Different Journeys was co-founded by two mums (Mel and Merrin) with autistic children who were unable to find suitable support or services for their teenagers. Their idea evolved into a autistic friendly event where autistic teens could meet, share their interests, find a tribe and hang out like other teens. On February 28th 2016, Different Journey’s(DJ) first autistic Teen Peer Support Social event was held at Club Kilsyth. Since those early days DJ’s events have diversified to include monthly adults and teens events in Maroondah and Greensborough, Carer education, Professional Development for educators and allied health professionals, an annual family camp and monthly ASD family swim nights in Kilsyth and Knox. What Different Journeys has been able to achieve in its short history has been extra-ordinary – there are so many positive success stories shared by its autistic teens, adults and their families about the new links they have with their Autism community, the new friendships, their first tribe and the support they have been experienced.
Our peer support social events are for both autistic teens, adults and their carer/families. It helps to build transferrable skill sets such as communication skills, social skills, ability to maintain more meaningful relationships and skills to access the community. There are lots of ‘hidden rules’ when going out socially in public and we aim to empower our autistic community with the skills and knowledge by creating real events in a safe and supported environment to learn. For the carers its also about building their skills, navigating the ‘unknown’ of how to manage different situations socially and being able to access the community and increase their acceptance through greater knowledge and education.
Different Journeys specialises in helping teens and adults living with Autism, and their families, to come together and socialise with the ability to access resources in a safe and supportive environment.