Hello! My name is Joe Fautley. I’m a young person on the Autism Spectrum and I am currently taking part in some work experience for Achieving for Children (AfC). 

I’m 21 years old and I’ve lived and studied in the Kingston Borough all my life. Having graduated with a First, I will now be studying a Master’s Degree in History at Kingston University from this September.

I am very passionate about being able to develop new skills for myself and to be involved in a variety of community projects which enable children and young people to have a voice in decision making. I was introduced to various projects and opportunities through the Participation Team.

Back in 2013, I was involved in shaping the original Local Offer website. Over the last two years, this has now expanded and I’ve been actively involved in the design and development of the newly launched AfC Info website, which offers a much more extensive variety of information about support and services which AfC can provide for all families including children and young people. I have been able to help design the Young People’s section on the site, making it more inclusive and young person friendly.

In order to maintain an exciting and dynamic online presence, the AfC Info website will always need to be updated and refreshed. In partnership with Karen Lowry, I am delighted to be playing a role in this multifaceted development. For example, we are co-producing an Autism specific section with local representatives and young people. Once completed, this section will help to navigate Autistic children, young people and their families to a bank of helpful information about support which is available to them.

One other aspect of my work will be the continued development of the dedicated Young People’s Hub on the Local Offer. We envisage the Hub to be a welcoming and interactive online space where children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can discover lots of exciting information and be inspired by other young people to follow their dreams. We have already made important steps towards creating this, with new categories focused on young people’s stories, messages and easy read materials; plus the introduction of video content which young people have told us that they prefer. However, there is still much more to be developed and I am proud to work with a variety of people, including local young people with SEND themselves, to do this.

I would like to thank my manager Karen and AfC as a whole for giving me the opportunity to take part in a work placement around an area which I am exceptionally passionate about.