FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions. However, if your question isn’t listed or not completely answered, please contact us via the button below or through our contact form found in the menu panel. Thank you.
Is the I CAN Network a therapeutic service?
The I CAN Network defines mentoring as a professionally trained mentor (including Autistic mentors) walking with a young person on the Autism Spectrum and having positive conversations themed on optimism, self-acceptance and Autistic pride, social connections and self-confidence. We do not provide therapy, counselling, mental health first aid, support worker services or respite to individuals or families.
Is the I CAN Network able to come and speak at my school or workplace?
We have grown our movement through storytelling. Since Chris Varney’s and Tim Chan’s respective TEDx presentations in late 2013 (more than 520k combined views to date) the community have overwhelmingly wanted to hear more positive ‘I CAN’ stories of Autistics. We responded to this need by making available our diverse speakers on the Autism Spectrum, parents, teachers and health professionals who together have delivered presentations for-fee in communities, schools, universities/TAFEs, conferences and government meetings.
In our Motivational and Educational presentations, our speakers draw on their lived experience of growing up on the spectrum and take the audience through their journey of “I Can’t to I CAN” and how our society can benefit from a rethink on Autism. These presentations are often delivered to year level assemblies, teacher and educational support staff meetings and to the wider community.
Our Professional Development workshops now offer the community our ‘Quiet Magic Method®’. This method explores ‘flexible communication structures’ with learners on the spectrum. Quiet Magic works to give teachers a thinking framework for how they, and their school, can achieve great results from embracing a student’s Autism. You can request an I CAN Network speaker (including CEO Chris Varney) here.
Please note that due to COVID-19, we understand that having one of our speakers at your school or workplace may provide a logistical challenge, we can also offer an online version of our motivational or professional development presentations.
What do you offer in a workplace?
Our current workplace services can include small group mentoring, content design for internal communication channels, management and staff training focused on how to leverage and effectively work with Autistic employees.
Similarly, if your workplace engages or provides service for autistic individuals we are able to conduct sensory audits, inclusive practices and activities, review external communications, develop and design social scripts or stories and provide workplace professional development.
Our workplace services are often tailored to each workplace where we co-design what the final product will look like based on numerous factors that will be discussed during the initial consultancy phase.
Are you registered as an NDIS provider?
We are not a registered NDIS provider and we do not have any immediate plans to become a NDIS provider given the size of our organisation. We do acknowledge that this may impact participants who are NDIA managed, however please contact us if this is the case as we will be able to provide you with a quote that may assist releasing a small portion of funds that are plan or self managed.
If you are self managed or plan managed (via a plan management organisation) you are able to access our online mentoring program or community mentoring program. Please note that we are unable to give specific line numbers as we do not have the fine details of your plan or goals. Most participants access our service via the use of their Core Funding given its flexibility across categories.
Please note that if you are a participant in our schools program, you are unable to use your NDIS funds for this use. The responsibility for funding lies with the school.
Please note that if you were successful in receiving NDIS funds which are specifically intended to be spent on I CAN services, the I CAN Ltd in-take and registration process must still be followed. Priority will not be given due to specific funds being allocated. Furthermore, you will be required to enter into a service agreement prior to engaging with I CAN Network activities that are NDIS funded.
What services do you offer children who are not yet of school age?
At the moment, we only offer services for primary and secondary school-aged individuals through our school mentoring program and our National Online Mentoring Program (9-years-old to 20-years-old). While we would love to be able to cater for children under primary school age and individuals who are beyond the secondary school/young adults age group, we currently do not have the resources to expand the age groups we support.
How do I find out if a school has an I CAN program?
Currently the easiest way to enquire whether a school has taken on an I CAN program is to directly enquire with the school you are looking at enrolling or transitioning into. Each year we go through a series of onboarding and renewing, which means that our list is not always finalised before those crucial transition phases. We also must respect that we do not always have permission to advertise the specific schools which are participating in our program.
I’d like to enrol my child at an I CAN school. How can I do that?
We now run I CAN Network mentoring programs in schools in two different states: Victoria and Queensland. The I CAN program is separate from a child’s school enrolment. Enrolling your child in an I CAN school does not automatically guarantee that they will be placed into the I CAN program: this decision is exclusively up to the school and I CAN Ltd has no power over the decision. We encourage you to discuss this with your school principal during the enrolment process. We can provide you with the necessary brochures and information which may encourage your child’s current or future school to consider taking on one of our I CAN programs. For additional information, please contact us at [email protected]
How can I help bring an I CAN program to my child’s school?
