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www.mn.catholic.org.au Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
the pioneer parents who advocated for
children with special needs to be educated
in the schools their brothers and sisters
attended. Since 1994 the Special Needs
Working Party has advocated for families
of such children. In the schools the
learning support co-ordinators, teachers
and learning support assistants do sterling
work every day. A highlight of each year is
the Special Needs Mass which has been
celebrated for fourteen years."
After completing Year 12, Emma
became associated with Hunter
LabourForce Solutions (HLFS),
a specialised employment
service for people with a
disability and a division of The
Mai-Wel Group at Maitland.
With support, she obtained
a traineeship with the Catholic
Schools Office, working at her
former school, at Kurri Kurri. "My mentor
was Patricia Kinsley, a beautiful person
who so patiently trained me to be able to
work independently and complete many
different tasks at the school. The staff at
Holy Spirit supported me and really cared
for me. My HLFS case worker, Susan
Richards, helped me to gain confidence
and learn lots of new skills."
The culmination of Emma's training
was gaining a Certificate II in Business
Administration. This marked the end of
one stage of Emma's career -- and a
degree of anxiety about the next.
As Emma said to the 'breakfast club', "I
was very frightened and nervous about
what was going to happen once my
traineeship was finished. But I had no
need to be." Again, HLFS stepped in to
assist Emma find suitable employment.
Enter Amos Warner, manager at Luke
Apthorpe & Family Funeral Directors, Kurri
Kurri. While working with a funeral director
could be daunting for a young woman,
Emma saw an opportunity to learn
and to support people at difficult
times. "From the moment I
started I felt like it was all
going to be okay. Once again,
I've received support from
HLFS, firstly to settle in, and
then to learn new skills."
Amos takes up the story: "Within
no time at all Emma was entering data,
completing filing tasks and running
errands. She learned about cremations
and burials and the many types of funeral
services and products we provide." Emma
found the work immensely satisfying, but
the story doesn't end there.
"As Emma's confidence grew, she started
to greet people as they walked into our
reception area, she began answering
phones and placing people on hold --
now she asks for their name and takes
messages. Emma's people skills improved
dramatically as she observed the range
of people visiting our office, from the
sadness of arranging funerals, to happier
times when visitors drop by. Emma
delights our clients and visitors with her
thoughtful caring attitude. Two years down
the track, Emma says, "I feel like a part of
another family, valued and very supported.
I couldn't be happier." The Chapples too
are delighted that Emma, now 23, has
found such fulfilling employment and is
making a real contribution, every day. "We
all feel very blessed that Luke Apthorpe
was willing to give our daughter a go and
just wish that more employers were like
him," says Emma's father Brian.
A special event demonstrated just how
significant her contribution had become.
Amos explains, "We decided to show
off Emma's ability by inviting her friends
and family to take a tour of the premises.
Emma confidently led a group of 40 people
through our funeral home, explaining her
office duties, and also the tasks involved
with arranging a funeral. This was an eye
opener for many people, to have not only
a 'behind the scenes' tour, but to see
Emma beaming with excitement about
"Recently Emma has moved into a new
area, voluntarily assisting in the florist
shop on Saturdays in addition to her
five day week in the office. Surely fully
fledged floristry can't be too far away!
Concluding her address, Emma said, "To
anyone with special needs, don't give up,
there's support out there, you're not alone.
Follow your dreams and go for it. There
may be some challenges, but the staff of
Hunter LabourForce Solutions will be there
to support you. I am so grateful for the
opportunities that have been given to me."
You may like to visit www.maiwel.com.
After meeting with a
financial planner at
Australian Catholic Super
they moved their
into a pension account.
They now pay no tax on
earnings - leaving more
to spend on themselves.
To speak to a financial
planner about your
situation, call us
on 1300 658 776.
How did Wendy and Andrew
save so much money in
SUPERANNUATION / ALLOCATED PENSIONS / PLANNING ADVICE / INSURANCE
AN INDUSTRY SUPER FUND FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS / 1300 658 776 / www.catholicsuper.com.au
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like a part
Autism is a developmental disorder
that affects a person's ability to
perceive and connect with people and
the world around them. Commonly
referred to as autism spectrum
disorder (ASD), it has wide ranging
levels of severity.
Autism is a puzzling and complex
condition that is not fully understood
but thought to have neurological or
genetic causes (or both). A person
with autism has difficulties in some
areas of their development, but other
skills may develop typically. www.
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