Eighteen-year-old Kotara resident Yuko is at one of the most exciting turning points in a young person’s life – his last year of school. The world is full of new possibilities.
Yuko is small – the size of an average eight-year-old – but what he lacks in physical size, he makes up for in strength of personality. Mostly non-verbal, Yuko misses nothing that goes on around him. He’s irrepressibly social, enjoying conversations using his PODD (Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display) and loves being active outdoors. Like many eighteen-year-olds, he is preparing for his future as he transitions from his specialist school into adult life.
His mum, Catriona, recognises that transitioning into life post-school can also be a daunting time. “Yuko has high support needs and when it came to leaving school I knew that we were going to struggle finding somewhere that suited,” she explains.
Because of this, she started looking at post-school options early, while Yuko was still in Year 11. She visited lots of different providers, and settled on Avenue – a coworking space in Warabrook which empowers social and economic inclusion through microbusiness. She enrolled Yuko one day a week as he finishes school, and hopes to increase this when he graduates, balancing it with Yuko’s love of horse riding and sailing.
Catriona is a big believer in everyone having a purpose and was interested to see how Yuko could meaningfully engage at Avenue, where workflows are redesigned and broken down so that everyone can participate. Yuko contributes to Avenue’s order fulfilment microbusiness, helping send customers’ online orders for Avenue’s business partners. He also supports his teammates by taking their coffee orders and going to the cafe – a job that gives him both purpose and enjoyment, as it indulges his social side!
As Avenue becomes part of Yuko’s routine, both he and Catriona are both feeling more reassured about what his future holds post-school. “He’s a lot more independent when mum’s not around,” jokes Catriona.
Yuko’s recently-reprinted PODD now has a section on Avenue so Yuko can communicate about his day there. It features all the friends he has made at Avenue – friends who will be a regular part of Yuko’s adult life. “Yuko is always really happy to go to Avenue,” Catriona says. “He has meaningful social interactions, bringing joy to him and his teammates.”