Taree Autism Meet and Share provides an atmosphere of inclusiveness, respect and support according to APM employment consultant Mel Curtis.
Mel attended a group meeting in October to introduce the new disability employment service after being contacted by co-ordinator Melissa Reece.
“I understood the group were individuals and families affected by the autism spectrum,” said Mel.
“This area of employment is of huge interest to me as there are so many people on the spectrum who are not able to perform at their best when placed in the ‘old school interview process’ and therefore are not able to show their true potential in the workplace.
“I was very impressed with how Melissa has organised the group,” she said. “Her passion to support each member and their families is contagious.
“It has been very rewarding to see some of the members come in and sign up for assistance, and I hope to work towards employment for each and every one of them," said Mel.
For Timothy McLean, a support worker and activities manager at GAMA (Gardening, Art and Music Activities), the group gives a sense of community inclusion and feeling of belonging for all of the participants he was lucky enough to meet.
“The group always welcomed me with open minds and hearts, as well as everyone participated in the professional artist facilitated workshops very positively which was very pleasing for me as the artist.”
Timothy created an artwork that was inspired by all the work the participants did, incorporating the mixed styles and lived experience within the group, into the work itself.
“It was a reflection of the positive effects the group has been on the participants and was given to Melissa as a show of respect for the great work she does to create and run the group,” Timothy said.
Michelle Greig from Breakthru said Taree Autism Meet and Share is a wonderful support group that assists and educates people about the best ways to support people with autism.
“As a service provider I found the information that I was provided very useful for my support workers when assisting people with autism.
“This organisation also provides information for people that are affected by autism about different support providers in the community,” she said.