When Liam was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome 15 years ago, his parents were told that he would never be able to hold down a job and that he would be dependent on them for the rest of his life.
Liam and his family chose not to listen to that advice.
According to Liam’s father, Brian, securing employment is the latest in a long list of goals that Liam has achieved to help him prepare to take his place in society.
Almost six months into his new job as a data analyst with Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ), Liam has developed two things. The first is a love of Excel (something he didn’t think would happen), the second is a new sense of independence and self-confidence.
“I like that I’m learning something new every day. Especially with Excel. I’ve been learning how to use it more and now I really think it’s fun,” he said.
Now that he has a job Liam, just like many young men in their early 20s, is looking forward to moving out of home into his own apartment.
His parents’ pride in Liam’s success is clear. Brian explained that goal setting had been an important step in helping Liam develop life-skills.
“We started with smaller goals, and over time have built up to bigger goals,” Brian said.
“Attending mainstream school, attending TAFE after high school, completing a degree in computer science at QUT. Employment was certainly the next major goal.
“Since starting work, Liam has become more confident in himself and has become more independent. He’s happier in himself doing this job,” he said.
Robert Sobyra, Director of Evidence, Data and Innovation said Liam has become an important member of the research team.
“Liam himself talks about how important having a job is to his sense of independence and being self-sufficient. And it all comes back to being meaningfully employed and making a contribution to the world. As a labour economist myself I don’t think there’s anything more important than that,” Robert said.
According to Liam, without the support of EPIC, he probably wouldn’t have found CSQ.
Robert also described the experience of working with EPIC as a positive one.
“What EPIC has allowed us to do is to really understand how to accommodate and adapt to the needs of the people coming into our organisation.”
When it comes to his team at CSQ, Liam explains that while he isn’t a very social person he likes working with his team and that the people he works with are very friendly.
Liam’s message for other employers is clear.
“There’s definitely a job for everyone. We Asperger’s people are very smart in our chosen field. Don’t underestimate us. Ever.”