life much easier for me.”
Congratulations on your ongoing employment Darius and thank you for sharing your story.
If you are a job seeker living with a disability, our DES team can support you into meaningful and sustainable employment. For more information go to globalskills.com.au/disability-employment-services
If you would like more information on Autism, go to aihw.gov.au