I CAN Network – empowering students with autism

I CAN Network is leading the way to help students with autism build their confidence through their in-school mentoring programs.

Following the success of face-to-face mentoring for secondary students in the South East, Metropolitan and North Coast Regions, the I CAN Network has developed an online version of the program to enable students in regional areas to get involved.

The online program will enable students across Queensland to work online with autistic mentors and connect with fellow students with autism in remote parts of the state.

James Cifuentes, Queensland Network Leader for I CAN Network, has led the mentoring program since 2017 and will be leading the online program in 2019.

"Our mentoring programs develop self-acceptance, belonging, optimism and confidence," said Mr Cifuentes.

"As our mentors are on the autism spectrum, participating schools and students are creating employment opportunities. They join a growing movement of schools and businesses that share our vision - a world that benefits from embracing autism."

The Department of Education's Autism Hub has been collaborating with I CAN Network since 2016. Autism Hub Director Vicky Booth said the I CAN online mentoring program has been designed by students and adults with autism.

"For some students in remote areas, it may be the first time they have met an adult or another student with autism," she said.

"Taking a strengths-based approach to discussing how they see themselves, mentors encourage students to share their special interests and individual strengths, as well as develop an I CAN talk about their experience as a young person with autism."

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Last reviewed 30 April 2019
Last updated 30 April 2019