Clarence Valley Independent

Technology Club for kids with high functioning autism is coming to the Clarence Valley

Wanted – kids, who reside in and around the Clarence Valley district, aged 10 to 16, with high functioning autism and Asperger’s who enjoy working with computers to participate in an innovative technology program.

The Lab is coming to Grafton. Go to and watch the short video ‘Introduction to the Lab’.

The Lab Grafton will commence their first session on June 15. Expressions of interest are requested by May 31.

What is The Lab?
The Lab aims to increase a young persons’ capacity for social engagement and the development of important friendship skills through their shared interests in technology, especially computer gaming. The Lab is not a structured educational program but provides mentored sessions where participants can explore their own technology interests in a supportive mentored environment. The Lab started in 2011 with a single venue and now comprises a network of 20 venues. In 2018 over 1000 sessions were delivered nationally involving over 750 young people with Autism. The Lab is now coming to the Clarence Valley with a new venue set to open in Grafton.

What we do in Lab sessions –
At each weekly two-hour Lab session (Saturday morning), two or more computer programmers and designers work individually with between 12 and 20 young people to develop their social and technology skills. We provide an environment where participants can share their interests in a wide variety of activities such as gaming together, video creation and sharing, graphic design, programming and game development. Mentors are available during Lab sessions to support activities or to work with participants on new projects of interest to them.

We’ve found that some of the most useful things first learned by participants during Lab sessions are social and personal skills. This includes learning about how to work with others, how to make friends and how to interact socially, as well as simply feeling accepted and valued by peers with common interests. The Lab is about technology skills too, but typically the programming and design skills come a little later once participants have settled in. This can take a little time and one of the essential aspects of The Lab is that kids find their own place and in their own time.

Our approach to Lab sessions
We take an unstructured approach, so every session can be different. We want participants to undertake activities because it interests them, not because they have to. This approach is deliberately unlike school and is based on our experience with hundreds of young people. The Lab is designed to be a cool and accepting place to visit, hang out and learn while having fun.

If you are interested or require further information, please contact me below, or visit The Lab website listed below.

‘A Technology Club for young people with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism’. 

The Lab Grafton. 
New School of Arts – Old Council Chambers building 64 Spring Street (Cnr of New Street).
Phone: 0419 610 917

Bob Carnaby, Organiser (Volunteer)

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