Unearthing special talents

LEAVING high school can be a tough transition for most students, but for those with special needs it can be particularly challenging.

Kardinya resident Colleen Armstrong, was working as a support person for people with special needs and realised people with mild disabilities were anxious about losing touch with their friends after graduating and struggled landing a job.

So in 2016 she established Proudly Productive in Booragoon, running workshops for people aged 12-25 in embroidery, felting, sewing and furniture-making.

• Kyran Doak.

Finished products are sold in Proudly Productive’s onsite shop and website, with the proceeds going towards outings to develop participants’ social skills.

In addition to the workshops and outings, there’s ‘pat and chat’ sessions with the company’s therapy chicken, Chooken.

Marc Barnsby-Buie has autism, and is one of many who has benefited from being a member of Proudly Productive.

He graduated from high school last year with a certificate in furniture making.

• Daisy Dimmick, Beau Mogridge and Marc Barnsby-Buie in a joinery workshop. Photos

During the workshops, Barnsby-Buie does carpentry using basic hand tools, learning “how to restore and make old furniture look new and revived.”

“Imagine a group of really good friends and you have to say goodbye to them at the end of the day but you know you’ll see them tomorrow,” he says. “It’s one of the best places I’ve worked at.”


Proudly Productive
Unit 3/502 Marmion Street

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