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About 4 years ago we advertised for support workers to be part of Hayden’s team and one of the applicants was Jodie Zutt who had previously worked in a disability support environment. After interviewing her though it was obvious to me that we needed to give her a unique role given her particular qualities and skills. Jodie is a gifted artist and has lived experience of neurodiversity as well as trauma which are all part of Hayden’s journey. We decided to offer her the opportunity to engage with Hayden as his art mentor given how important his artwork is to him every day. It has been so moving to see their relationship develop over the years and I think everyone who has witnessed this evolve would agree that it has been life changing for both of them. After years of Hayden’s daily drawing and knitting practice for the first time Jodie saw the beauty, function and quality of Hayden’s work. It is a truly unique relationship they have and one in which for the first time Hayden is seen as a peer in the true sense of the term. Through Jodie’s eyes we have gained so much more knowledge of who Hayden is and what is important to him, but most importantly what he is communicating through his art. In her thirst for understanding how to best connect with Hayden Jodie found an amazing practitioner by the name of Phoebe Caldwell who is based in the UK and has for 40+ years helped many to understand how to connect with and support people on the autism spectrum. This lead to a relationship forming between Phoebe, Jodie and Hayden and his team via skype which is another whole story on its own!! Phoebe’s insight and coaching has been another life changing factor for Hayden and would not have occurred without Jodie searching for understanding. Phoebe is well into her eighties and continues to work and publish books one of which she has worked collaboratively on with Jodie and dedicated to Hayden. One of the insights that Phoebe shared via Jodie was to buy Hayden heavy boots and put textured insoles in them and Hayden has chosen to wear them most days when out walking after many years of barefoot walking. What will be also on display at the exhibition will be Jodie’s use of technology to enhance communication with Hayden. His skills in using technology as part of his art expression has also been life changing for him including providing a bridge for communication between Hayden and others. Everything Hayden does or says is valued as communication and artistic expression thanks to Jodie and the relationship they share. This exhibition came about as a consequence of a couple of pieces of Hayden’s art being part of a larger exhibition hosted by Banyule council. Following this exhibition the curator offered Hayden with Jodie’s support the opportunity for an exhibition and one month as artists in residence. I have images etc that can be shared as well if that is helpful going forward. If you google Hayden’s name there are a number of historical articles that will come up including my witness statement at the Disability Royal Commission telling tough parts of his journey through the disability support system. Over the years my hope for great possibilities for Hayden has been very much been driven by hearing the stories of others. I know this story will impact many more who are hoping for great outcomes for their family members too. Dariane McLean