A program that is helping young adults with autism is giving more Australians a confidence boost in the workplace and in building social connections.
Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) aims to expand self-esteem, while providing networking opportunities.
Autism among young Australians is at a national high, having increased by 42 per cent since 2012, to one in 70 Australians.
PEERS for Young Adults was established to support youth with a disability, so they can make smooth transitions.
The program teaches social and conversational skills in electronic communication, and choosing appropriate friends, handling get-togethers, social rejection and disagreements, all through collaborative behavioural scenarios.
Menai’s Michael Stanton, 21, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age two.
Up until May this year, he was living at home, had no job and few friends. His life changed after he completed the 16-week program that led to him living independently.
He took part in the program at Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and soon secured his first job at a cafe.
The program is hosting a three-day workshop for families and practitioners next month. It is targeted at 18-25 year old people.
PEERS Australia will host the workshop from January 28-30 at the University of Sydney.