Overcoming adversity to help others
LIKE many people diagnosed with autism as a child, Caleb List faced challenges with reading, writing and learning new skills.
School was obviously difficult, but even as a youngster Caleb knew he couldn't let the challenges of autism stop him from achieving his goals.
It was his never-give-up attitude that brought him success when he registered with APM Employment Services for help in finding a job after nine months of unemployment.
Australia’s leading provider of the federal government’s Disability Employment Services program, APM told Caleb, 18, he could get extra help to find a job and overcome the impact autism had on his search for employment.
“I probably wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for APM,” he said.
“I’ve had experience with retail jobs and been for other interviews, and you do get treated differently when you say you have a disability like autism.”
Caleb worked with his designated APM employment consultant Tayla to set up a job plan, prepare for interviews and promote himself to potential employers.
During last year’s AccessAbility Day, Tayla was able to secure a day’s work experience in a local motor vehicle services business.
The placement gave Caleb a massive confidence boost and he quickly found a job as a support worker with Unique Quality Care.
Help to secure a job
Tayla said Caleb’s employers were so impressed they offered him a job even though he didn’t have a driver’s licence which was a requirement of the role.
“He came to us very driven to succeed and I’m so proud to see how far he’s come and how he will continue to grow,” she said.
As well as working as a support worker Caleb is studying a Certificate in Community Services at university and has ambitions to start his own business.
He said other people who face similar learning challenges as a result of autism shouldn’t give up looking for work or achieving their goals.
“Me and my family have relied on community support services a lot and I’ve always wanted a job where I can give something back and help people.
“You just have to keep trying and don’t get too down. If there’s a problem, there’s usually a solution. Sometimes it’s just about finding the right support.”
Headquartered in Perth, APM recently became the first Australian company to join the Valuable 500 campaign to increase workplace diversity and employment opportunities for people with disability across the world.
More than 970 people are registered with APM for Disability Employment Services with autism as their primary disability.
APM Group CEO Michael Anghie said they are committed to driving greater workplace and community inclusion for people with disability.
“Everyone has a right to a job, respect and inclusion. People with disability are no different; this is about fairness and doing the right thing.”
For more information about finding a job when you’re managing an injury, illness or disability, visit apm.net.au
NDIS and community support
The impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder can vary greatly for each person and so can the required level of support.
APM has been selected to deliver NDIS Local Area Coordinator (LAC) services in Western Australia from May 1 for people with disability who require substantial support.
APM’s LACs help people with disability, NDIS participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.
This includes helping people with disability to realise their individual goals and aspirations by connecting you to community and mainstream services.
LACs also work with these services and organisations to be more inclusive and supportive of people with disability.
As the service is rolled out across WA, APM is holding free information sessions about the NDIS and the support LACs provide.
For more information about the service and to find your nearest information session, visit www.apm.net.au/ndis