Autism Spectrum

Launchpad

leaving school and leading your own life

Supported options after school 

stories for parents

 

Anne’s advice for choosing a service provider

An organisation is only as good as the person who’s running it at the time.

 

From Year 9 you need to start talking about it. Our transition teacher would organise bus trips to visit various programs . Each year we saw various organisations and we could see how they developed.

 

Still, you have to do the legwork yourself. The school cannot tell you what is best for your young person. It’s 100 % your responsibility. The school can give advice but they won’t tell you where to go.

 

When applying, paint a really black picture as you’ll get less than you apply for. And remember that you can appeal.

 

There might be a fair where various organisations tell you about their progams but it’s best to visit them before the fair, then to ask more specific questions. So approach organisations and ask if you can visit them to see them in action.

 

 

Questions to ask service providers:

 

What are the size of the groups?

 

Can I meet them first?

 

What activities do they do?   (beware the program with too many park visits, all they do is sit!!)

 

 

The social nature of the group is very important.. as ever you want them to be with people like them or more able. Above all you want them to be safe.

 

You need to be honest with the program staff about whether your child can get aggressive, even if it’s only very occasional.  If the young person is very aggressive or violent they might well be asked to leave, so you need to be straight up and let’s be honest, no-one can guarantee their child won’t ever be violent.

 

You need to look at the physical environment. Some kids do well with lots of park around, and you need to listen to the noise levels too and be aware of the sensory environment.

 

We chose a program that is far away from where we live but two of my son’s friends from school go there and that was very important to him even though he has very little ability to show that.  It’s good to maintain the school relationships for our kids, even if they might not show that they appreciate it.

 

Once you start, go with it and reassess after three months. Give it a fair go.  Don’t chop and change because it takes a while to settle in.

 

Remember a big organisation can have different sites and be running quite different programs so do visit several of their sites.

Anne Clement, mum of James

 

What works for Robbie

Post-school programs need to be thoughtfully considered so that individual needs are met in an enjoyable and positive way in order to maintain and ensure progress in social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.  Learning does not stop once you leave school!

 

When the time came to consider post-school options for our son , from about two years prior to leaving school, we listened to our ASPECT advisors along with visiting post-school services provided by others, so that we were informed in making the right decision for Robbie.  He was not suited to the Transition to Work program, so we needed to consider other options.  Program preferences needed to be locked in prior to leaving school.

 

The best outcome for Robbie was to join the Community Participation program as an individually managed client.  Currently, a rostered support worker accompanies Robbie to undertake activities within a community setting, at the same time as incidentally developing his personal skills.  He may be involved in shopping, cooking, visiting exhibitions, or taking photographs and at the same time, learning to develop skills for different social situations.

 

Robbie has had to adjust to a variety of personalities in his support workers, and this has been a good learning experience.  Each support worker brings different strengths to their shift and Robbie has learnt to enjoy their individual differences.  One thing Robbie likes to share with his support workers is an interesting conversation.

 

Robbie requires a lot of downtime so his program is tailored to run from 9am – 1pm four days a week.  He needs time to himself in order to recharge for the day ahead.

 

Robbie has an amazing eye for photography.  He is supported in maintaining his website Photographarium to showcase his photographs. Robbie Green Originals is a linked website for his greeting cards.   Like many artists, Robbie cannot be pressured to take photographs – he takes photos when he feels like it.  Some of his best photographs have been taken when he has ventured out with his support workers.

AG

 

Managing our self-managed Community Participation funding

James goes to a group program three days a week. There are five people in group with two carers. They stay in the centre on Mondays and go out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to places like the gym, museums, even horse races.

 

On Thursdays, he does a paper round with his carer, then they go to a café for lunch and then to a music studio.

 

On Fridays, they go to the gym (PCYCs are great, very inclusive) then shopping and swimming.

 

In the afternoon, he plays snooker which it’s taken him a year to learn but now he can play independently.

 

He also goes to a bowling group on a Tuesday evening and sometimes to see bands with carers.

 

He has a calendar by his bed so he can see exactly what is happening each day.

 

My son’s carers at home need to be young people. He wants to be with young, cool people who treat him like a mate and who talk normally to him even though he can’t talk back.

 

Self-managing: think of what your child likes and then work out how to make it work. Alex likes music, so you can go to a big music shop and ask or advertise for someone to play in a rehearsal room with him… musos can be very helpful and enjoy helping and earning a bit of money.

 

Self-management operations charge different amounts, and may charge for extra services… you must understand the charges and make sure they do what they say they will.

Anne Clement, mum of James