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Tech club sparks IRL connections

Support for kids to live their best life comes in all sorts of packages.

For kids 10-16 with an interest in tech — and with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) — The Lab is making connections using the language of tech.

The Lab network of tech clubs provides a supportive learning environment and an unlikely way for kids to learn social skills and connect away from technology.

Game on for tech mentors

The program is run in South Australia and specialises inby Inclusive Directions — who specialise in supporting families living with ASD, GDD, intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviours.

The Lab program taps into a network of tech professionals as mentors across:
  • programming
  • 3D modelling
  • digital design
  • gaming.

Sessions (usually once a week) are unstructured so kids can choose their own path. Every day can be different or they can work on an ongoing project.

 

Meaningful outcomes for special kids

For community support worker and Lab Mentor, George Martin, it’s rewarding to see the kids develop their social and personal skills along the way.

“Tech and games are a great way to encourage informal learning. Kids that love games can learn how to build them — and how to connect with others,” he said.

“We encourage the kids to do what they love, and create a safe and supported space for that experience.” 

Keeping kids coming back

George says there’s a simple way to see if kids are getting something from the program.

“If they’re keen to come back each week, that’s a good sign they’re engaging. We’ve had kids go from not talking to anyone to being part of a peer group playing games they built together or on servers they've set up themselves.”

“They’re all getting more from The Lab than anything we can teach them about tech.”

If you’re in South Australia, call 1800 236 762 to connect with The Lab tech clubs.