myWAY Employability guides young people though a series of questions to help them identify their strengths, interests, learning and environmental preferences, and then matches this information to potential relevant careers and employment pathways. myWAY Employability provides scaffolded goal setting, to break goals into smaller action lists to track progress.
myWAY Employability is built on the foundation of more than six years of research, trials and evaluation related to the Better OutcOmes and Successful Transitions for Autism (BOOST-A) program. The BOOST-A is a digital transition-planning tool to help young people on the autism spectrum to plan what they will do after school.
In an Australian nationwide controlled clinical trial with 94 highschool students on the autism spectrum, the BOOST-A was considered appropriate, relevant, and easy to use by the students and their parents, and by education and health professionals who support them.
Students who used the BOOST-A reported higher levels of self-determination to achieve their goals for further study or training and employment goals, than students who used the existing generic school-based transition planning processes.
Adopting a human-centred design approach, we worked with autistic young people to really understand their needs and preferences, explore potential solutions, and ultimately co-design, test, and refine myWAY Employability.
In the discovery phase (Stage 1) of myWAY Employability we engaged with over 220 stakeholders - young people, parents, health professionals, and educators. A further 90 autistic young people were involved in the co-design and development (Stage 2) of myWAY Employability; taking part in co-design workshops, user testing, and/or providing feedback on various elements of the website.
Autism CRC also established a myWAY Employability Neurodiverse Youth Advisory Group (NYAG) to advise on the engagement elements of the website, content, and user expectations.
myWAY Employability was developed in consultation with autistic young people, and their supporters, parents, allied health professionals, researchers, disability service providers and educators from around Australia, and was proudly supported by Telstra Foundation under the Tech4Good Challenge initiative.
The Better OutcOmes and Successful Transitions for Autism (BOOST-A) program, included the work of Autism CRC PhD Scholar, Dr Megan Hatfield (Curtin University), and her supervisors Associate Professor Marina Ciccarelli, the late Emeritus Professor Sylvia Rodger AM, Dr Marita Falkmer and Professor Torbjorn Falkmer.
The design and development of myWAY Employability was led by Associate Professor Marina Ciccarelli (Curtin University), Cheryl Mangan (Autism CRC), Brendan James (Autism CRC), Adie Wilmot (Curtin University) and Alex Creece (Autism CRC Future Leader alumni).
We would particularly like to acknowledge the support of Neurodiverse Youth Advisory Group members. Thanks also to our technology development partner The Project Factory, and research partner CSIRO e-health Institute. We would also like to acknowledge Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) and the Queensland Department of Education (Autism Hub) for their ongoing support.
Our sincere thanks to the many hundreds of young people, parents, professionals and organisations who have been part of the myWAY Employability journey.
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