Helping autistic young people take control of their own futures

Published by: Telstra Exchange
Written by: Natalie Falzon

For disadvantaged communities, workplace doors may be frequently found to be more closed than open. The statistics tell us this is likely the case for those on the autism spectrum. Unemployment and underemployment rates for this cohort reveal an uncomfortable truth: there are barriers to autistic young people finding work.

Enter Autism CRC, a partner backed by Telstra Foundation’s Tech4Good Challenge program and driven to empower autistic people to use their strengths and realise their potential. Based on six years of foundational research, they arrived at the conclusion that self-determination is key to improving autistic young people’s employment prospects. So, Autism CRC set out to create a service to encourage and enable this cohort to make informed choices and take definitive action around their own career and education paths.

From the start, myWAY Employability has been designed for and with the autistic community. Initial research indicated that early engagement would be key to establishing a truly relevant service that could factor for a literal spectrum of user requirements. And so, myWAY Employability was developed via a collaboration between Autism CRC and Curtin University that involved more than 300 people (including young people aged 14–30), parents, allied health professionals, disability service providers and educators. A collaborative Human-Centred Design approach, built on learnings and skills imparted by the Tech4Good Challenge’s educational phases, helped the team to explore needs and preferences, identify potential solutions and develop the concept that became myWAY Employability. Click here to read the rest of the story.

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