Post in collaboration with breakthru
A series of recent events have served to remind me, quite forcibly, that time is not slowing down (even though I desperately want it to!)
Obviously, being December, we’re coming to the end of another year. But, for me, it truly only seems like yesterday that we were preparing an anxious Gilbert for his first day of high school. This week, we’ll prepare him for the end of Year 7 and look to the opportunities that Year 8 will bring.
My boy on his first day of Year 7 2017
Personally, I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact he’s in high school at all, let alone the reality he’ll be taking on electives next year!
I was also taken aback at our recent IEP review for the year, when the Learning Support Coordinator stated that it’s never too early to start thinking about the HSC.
Excuse me? He’s still in Year 7!
But, when I took a moment to deal with my wild panic, I could see her point. He now has only 2 years before Year 10, which heralds a series of decisions that will have a bearing on his future study and employment prospects. She’s right, it’s never too early to start identifying his strengths and encourage him to pursue study in areas of true interest to him.
Just to ram home the relentless march of time, last week a receptionist commented that my son will be nearly 14 when he comes in for his next specialist appointment. After quickly doing the maths (just to check because, surely, she couldn’t be right about that?), I realised she WAS right.
Just look at how big they ALL are now!
I then came to another troubling conclusion.
That means that by December 2018 (the end of next year), my son will be legally able to apply for part-time employment. And, it’s this realisation that’s rocked me to my core.
Getting that first part-time job is a major milestone for any teenager. The chance to take on responsibility, become more independent and start earning their own, hard-earned cash. I’m sure many of Gilbert’s classmates will be keen to take that step, as soon as they’re able.
However, I know my son will need more assistance when it comes time for him to commence employment. With various diagnoses, including autism and a significant vision impairment, we’ll need to seek an accommodating employer who will be willing to support Gilbert with the tools, technology and practical assistance he’ll require, to succeed.
I know we’ll need specialist help and support to help us identify the right employment opportunities for Gilbert. It’s a daunting prospect, but at least I know one place where we’ll be able to get the help we’ll need.
breakthru is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to empowering people to create their own futures. They provide a range of services to those most in need, assisting people to gain employment, navigate the NDIS, access training, look after their emotional wellbeing and obtain funding.
breakthru provides a range of employment services, assisting people in all stages of their employment journey, from putting together their resume, to preparing for interview and dealing with their employer. Their individualised support service can help with getting ready for work, actively looking for a job and maintaining employment.
With my new-found realisation that employment is no longer a far-off, mythical, hypothetical situation for us, I searched breakthru’s website to see how they’ll be able to support Gilbert and help us support him too.
It was a big relief to find a short video detailing Tayla’s successful journey from school to work, with the help of breakthru and her employer, McDonald’s. It gives me hope that Gilbert will be able to find an understanding and supported way into employment too.
Every individual deserves their chance to succeed. It gives me hope that breakthru is helping so many people find opportunities to succeed through their employment support services. As a parent to kids with additional needs, it’s a relief to know there are organisations, like breakthru, making connections with potential employers and building a path so my kids can have a chance to show what they can really do.
Tell me, are you also freaking out, belatedly realising it’s time to start preparing for the future?
Disclaimer: I have received monetary compensation for this post, however the views and fears expressed here are 100% my own – especially my fears (I’m SO not ready for the future!)
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It’s wonderful that our society recognises that not everyone entering the workforce has the same needs and there are options and support available!
The message is getting through, slowly but surely. I hope these stories encourage other employers to come on board and give people a go.
Thank goodness for organisations like this to help people affected by disability get out into or return to the workforce. It’s lovely reading the success stories on their website.
The success stories are great, aren’t they? I hope we’re one of them too, one day in the future!
Breakthru sounds like such a great organisation helping those in need get back into the workforce.
I know – I loved the video of Tayla and how breakthru have helped her. It really gives me hope that they will be able to help us as well!
Whatever the future holds KIrsty you have a 100% track record of dealing with all life brings so very well, things will be fine!! Thank you for sharing and it is good to know that there is an organisation helping people to transition to work. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek48/52. Next week is the last link up and prompt for 2017 – Christmas Plans
I know I’m relieved to know there will be help available to us when the time comes – which is not all that far away now!!!
I hope Gilbert can find a job that will work with his needs an interests when the time comes!
So do I! I think he’ll find something but it’s daunting to think about all the things that’ll need to come together to make it work. Fingers crossed it will all come together…eventually!
It sounds like a great organisation and I think it’s quite important for kids to be able to feel independent. I’ve got a friend with a son who has autism and he’s struggled to find full time work since school. He’s great with mechanical stuff and lego and gifted in terms of IT stuff but struggles with interviews. #teamlovinlife
The number of autistic individuals who are underemployed and unemployed are really troubling – I forget the specific figures but they are more than twice the rate of the general population. We need a way to identify talent in non-traditional ways and provide a supportive workplace to unlock the potential in everyone. It would help so many, not only people on the spectrum. I wish your friend’s son all the best in finding work – maybe breakthru could help him too?
Love the Santa photo, your kids are beautiful.
That photo was the best of a very ordinary lot – it’s so hard to get them all smiling and looking in the right direction at the same time!
It’s fabulous that organisations like that exist. It’s even more important that there are employers out there prepared to invest in a kid’s future. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy Christmas… #TeamLovinLife
Thanks so much Jo – right back at ya!
What a great organization. Thanks for sharing, I’ll be passing on this info to other friends in similar circumstances.
That would be awesome – I know it made such a difference to me, knowing there is help available for us, when needed!
It’s so great that there are services that help with this next step. I know for my anxious kiddo, even though she loves the idea of having a job, the thought of getting one is terrifying!
It terrifies me! I can’t imagine how my kids would feel faced with the prospect of going for an interview! That’s why I feel so much better knowing there is help available for us, and for them, when the time comes!
I try not to think to far ahead, but know that I will soon need to. What a great org to know about . #spectrumsunday
I wish I didn’t have to keep forward planning but it seems to yield the best results for us. For now, I’m going to enjoy our summer holidays and take a breath before starting to plan all over again!
I try not to think about it all too much to be honest. Because when I do, then the freaking out will commence.
I love that Santa photo!! We have NO santa photos in our house. None. Actually, there may be one (with me in it holding a screaming child.) They were always too scared of Santa to get a pic done so it never happened. Which makes me sad. I’ve asked the kids for a Santa photo for Christmas this year. That’s all I want. A picture of them with Santa.
It’s great that organisations like this exist to help your son enter the workforce, plus it’s nice as a parent to have that extra support as well. Good luck for the job hunt when it begins and I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas #teamIBOT
May I also suggest that you consider adding Special Needs Planning to your list of things to do as your child gets older. You need to consider Guardianship (if needed), Supplemental Security Benefits (SSI) and other public benefits, and a Special Needs Trust.