The myWAY Employability development team recently took an early version of their smart web application out for user testing at two large metropolitan schools, Brisbane State High School and Burpengary State College. Participating students on the autism spectrum from Years 9 – 12 gave detailed feedback on everything from the content, usability and look of the web app as they explored career options and goal setting based on their strengths, sensory preferences, learning styles and life skills.
“I don’t know how it got there, but this is accurate!” said one surprised Year 12 student, who already had a career in mind for life after school.
Burpengary State College Student Diversity Leader, Deashni Pillay said she’s looking forward to using the application with her Year 9 and 10 students to get them thinking about their future and what they want to do.
“The questions were user friendly, uncomplicated, but thought-provoking. It’s good for them to know their strengths… it will make them more employable to know what they enjoy doing,” Ms Pillay said.
The long-term vision is that myWAY Employability will be widely used in schools as a support resource for educators working with school leavers on the autism spectrum in transition planning. More than two-thirds of young people on the autism spectrum are unemployed or underemployed. “Our autistic students at this age are often confused about their future. This website will help to take away the confusion and give them a lot more insight,” said Ms Pillay.
“All of the information and resources are co-produced with the autistic community,” said Autism CRC Project Co-Leader, Cheryl Mangan. “One of the most beautiful things about working with young people on the spectrum is that they’re really honest and very constructive, which is necessary in any co-design.”
Thank you to all the staff, students and teachers that have helped in this stage of the development. Feedback from the testing is now being integrated into the final design, with myWAY Employability due to be launched in the coming months.