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STEPS – What’s Next for Neurodiverse Students

Many parents may feel that after finding initial learning support for their smaller children what comes next? How can they help them to develop life skills, help them transition into further education or employment? And ultimately who do they turn to for support and guidance.

STEPS have a passionate team of specialists, therapists and trainees and run vocational training centres and coffee shops in Bangkok and Phuket for young adults (some who have learning differences), to gain the skills they need to access a fulfilling career. Their therapists work in the wider community to support children and young adults and their ultimate aim is to help all people lead purposeful, dignified lives.

“Steps is more than a training centre or coffee shop. It is a safe community space for all which promotes individuality.” Max Simpson, Steps co-founder.

Step service 5

They offer 3 different programmes starting with their Life Skills Programme for 11 to 18 year olds, Preparation for the Future Programme for 14 to 18 year olds and Transition to Employment Programme for 18 years and plus. They are fully accredited by ASDAN and use both their curriculums and their own which they have accredited for us- 100% of our graduates either continue into further education (such as foundation degrees) or transition into employment- We tailor our programmes to the individual strengths and motivations of each learner – Learners can gain work experience in our two onsite businesses (a coffee shop and business service centre) which enables them to try different types of work, and develop transferable skills for their futures – Crucially, we see learners develop social skills, confidence and self-worth when they take part in our programmes- We have education and therapy centres in Bangkok and Phuket.

Life Skills Programme (First Steps)

Their life skills programme is the first of three stages learners can access. It lays the foundations of confidence and self esteem so all of their learners feel empowered to move into a working environment.

They follow a typical school day, but with smaller class sizes (maximum 5-8 learners depending on the session). Their specialists take a hands on role within the learning sessions.

They will take the time to get to know the interests and abilities of your family member, then structure their work around those areas to maximise engagement and motivation. Once they’ve established a trusting relationship with them, they then work on the things they find harder.

If you would like to keep your family member at a mainstream school part time alongside their life skills programme, they encourage that and can take a flexible, learner centred approach. 

Preparation for the Future Programme (Next Steps)

Step service 2

On the Next Steps programme, they work out what learners want from their future, and whether their goals are academic or employment based and will help make this a reality.

This programme focuses on preparing learners for their future pathways, whether continuing with their academic development (college, foundation year, university) or getting them ready for work. As with all of their programmes, development of self-confidence, self esteem, social and communication skills is built in to everything they do.

NOTE: As each learner is an individual and may progress quicker or benefit from more time, they don’t restrict their programmes by age.

The Next Step Programme covers:

  • UK-accredited ASDAN qualifications with a focus on work and independence
  •  The option to begin BTEC qualifications which are more specific to an industry (such as Hospitality and Catering, Sports Management)
  • Internal internships with one of their in-house businesses (coffee shop, zero waste shop, business services centre)
  • Learning transferable skills in preparation for the workplace/further education (conflict resolution, following instructions, motivation, organisation and time management, showing initiative)
  • Becoming a peer mentor for the Life Skills programme and nurturing younger trainees.

Transition to Employment (Future Steps)

Step service 4

The Future Steps programme is all about moving their learners into a working environment at a pace they feel comfortable with, and helping their employers to help them. 100% of their graduates are now in employment.

Every single one of their graduates has transitioned into sustainable, paid, fulfilling employment and they don’t intend on that changing.

The Future Steps Programme covers:

  • Completion of any ASDAN/BTEC qualifications
  • Beginning external internships at one of their partner companies
  • Generalising skills learnt throughout the Life Skills and Preparation for Employment Programmes into new settings
  • Becoming a peer mentor for the Preparation for Employment Programme
  • Preparing CVs, attending mock job interviews, interviewing employers and industry specialists to gain insight into potential pathways
  • Reducing the number of days at the Training Centre as trainees prepare to begin work or transition to college/university.

Roles they have gone into include Accounts Assistant, Bakery Assistant, Barista, Shop Assistant, Data Entry Clerk and Communications Assistant but they will always try to connect their graduates with the employers they’d love to work for. Through their individualised approach for every learner and partnerships with their employers or own in house opportunities, there is a pathway for everyone.

Some of their graduates have also transitioned to foundation programmes at universities in the UK and Australia with graduates feeding back that their time with STEPS really helped them to prepare.

To see samples of their timetables and to find out if your child is eligible for one of these programmes and how to enroll please click HERE

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