For Dylan Felton, living with autism means he is highly intelligent, loves movies and with his incredible memory, can recite entire movie scripts from start to finish. It also means that reading and writing can be difficult and he doesn’t love group conversations and activities.
Graduating high school presented new challenges for Dylan and like many of his peers he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next.
Dylan was connected in with NDIS support team Disability Matters in far north Queensland. Dylan’s support workers at Disability Matters are dedicated to linking Dylan in with the services that will best support him. As part of his NDIS plan, Dylan qualified for School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) and Dylan’s Disability Matters team encouraged him to connect with MAX to access these supports.
With the support of his MAX team, including SLES consultant Laurie Armstrong, Dylan landed work experience at Fresh St. Market IGA in Atherton in February. Working alongside a friend, Dylan slotted perfectly into the team that manages fresh fruit and vegetables. Undertaking work experience, Dylan worked nine hours a week impressing both his teammates and management with his work ethic.
However, as the threat of COVID-19 loomed and lockdown began, business adjustments nearly meant Dylan wouldn’t be able to continue his work experience.
This is when Laurie stepped her support up a notch – from her home office. Passionate to see Dylan continue in the role that he enjoys so much, she investigated and discussed options for Dylan with the Fresh St. team via phone and email. The IGA team were keen to keep Dylan if they could and the best way to do this was hiring Dylan as an official member of staff.
Dylan gladly accepted the position and was able to continue working his regular shifts.
With his first paycheque, Dylan was keen to treat his mum to dinner. COVID-19 restrictions at the time meant it had to be a home delivered meal, but he and his mum enjoyed it nonetheless.
Now that she’s secured Dylan a paid position, what’s next for Dylan and Laurie? Their story doesn’t end there.
“I’m now helping Dylan achieve another of his goals – attaining his car learner licence,” says Ms Armstrong.
She continues to deliver all her support services, including this one, virtually.
“Every Wednesday, Dylan and I catch up via video conference, and together we work through the Queensland Government’s PrepL online learning and assessment course, which is the first step to Dylan getting his driver’s licence,” she says.
Once Dylan successfully completes the online course, Laurie will help him to find a driving instructor.
Laurie Armstrong is one of many passionate MAX staff around the country, continuing to go above and beyond during COVID-19 to give our customers access to the best opportunities.
Find out if our team can support you by calling 1800 603 503.