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autism involves parents and carers, who also attend weekly sessions, and help their young adult continue practising the learned behaviour during and after "One of the biggest things the program taught Michael was to recognise the need to put in effort to build and maintain friendships." the course is completed. to do this independently. Since said it is often difficult for young “Before taking part in the PEERS the program, we’ve watched his people with autism to transition after program, Michael was very reliant on independence grow, and he has got high school, and there is a lack of my husband and I to initiate social his first job in a café, where he has social skills programs to help them. activities for him. He had few friends been for three months. Michael’s mother, Suzanne, said: at school and did not have an interest “This job is great for Michael, “The PEERS program has been very successful for these participants, in seeking out social opportunities. as it requires him to use the as it teaches them the skills to One of the biggest things the program communication skills he acquired build and maintain relationships, taught Michael was to recognise the through the PEERS program. He’s also gain independence and grow their need to put in effort to build and living independently from us on the confidence,” Teigan said. maintain friendships. He now has the other side of Sydney, which is a huge confidence to initiate social contact step, and he is initiating get-togethers through our program have not only that he wouldn’t have done before. with friends, such as movie nights.” been able to make friends and join “Some weeks, Michael had to Certified PEERS trainer “The young adults that have gone social groups, but enrol in university, travel alone from Menai to Ryde, Teigan Butchers, PEERS Australia get their first job and even move out where the program was held, and spokesperson and Manager of Youth of home.” he was incredibly proud of his ability Services at Cerebral Palsy Alliance, www.peersaustralia.com.au Creating a lifetime of opportunities for children with autism At AEIOU Foundation, children with autism aged 2 to 6 receive specialist therapy and care to develop independence and life skills that help them lead their best lives possible. As a registered provider with the NDIS, we also support families to access the community, through regular workshops and individual planning sessions. Find a centre near you, by visiting www.aeiou.org.au or calling 1300 273 435 linkonline.com.au autism 31