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Autism Spectrum Australia

 

  • Funding Period 2011-2017, 2021
  • Region Supported Hunter, Mid North Coast
  • People Supported as at 2017 - over 500 families & 2021- up to 30 students

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) received funds from the Greater Charitable Foundation from 2011-2017 to support the pilot and roll-out of Aspect’s Early Intervention Readiness Program (EIRP) in the Hunter Region. The program assists families through the challenges they face after diagnosis of autism, providing information and practical support to prepare them for their child's transition into appropriate services to enhance their future learning potential. Demand for the program was overwhelming, with more than 500 families taking part. Additional funding enabled EIRP service provision to expand to Port Macquarie in 2015, when we also funded an Aspect playgroup which supported 244 children. In April 2016, the Foundation was the recipient of Aspect's 'Above and Beyond Recognition Award' for the support of EIRP and all the families living with autism who had benefited from this program.

In 2021, the Foundation partnered with Aspect once again, funding the Work Education and Employment Skill Program which provides specialised autism-specific support for its high school students that assists in the transition from school to employment.

What, Why, How

What

This program will provide tailored autism-specific employment support for High School students to prepare them for life after school. Incorporating pre-employment assessments and employability skills development training, this program will help these students with their communication skills, social skills, teamwork, anxiety management, interview skills and budgeting. The students also learn about various roles and career pathways and are able to complete certified courses that meet their strengths, interests and aspirations. 

Why

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is Australia’s largest autism-specific service provider, with one of the largest autism-specific school programs in the world. The not-for-profit organisation works in partnership with people of all ages on the autism spectrum, as well as their families and carers, to deliver evidence-informed solutions that are person-centred, family-focused and customer-driven.

How

The program will be rolled out to 25 to 30, Year 9 to 12 students at Aspect Hunter School’s main campus at Thornton in the Lower Hunter, as well as at various satellite sites throughout the Hunter Region. Students will be placed in employment training based on their unique skills, talents, and interests, while the teams employing the students will receive autism/enablement training to ensure they have the capacity to provide a supportive and inclusive environment.

Work Education and Employment Skills Program Impact

Participating students will learn a range of critical skills that will prepare them for life beyond their schooling years. This will include social interaction and communication, teamwork, searching for jobs and roles, preparing a strong resumé and job application, presentation skills, interview preparation, budgeting as well as traveling to an interview and coping with an unfamiliar environment or unpredictable situation.
Longer-term, the program aims to successfully transition students into tertiary education and employment, helping them to pursue a career that meets their strengths, interests and aspirations and supports their financial wellbeing.

A student's testimonial

"I learnt a lot about different jobs and roles and the work experience days were a great opportunity to practise my social and communication skills too. I’m grateful that my teacher was there to support me.”

Improving Life Outcomes

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