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Fifteen-year-old Alex* lived at home with his mother in a regional town in Victoria. Alex had an eating disorder and had been experiencing mental health issues, both of which affected his learning.

Alex also hadn't been attending school for over a year.

As well as mental health and family services supporting Alex, he was referred to our Navigator program to help him re-engage with education.

The Navigator program supports young people aged 12 to 17 years and actively works with them to return to school. The program is funded by the Victorian Government, with Berry Street currently running the program in 2 regions of Victoria.

Our Navigator workers took time to build rapport with Alex before taking a two-fold approach to helping him. Firstly, we supported his mother to have him assessed for potential Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and to attend medical appointments.

Alex had expressed that he was passionate about computer programming. The approach also involved finding a school option that would meet Alex’s needs and support him to develop his IT skills.

Alex started attending the Community Learning Centre and began working towards his VCAL in 30 minute blocks. He was introduced to one teacher at a time, and when his attendance was regular he received a laptop to practice programming.

With his ASD diagnosis, his mother received information, insights and parenting support. Alex was also linked in with the Royal Children’s Hospital to support him with his nutritional issues.

He now attends the Community and Learning Centre full-time and his attendance is almost perfect. Alex’s physical, mental health and self-care have all improved, and he has made a friend that he walks to and from school with each day.


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*Name has been changed in the interest of privacy. The models and volunteers pictured are not connected to the case study.