Unexpected item in baggage area!
On Saturday evening I travel to the US by Skype to talk about art and autism to a disability study group led by Sara Acevedo at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). The very first question about the changes in my practice since my diagnosis for autism last year somehow arrive rather speedily at Grantium.
Perhaps it is because (as I have come somewhat irreverently to say) – I’m up the portal again.
Perhaps it’s because I spent at lot of time up and down the portal in 2016 (successfully I might add).
Or perhaps it is because I am talking to the group about the verbal fluency I’ve gained through the iPhone video function. This leads me to talking about the video I made about Arts Council funding application for neurodivergent artists, and on to Grantium.
On Friday I spent some time on my new application. I lost count of the number of phone calls I made to the helpline in the space of two-three hours. Mainly I was stuck a loop trying to allow access to another user – or registrant as they are termed on the form. This took 3 calls from me, 1 call and an email from the hopeful registrant (Elena Thomas). Said registrant and I exchanged at least a dozen emails between us trying to unpick and decipher the problem. Eventually we got through it.
A further call about access. I learn that I may not get to speak to a Relationship Manager this time round (cutbacks) and that I (an autistic, dyslexic, dyscalculic) must email to ask for help with my form.
It’s not until I spent the following 40 minutes trying to track down the right email address on the website that I twig. I was on the phone to someone who could have registered my need for access there and then – if the system allowed them to do so. I was also on the phone to someone who could give me the right email address.
I rang back. This has been my default position at each and every juncture. When in doubt ring the helpline – they are bloody brilliant (always helpful, warm and polite).
These calls enable me to circumvent the impossible maze of online verbiage that a thrice (autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia) neurodivergent brain simply cannot process. Never mind navigating and locating the information in the first place.
So I tell the assembled group at CIIS that the portal is not accessible for autistic people without a great deal of support and describe why. I praise the helpline – and then add that this is good for people who can access speech and use telephones. The room nods. They all know that in the world of disability this adds up to something quite patchy.
You can email – if you can locate the address. Good luck with that I want to howl, imagining the horrendous loop I went through earlier. If I couldn’t use the phone I would be completely screwed.