ARTICLE: Funding Announced for Autism Mentoring Program (DET News Archive, APR 2016)

Funding Announced for Autism Mentoring Program (The Department of Education and Training News Archive)

Young Victorians with autism will benefit from the expansion of the I CAN Network, Australia’s first social enterprise founded by people with autism.

Seed funding from the Department will help deliver I CAN’s mentoring program in three high schools: Brauer College in Warrnambool, Ballarat High School and Coburg High School.

The mentoring organisation runs a unique program that pairs mentors on the spectrum with mentees on the spectrum. Students are empowered with an ‘I can’ attitude – a positive attitude to life and increased self-confidence.

Funding will expand I CAN’s operations to 18 schools and will help youths on the autism spectrum, like Anthony Hay, who has experienced first-hand the benefits of the I CAN Network’s unique approach to assisting those on the spectrum.

The 19-year-old from Ballarat was told ‘he couldn’t do things’ by many people who assumed his diagnosis was a deficit.

Anthony took part in a camp run by the I CAN Network in October 2014 and then returned during Year 12 in the role of a mentor. He is now employed by I CAN to deliver mentoring programs at Ballarat High School, with help from the Department’s funding.

The school mentoring programs are designed to assist students, their teachers and parents to see the strengths of the autism spectrum.

The program has seen strong results in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

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