SUBMISSION NATIONAL DISABILITY IN EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY May 2021 Thank you for including Aspergers Victoria in your invitations to submit to this forum. ABOUT ASPERGERS VICTORIA (AV) For 30 years, Aspergers Victoria Incorporated (AV) has provided lived experience community support to Aspergers individuals and their families in Victoria and across Australia. We focus on creating an inclusive and empowering community for all our Asperger stakeholders whatever the age or gender through a strengths-building approach. We are the only non-profit/ for purpose organisation dedicated to supporting the estimated autistics with neurology that our community prefer to call ‘Aspergers’ (currently), as well as their parents/carers/families and professionals who support them. Our primary goal is empowerment through listening to lived experience and building a strengths mindset in our community. We provide a range of services to support Aspergers - from kids to adults, parents/carers, professionals and employers – to discover their strengths and empower them to flourish through: 1. Employment supports 2. Community inclusion initiatives Our Board all have lived experience as do all of our staff (70% autistic) and volunteers. Their contribution to our way of working and program design is essential to our success in supporting our autistics. Our autistics have strong intellectual capacity and often high cognitive functioning– and evidence in our Programs and Autistic research shows how a strengths’ based approach, with a few supportive/preventative health supports for their challenges, can put them on the right life path. Autistic economic and social exclusion impacts their entire lives as well as their whole family. With support of our Aspergers Members we co-created innovative employment support programs. Our programs derive from the real stories and feedback that we hear every day from our autistic jobseekers, members families as well as our lived experience team. Our programs are proven to help employment outcomes including:  WORK KNOWHOW PROGRAM providing work experience for Teens at secondary school and young adults which includes work readiness workshops and job coaching through to a supported work experience placement where the employer and staff are briefed and educated in autism understanding. This builds school/tertiary success and engagement as well as foundational career pathways and understanding.  WORK READY o Specialised pre-employment assessments adapted for the specific requirements of each autisticindividual that help them identify their strengths and challenges and best potential career pathways o Evidence-based workshops to build our Aspergers understanding of the requirements of preparing and applying for the world of work, while creating selfawareness and specific skill development. These have particular emphasis on supporting Aspergers to flourish in social and work situations e.g. our Social Skills Toolkit (evidence based), emotional understanding (Perdekamp Emotional Method) and self-understanding   JOB COACHING: lived experience coaches support autistic transition to work or when they are facing employment issues with an employer EMPLOYER TRAINING:     employer training and coaching so they are more autistic-ready including communication approaches/resources, employee training, workplace assessment and appropriate accommodations HR advice to businesses to ensure inclusive diversity practices and assist with issues that may arise managing autistic staff to achieve their best . This also includes attraction, screening, assessment, recruitment, on-boarding and ongoing support and development. DIVERSITY ADVOCACY teaching business, managers/co-workers, government organisations, schools and teachers - we are part of the Victorian Government Autism Advisory Group (AAG), and collaborate regularly with a wide network of Autism organisations locally, nationally and sometimes internationally PEER NETWORK MEET-UPS for autistic to catch up with peers and peer mentors who ‘get them’ and learn about themselves: including employee networks. This includes our Job Network Group where autistics gather to share, compare employment issues. We also provide ongoing community inclusion supports such as our help and information portal, peer meetings and education events and workshops on key community issues and topics for our 700 member families. Australia has no other specialist, lived experience employment programs a


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