The idea of a resource specifically for young people with autism and their families who are about to leave school came about when the authors of this website found themselves in this very situation.
Seana Smith is a writer and a co-author of the original version of the Australian Autism Handbook. Vicki Gibbs is a Clinical Psychologist with Autism Spectrum Australia.
Seana and Vicki met when their two sons, both of whom were diagnosed with autism, were pre-schoolers and they have kept in contact over the years.
When their sons, now 18 and 19 years of age, were beginning to plan for life after school it became very apparent to them that coordinated information covering the range of issues that must be traversed at this age was sorely needed.
Initially, the pair planned to write a book but very quickly it became apparent that a web-based resource would be far more useful. A website would have the capacity to include videos, links to services and existing resources and the possibility of updating the information on a regular basis.
The website became a reality with the support of Autism Spectrum Australia and a funding grant from NSW’s Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care. The website was developed with input from a range of professionals, relevant service providers and a diverse group of young people with autism and their families.
The website has been edited by Thomas Kuzma, Aspect’s blogger and communications assistant who lives with autism. Thomas has also written about his own experiences.
Thomas was diagnosed at the age of 16 after struggling with the social dynamic at high school. Since then he has graduated high school, CERT IV and Diploma in Multimedia.
Thomas has been an advocate for autism since 2009, giving talks in Brisbane, Adelaide and across Western Sydney. He is a future youth leader, a mentor and currently is going for the title of Pokémon Master. He still advocates today, making sure that today’s world understands what it is like to live with autism.
Image credits: We have used many free images from Pixabay, thanks to them and the photographers who provide their work free of charge.