16 year-old Jenny Trac is better equipped to transition from high school to adulthood after completing a 9 week work experience placement at Therapy Focus as part of Canning Vale College’s Workplace Learning Program.
Jenny, who has autism, was kept busy during the placement creating resources for the therapy team at Therapy Focus’ Maddington office. Her daily activities included cutting, copying, laminating and applying Velcro. Therapy Focus Speech Pathologist Brittany Maiolo said the therapy team used a variety of strategies to help Jenny stay on task.
“We used ‘box work’ to help Jenny move through the different activities. This involves the tasks being divided into individual boxes such as cutting, laminating and Velcro-ing. Once she’d finished cutting all the resources in the cutting box, we would use key-word sign and tell her that she’d finished that task and then ask her to move onto the next box,” Brittany said.
“We also used a visual schedule to help her transition between tasks. This was also helpful to outline the day’s activities such as getting to and from work, morning tea and lunch time.”
Canning Vale College Education Assistant Kelly Freeman said Jenny has shown many improvements since finishing her placement.
“The use of visual aids and schedules has been really helpful for Jenny, not just with her work tasks but also things like remembering to walk and not run inside,” Kelly said.
“Jenny has made great progress and really pays attention to her visual cues.”
Brittany agreed saying, “The workplace learning opportunity has helped Jenny work towards her communication goals. We created a resource called ‘My News from Workplace Learning’, which encouraged Jenny to talk to her family about what she’d been doing here at Therapy Focus.”
Jenny will continue to develop these skills when she begins her second placement at Therapy Focus in Term 1 2017.
For more information about how Therapy Focus can help people with disabilities navigate the transitions in their life visit www.therapyfocus.org.au/transitions.
Pictured: Jenny hard at work in the Therapy Focus Maddington office.