Picture cards help young adults with autism set goals

Posted 4 years ago by Nicole Pope
Jermu Hautsolo and David Smith with the the Adolescent/Adult Goal Setting Tool [Source: Supplied]
Jermu Hautsolo and David Smith with the the Adolescent/Adult Goal Setting Tool [Source: Supplied]

Picture cards developed by young people with autism will assist other young adults and teenagers on the spectrum in identifying and reaching their personal goals.

The Adolescent/Adult Goal Setting Tool (AAGST) has been brought to life by Autism Queensland researchers, the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and students from the Studio G creative design program. 

The tool is comprised of a pack of 74 illustrated goal cards divided into nine categories; social relationships, self-care and home living, study and training, employment, health and fitness, community access and participation, communication, finances and emotional wellbeing.

The AAGST cards can be personalised and prioritised according to your goals, and a planning sheet allows you to create a plan to achieve them and track progress.

Illustrator of the cards and former Studio G participant, David Smith, ensured the cards represented society’s diversity including ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. 

“I started on the AAGST at the end of 2016 with my mentor, Jermu Hautsolo, shortly before I left Studio G as a participant and started mentoring teens on the spectrum at Teen Tech Shed,” Mr Smith explains.

“Jermu and I worked really well together, playing off each other’s strengths and experiences to create the artwork for the cards.

“It was very rewarding when I came back to Studio G as a mentor and got to see the AAGST being trialled with the participants and seeing how useful the tool was,” he says. 

Lead Researcher and Manager Research and Development at Autism Queensland, Dr Jill Ashburner, says 76 people on the spectrum, 34 family members and eight professional staff were involved in the AAGST’s development.

“During the first research phase, a list of items was generated in collaboration with members of the Australia and New Zealand Autistic Self Advocacy Network who suggested additions such as disclosure of autistic identity, self-advocacy and networking within the autistic community,” she explains. 

Dr Ashburner says David’s contemporary animation style appeals to young people using the tool. 

“Many of the goals are highly abstract in nature,” she explains. 

“For example, Exploring/meeting spiritual needs is an important goal with very different meanings for different people. 

“David demonstrated remarkable creativity and imagination in coming up with images that successfully communicate abstract ideas,” Dr Ashburner says. 

Studio G mentor Jermu Hautsolo describes working with David as “a treat.”

“He is a talented artist with a witty sense of humour.”

The tool is ideal for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planning, post-school transition planning for students, employment agencies, disability service providers and therapists supporting adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum with goal planning, individuals and their families.

The AAGST is also accessible and suitable for people with a range of disabilities aged from 14 to 60 years old. 

You can purchase the AAGST from the Autism Queensland website by clicking here.