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29 Oct 2020


Proactive autism advocate launches business with SSI’s support


Haydn Payne’s Spectrumite podcast series speaks directly to the heart of the challenges faced by young people with autism

After being initially flagged as possibly having ADHD, Haydn was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 16 in the 1990s – a time when there was very little support for neutrally divergent young people. As a consequence, Haydn has had to break down barriers and cope with his condition through his own set of resilience tactics.

“As someone growing up in a low socio-economic environment, and during a time in the ’90s when many didn’t know what Asperger’s even was, I found myself facing many challenges,” he said.

“After many frustrations, I decided to do something more proactive and get involved in the autism community and advocate to raise awareness.”

Haydn worked with Autism Step Australia and developed a holistic approach to life skills for young adults aged 14 to 30 on the autism spectrum and now co-facilitates with the organisation.

Between 2017 and 2018 he delivered and facilitated Spectrumite Group — a peer mentorship group model that creates a safe and inclusive environment for young adults on the spectrum.

In 2018, Haydn was introduced to IgniteAbility® and has since piloted his first podcast, Spectrumite, a series for high functioning young adults on the autism spectrum, with the support of his IgniteAbility® facilitator.

There are unique challenges facing adolescents on the spectrum who are high functioning. Integrating into mainstream social, study, workplace and relational environments can feel almost impossible at times. Haydn’s PRISM program and the Spectrumite podcast series are targeted at this group in ways, direct and subtle, that speak directly to the heart of the challenges these young people face.

With firsthand lived experience, Haydn applies astute insight and knowledge to his product, dealing with the unique challenges facing adolescents on the spectrum who are integrating into mainstream social, workplace and relational environments.

“My podcast aims to help kids so that they can reach their full potential in a world structured not for them, but for neurotypical people,” he said.

The podcast and PRISM program are only the first step in the puzzle for Haydn, and he intends to continue the development of a suite of products that will help young people to more successfully navigate their adult lives.

“Once the podcast and my PRISM program have reached some momentum, I’m planning to roll out workable solutions, online content, peer group facilitation and supports,” he said.

IgniteAbility® has been inspired by the success of the Ignite® Small Business Start-ups model and is tailored to address barriers and meet the specific needs of entrepreneurs living with a disability, providing an ecosystem of support.

So far 47 IgniteAbility® businesses have been successfully established.

You can support other entrepreneurs living with a disability by making a donation.

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