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Lisa and Gary’s Story (parents of Kyle)

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“We couldn’t ask for a better Kyle”

Lisa and Gary once thought that their son Kyle would struggle to see a future that involved work and a full life. Kyle, who has autism and is dyslexic, didn’t speak until he was three years old and found it hard to express himself through language. “Prior to high school, his future was not too bright” said his father Gary. However, with Lisa and Gary’s support and by persisting to follow his dreams, Kyle’s future is now full of possibilities as he plans for an apprenticeship at the Queenscliff Brewhouse.

Lisa and Gary have seen a lasting change in Kyle’s confidence and communication skills since being involved in the Geelong Ticket to Work network. The network invited Kyle to participate in a range of work preparation activities through school, which helped him to find his passion for cooking. Ticket to Work and Gforce Employment Solutions.  Employment coach, Helen Gane, introduced Kyle to the manager of the Queenscliff Brewhouse, Deb Murray, who could see his potential, first as a work experience student and then as a paid employee through the Ticket to Work After-School Job pilot. The opportunity to work at the Brewhouse gave Kyle the incentive to finish year 12, “by Kyle having a job, it’s actually given him a purpose” says his mum Lisa.

Gary and Lisa love the fact that Kyle is now more independent through going to work. “It’s been really good because he had to go to the workplace without us”, says Lisa. “I’m not his spokesperson anymore, so he has to speak, whatever he wants to know, he needs to ask, not go through me like he used to.” Kyle has rapidly improved his communication with others, and he now “listens and can converse in a manner that you can understand”, says Gary, who praises the work of Kyle’s teachers and the Ticket to Work initiative. “If it wasn’t for the teachers doing what they do, then programs like this wouldn’t exist, if you want something make it exist, don’t just say, look, they’ll be right, find a way to help teach them outside the box.” Kyle’s parents say persistence is the key and to encourage employers to “just give these kids a go, a lot of these students have parent backing” Kyle now takes over the kitchen at home and has quite a lot to say about how things should be cooked, but Lisa and Gary don’t mind. “As parents, we’re really proud, we get quite emotional. We couldn’t ask for a better Kyle”, says Lisa.