ECHUCA is taking the next step toward embracing the possibilities of autism by bringing the I CAN Network to our town’s secondary schools.
The I CAN Network is Australia’s first social enterprise founded by people with autism, driving a rethink of autism from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’.
Through the program young people on the autism spectrum are mentored to live life with an ‘I can’ attitude.
Campaspe Youth Partnerships brought I CAN Network to Kyabram in 2017 in collaboration with Kyabram P-12 College and St Augustine’s College.
Funded by Kyabram P-12 College on a community level, the successful project involved student talks, staff and parent briefings and the roll-out of I CAN Network’s secondary mentoring program.
I CAN Network chief executive Chris Varney said the program was unique because it was designed, run by and based on successful young people on the spectrum.
“The aim is to inspire young people on the spectrum – and their personal networks – to embrace the strengths of autism and take pride in their skills and abilities,” he said.
‘‘A lot of young people on the spectrum are missing out. They’re falling through the cracks.
“Our programs are designed to make sure they don’t, and help communities to see what they can do, not what they can’t.”
Campaspe Youth Partnerships project worker Cheryl Sweeney said it was exciting to bring the autism rethink to Echuca partnering with St Joseph’s College, Echuca College and Echuca Specialist School.
“We’re looking for a person with a strong connection to autism to co-deliver its mentoring programs as a network leader and mentor in the Echuca region during 2018,” she said.
“The commitment would involve a fixed number of hours per mentoring session and availability during school hours.
“Successful applicants will be able to relate to the experiences of young people on the spectrum, have demonstrated facilitation skills, and a genuine passion for supporting the individual strengths of people on the spectrum.”
Mr Varney will be speaking to all secondary students at St Joseph’s College, Echuca College and Echuca Specialist School on May 8.
There will also be a combined staff professional development session to be held at Echuca College between 4pm and 5pm and a parent information night at St Joseph’s College between 7pm and 8pm.
Applications for the position close April 11. To apply, visit goo.gl/RCjsvs
■For information, contact Cheryl Sweeney on 0400 896 295 or email [email protected]