For young people who struggle with change and uncertainty, this is a particularly daunting time. Our Autistic mentors, myself included, appreciate just how important it is to provide Autistic young people with an anchor of acceptance and community.

As a response to the COVID-19 outbreak and widespread ‘lockdowns’, I CAN Network is offering an April 2020 School Holiday Online Program nationally. We want to ensure that as many Autistic kids and teenagers as possible experience connection, belonging and positive self-esteem during this period of extraordinary disruption.

As a starting point, we are offering two daytime cycles during the upcoming scheduled school holidays. The details of the program are below. A complementary video announcement can be viewed here. As the rapidly changing landscape unfolds, we expect to expand this program even further to accommodate more young people. We are particularly proud to be working in partnership with the Ian Potter Foundation to dramatically increase the reach of our groundbreaking online groups.

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We’re all in this together. On behalf of our entire team, we wish you and your families the very best as we navigate these unchartered waters together..

Chris Varney
Founder/Chief Enabling Officer


What is the program? 

The program is our usual six session online group mentoring but will be delivered during the daytime in the school holiday period. Participants are in online groups of up to eight Autistic young people, led by 2-3 Autistic mentors.. The topics explored include managing change and anxiety, social interactions, understanding Autism and leveraging strengths. Each topic is explored through games, discussion and presentations that celebrate participants’ interests and strengths.

The program can be built into NDIS plans.

When is the program running?

The program will be running as six 1 hour sessions (11AM – 12PM AEDT) on each of the following days in either program cycle. 

Cycle One Dates:

Monday 30th March
Wednesday 1st April
Friday 3rd April
Monday 6th April
Wednesday 8th April
Friday 10th April

Cycle Two Dates:

Monday 13th April
Wednesday 15th April
Friday 17th April,
Monday 20th April
Wednesday 22nd April
Friday 24th April

What is the cost? 

Cost: $252 AUD GST free for the six sessions (NDIS Report available at an extra charge)

Is my child/ young person eligible? 

Participants in the I CAN School Holiday Online Program need to be in the following age groups: 

  • 9-12 years old
  • 10-13 years old 
  • 13-15 years old

To be considered for any of the small group programs above, the conditions below need to be met and accepted:

  • Currently in one of the age cohorts specified
  • Based in Australia
  • English speaking
  • Aware that they are Autistic
  • Comfortable engaging online and understanding that this may provide some sensory challenges for individuals who are sound sensitive (the online environment may prove to be noisy in some sessions). 
  • Can attend the allocated day and time: this is not flexible nor will change.
  • Are aware that an expression of interest form has been submitted and are willing to participate.
  • Understand that a cancellation policy is in place and is willing to accept its terms upon acceptance of a spot.
  • Will need to be able to abide by our ICT terms and conditions which ensure online safety and positive cyber participation.

What are the next steps? 

Given the short turnaround time, families will need to respond to an offer of a place within two days of the offer being sent or it will be forfeited to another participant. It is important to provide the correct email and phone number when expressing interest.

Please note that the content will be similar to I CAN Network’s national evening program. Therefore if your young person is already enrolled in the March evening program please note there may be overlaps in content if they choose to participate in both.

TO EXPRESS INTEREST: Please use this FORM to express interest in our school holiday program and you will be contacted when a spot becomes available: CLICK HERE

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about online mentoring, please see the Online Mentoring overview on our website.

For an even deeper dive, including how sessions are structured, please see our recent video, ‘How To Access I CAN Programs.’. The segment covering Online Mentoring begins at the 16:58 mark. Any other questions should be addressed to our team at [email protected].

Take care and we look forward to seeing you online.

I CAN Network Team


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