We work with a number of secondary school and have had the privilege of supporting a large number of children through from Year 7 to Year 11. We've worked with them in groups and individually to help them through issues, emotional development and puberty. We've built strong relationships and helped them with problems in school. We've been able to train their teachers so they know how to support them and worked through their worries and fears about exams and transition once they get to Year 10 and 11.
But once they leave school, we lose touch with most of them. And if I thought we had done all we could to prepare and support them for the transition to adulthood, I would be happy to let go. But we often get reports of our autistic students having difficulties at colleges, dropping out and becoming inactive at home with nowhere to go. Those who do seem to be doing better are the lucky ones. We want to do something more to help.
We've been looking around the country to see what support there is for the transition to adulthood. It is great to see that some charities are taking on this area and some are providing autistic mentors for autistic young people. We love that idea.
Preparing for Adulthood website is one site specifically for this. Others are regional charities and we are looking carefully at what they are doing to see what seems to be making an impact on the lives of autistic young adults. The NAS and others are looking at giving support for employment as well as the universities that support their autistic students better than others. We are gathering information to help us form a better picture of the things that are helping so if you know of any good services do comment at the bottom of this blog so we can look them up.
However, sadly, there's very little in Lancashire except the online help from articles and videos. We have been wondering for a long time if there would be something we could do at ReachoutASC to help support and prepare our autistic young people for the adult world, whether going to university, into employment or with life skills. One key commitment we have is to use autistic mentors for our autistic young people.
But as with all ventures, whether business or charity there is a lot of work to be done to set it up. Therefore we are working hard behind the scenes to put the structure in place to enable us to fund a support group/service starting with the autistic young people we already work with. We are planning and researching, getting business advice and fund raising. I have two autistic young people advisors, and we hope to provide employment for autistic people, either as mentors or in other ways. (we have one autistic employee already). We are talking to local businesses and unions to see how we can set up advice and support into employment.
Part of what we are doing is putting on training courses for schools and other professionals and putting any profits into this new venture to help our young people. So if you do come on one of our courses, thank you - it will all help towards our plans. Here is link to book on any of the courses we are running this term, all in central Lancashire, not far from junction 28 of the M6. You will get excellent training and we will be able to support our young people.
1. Autism, Anxiety and Behaviour - May 21st 2018
2. How to write social stories - with a free copy of Lynn's new book "Stories that Explain" - June 11th 2018
3. 4 courses in one day - Living with autism (autistic speaker), Girls and autism, Sensory Diets and PDA. July 6th 2018
What excites us most is that this is something the young people themselves are interested in and want to give their ideas to what should be available to them. We continue to make plans and raise funds and hope to get something started from September or early 2019. Watch this space....