As our mentoring programs are for-fee, it is vital that the school be an integral part of the process. Our partner schools are responsible for covering the financial cost alongside other non-negotiable aspects which are pertinent to running a mentoring program within a school. If you would like to encourage a school to adopt our program, we would be more than happy to provide you with a brochure that can be passed on. After a school makes contact with us, we will facilitate a co-design meeting if they are keen to proceed to ensure that the program suits the identified students’ needs. At times, we do encounter schools who may want to adopt the program but due to financial reasons are unable to do so at this time. Our experience has shown that through mechanisms such as school fundraising, private donations or through local organisation support, a program may be supported by different financial means if the school cannot absorb the full cost on its own. If you have further questions, please contact us at [email protected]
Do you currently offer individual mentoring?
In 2020, our focus remains with face-to-face group mentoring in schools and the community and via our National Online Group Mentoring Program. We are committed to our partnership with Different Journeys in Eastern Melbourne and will continue to provide our mentors to attend their social groups that are held monthly. Currently, it is not feasible to expand beyond these current services and offer individual mentoring on a large scale, as we do not have the organisational capacity.
What is the I CAN National Online Group Mentoring Program and who can be involved?
Our National Online Group Mentoring Program can be accessed by Autistic individuals aged between 9 and 20 years of age. We currently run an afternoon and evening program which allows individuals to connect with peers and mentors to share interests and explore common experiences. Currently we run approximately 8 in-takes per year. Each program runs for six weeks consecutively on the nominated afternoon or evening. Further information can be found on our online group mentoring page or questions can be directed to [email protected].We typically announce new programs in our I CAN newsletter and on our I CAN Network Facebook page about 3-4 weeks before the start of each new cycle.
What is the process for accessing an I CAN camp?
I CAN Network has previously run I CAN Camps (both Teens and Young Adults Camps) for the broad Autistic community from 2014 until 2019. As our I CAN Online, AWETISM Expos and I CAN Schools programs grew, the purpose of these camps have changed. Originally they were a starting point for people with I CAN Network, however, our Speakers Agency, I CAN Online, School programs and AWETISM Expos have become much more accessible, so as a result, in 2020 we will not be running our camps as per usual.
We have redesigned our I CAN Camps into a National Young Leaders Camp for Autistic teenagers and young adults who are in our I CAN Online and I CAN Schools programs in 2020. The purpose of the camp is to develop the leadership capability of Autistic youth who aspire to empower their Autistic peers through I CAN programs. Due to limited numbers, please note that participation in I CAN Schools and I CAN Online will not automatically guarantee you a spot on the National Young Leaders Camp.
We understand that this change might be disappointing for some, however, please write to us at [email protected] to learn more about our I CAN Online Mentoring programs or [email protected] to learn more about an I CAN AWETISM Expo near you.
Please note due to the COVID-19 there will be no camp in 2020 and we will reassess as further information comes to light for 2021.
How can I get a job with the I CAN Network?
Please refer to our current opportunities page, which is kept up to date with volunteer and paid positions available in I CAN. The role descriptions will outline the process you need to follow to apply for an available position.
Alternatively, if you love what we do and you’re interested in becoming an Ambassador for I CAN (promoting our programs to a wider audience at events, etc.), please contact us at [email protected]
Do you offer internships or work experience program?
Whilst we do recognise the uttermost importance of internships and work experience programs which provide an intense exposure to workplace and further employment opportunities, currently we are not in the position to provide these opportunities due to the remoteness and size of our current team. We will update if this changes in the future.
I need assistance with my assignment or research project, can you help?
We receive a high volume of requests to assist with research and assignments. While we value the contribution that research brings to the community, we currently do not have the required resources to assist in the recruitment of participants or provide information needed for an assignment.
I have a media inquiry or I’d like to share my story with the I CAN Network. Who can I contact?
If you’re a journalist or representative from the media, or if you have a blog, podcast etc. and you’d like to feature the I CAN Network or ask us some questions, please email our Chief Enabling Officer, Chris at [email protected]
We live outside of Australia. How can we connect with I CAN services?
Our face-to-face mentoring and online mentoring services are Australia-based. However, we regularly offer Autistic-led webinars around key topics (e.g. helping an Autistic young person build resilience, supporting Autistic learners, building a support network). Our webinars are offered for free and are accessible virtually worldwide and these can be accessed via our webpage. You will also find a tip sheet resource that accompanies each webinar that is downloadable and a great resource to share amongst your networks.
Are your programs free?
Most of our programs are fee-based so that we can afford to run them over time. We feel very strongly about paying a fair wage to our team members, the majority of whom are Autistic and all of whom go above and beyond to support Autistic young people. Typically, the fees associated with a school-based program are absorbed by the school itself at no extra cost to participating students. Fees for other programs, such as our camps and online mentoring, are covered directly by families. Some are able to use their NDIS funding (see above) to cover costs. We do everything possible to keep costs low, and when feasible, we offer financial assistance or payment plans to families who might not otherwise be able to access our programs due to cost.
I still have questions that weren’t covered in this document. Who do I contact for further information?
Please complete this brief form, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your interest in I CAN!