2020 has been a year like no other.
Thank you for your support every step of the way. This year we grew by a staggering 300%, fortifying our position as Australia’s largest Autistic-led employer of Autistic talent.
Of our 59 staff, we have created paid employment opportunities for 46 Autistic people to in turn mentor 1,500+ Autistic kids, teenagers and young adults across Australia through I CAN Schools and our Online Group Mentoring Program. Earlier this year, we proudly opened up the latter to Autistic young people in New Zealand as well.
We’re an Autistic-led non-profit trying to reach as many Autistic young people nationally as we can. Help us reach the Autistic young people who fall through the gaps in the NDIS.
A donation of $45 covers the place of one Autistic young person in a group mentoring session and helps create employment for Autistic adult mentors.
Yours and our community’s support has helped us come so far. None of the below highlights from our 2020 would have been possible without the generous support of our partner organisations, donors and community supporters like YOU.
We closed out the year with our AWETISM 2020 Virtual Expo (20th November): the largest Autistic youth event ever in Australia. Attracting close to 3,000 registrations, this day-long celebration of Autistic passions and insights aired free to the public which was made possible through the Victorian Department of Education and our donors. It featured more than 50 Autistic student presenters from across Australia. Their authentic presentations covered everything from peafowl to Minecaft to animation to transport systems and were complemented by Autistic-led workshops for the community and professionals in schools and workplaces.
Our expo content is still available until 20th December for those who may not have been able to join us on the day: www.awetism.vfairs.com
We are grateful to our many schools who put their trust in us to convert our face-to-face mentoring into online sessions to ensure I CAN Network could remain a ‘second home’ for Autistic students in their school during the COVID-19 disruption. Earlier this year we launched I CAN Schools Online: the online conversion of our I CAN Schools Face-to-Face Program. It has been well received by schools in remote, rural and regional areas. Enquire about becoming an I CAN School.
Since 2017, we have been a national leader in providing Autistic-led online group mentoring to young people aged 9-20 across Australia. This positioned us to rapidly respond to the effect COVID-19-inducted lockdowns had on Autistic young people.
We dramatically scaled up our online mentoring groups. We grew our online mentoring program by 300% between January and September 2020 to offer close to 1,000 spaces in our program in 2020, including adding a range of interest-based groups and groups specifically aimed to provide a safe and supportive space for Autistic LGBTIQA+ teens. In 2021, we hope this game changing program will continue to expand significantly. Our next cycle begins 1st February, 2021.
This is where you can make a big difference! $45 covers the place of one young person in an online mentoring session. We love making our National Online Program accessible to Autistic young people – no matter who they are, no matter where they are in Australia.
OUR AUTISTIC STAFF TRANSLATE THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCE INTO PRACTICAL INSIGHTS
In 2020 we placed a strong emphasis on developing content that reflects the lived experience and insights of Autistic young people. Through support from the NDIS, Victorian Department of Health & Human Services and Department of Education & Training we delivered webinars and tip sheets for Autistic young people developed by Autistic young adults among our staff.Our latest tip sheet on Managing Overwhelm (above) is a very timely resource with the holidays fast approaching.
As an Autistic-led not-for-profit business, we are so grateful for financial support that allows us to reach even more Autistic young people, their families and their schools.
A donation of $45 covers the place of one Autistic young person in a group mentoring session.
We hope you will join us in 2021 for an even bigger year of creating a world that embraces Autism through championing what Autistics CAN do.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Founder & Chief Enabler