I arrived at Kingscote airport, Kangaroo Island, for an annual Outreach visit. As I was leaving the terminal to collect a hire car, I saw a very familiar student (now 19 years old) working in a small booth called 'The Flying High Coffee Shop', making coffees for visitors. His mum Deb, was there too, helping him to learn the art of the Barista!
I have known Jacob for many years, since he was just 6 years old at Kingscote Area School, and over the years I have had many chats and meetings with his mum, Deb Schwerdt.
Deb is a really strong advocate for her children (she has 2 on the spectrum). She heard that the little coffee booth at Kingscote airport didn't have anyone making coffees. With a little initiative and some persistence Jacob is now running the coffee booth. He makes coffees really well, and is learning the required social skills (greeting tourists, and answering their questions).The many tourists to Kangaroo Island love it!
Being a barista is a good fit for him. He froths the milk really well, makes intricate patterns on the top, follows all the 'rules' of coffee making, and he only has to work when a flight is arriving or departing. He now has his P plates and it won't be long before he can drive to the airport on his own, make coffees independently and then drive home. What an inspiration to us all of what is possible!
By Erica Handley, Autism Spectrum Consultant, Autism SA
Display image on news article page?: Yes