I am working at Taronga Zoo on the Sky Safari as a Cableway Attendant. I also have been working for Westpac and AMP on short contracts digitalizing documents. I volunteered at the zoo for 1 year on the Sky Safari. When a job became available, I was asked to submit my application. I was supported in the interview with my Speech therapist Vani. She helped me with practicing interview technique before hand so I knew what to expect.
At the zoo, everyone in the team accepts me and likes me a lot! I can learn at my own pace and I have no trouble fitting in. I enjoyed the induction process which was on the computer and was fun and interesting. This was the same induction for all employees and it was very visual.
I have done School Leaver Employment Support for the last year at Jigsaw at Fighting Chance. I have really enjoyed doing the training and mentoring with the team. They have employed me for my contract job placements. I really like going to different workplaces. They are all amazed at how quick and accurate we can do our work!
More companies are seeing that autistic people are valuable workers. I have great attention to detail and follow routines. I am always on time and reliable. I can do the same tasks over and over again. I want to see more long term contracts so I can build on my independence and know I have secure employment. My first paid work made me feel very proud that someone valued what I can do.
Working on the cableway is my dream. When I was younger, I had a cable car system set up in my room, made from Lego. We used to go to the zoo all the time and my favourite part was always the Sky Safari. I knew all the phrases off by heart that they attendants use with guests. Some people think I wanted to work at the zoo because of the animals. I want to work there because I love meeting people and making them feel happy and safe when they ride the Sky Safari. I also have a passion for trains and ferries. Maybe one day I could work with them too?
I was really little so I don’t remember anything about my diagnosis. I am really proud of how far my communication skills have come, considering I was diagnosed with a severe speech delay and didn’t talk until I was 5. I am proud of who I am. I’m Autistic and it makes me think about things differently. I would never hide who I truly am. I don’t feel the need to explain. I’m just Andrew. I like following routines and knowing what will happen. My Mum, Dad and sister Scarlet all help me and I help them too! I have a great Speechie called Vani. My team at the zoo are fabulous and so are the team at Jigsaw.
My favourite character is Scooby Doo. One of my dogs is called Scooby and one is called Boo! I watch every NRL game. I read about everything and remember a lot of statistics. I also follow Cricket. I have enjoyed the Commonwealth Games.
I can do whatever I want as I am in charge of my life! I make the decisions about what works for me. A perfect world would be everyone being kind to each other – and I would like Souths or Tigers to WIN the Premiership again soon!
The I CAN Network creates a world that embraces Andrew’s strengths. We need your support to continue creating a society that empowers young people on the Autism Spectrum. Join us by donating to our next venture: holding one of our acclaimed camps in Queensland.
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