It’s Autism Awareness Month and there are many wonderful events and activities planned across Australia.
Thanks to these promotional campaigns awareness surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is growing and conversations surrounding ASD are much easier.
Playgroup WA operates PlayConnect Playgroups in four WA locations to support families with children with autism or similar communication needs.
Playgroup WA’s PlayConnect State Co-ordinator Julie Bloor said the playgroups aim to provide play opportunities that are flexible and tailored to the special needs of the children attending each group.
“In addition, an important aspect of the program is to build support and social networks between parents and caregivers by ensuring sessions allow parents and carers the time to share stories, advice and information,” Julie said.
PlayConnect playgroups also provide access to quality information about autism support services and processes.
Which is something Tanya Picen – who facilitates Playgroup WA’s South Lake PlayConnect playgroup – feels truly passionate about.
“PlayConnect playgroups really offer vital education and community support,” Tanya said.
Tanya speaks from first-hand experience – her teenage son Liam has ASD but it’s not holding him back.
Liam is a wonderful role model for many local families currently navigating the ASD landscape.
Earlier this month he received an award from NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski (who flew to Perth to present the award, pictured) for being the youngest person to pass the Foundation Certificate from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board.
The story ran in local media and the Sunday Times published a feature article too – reinforcing the message that while challenging, ASD will not stop someone from achieving their goals or reaching their potential.
“When I am at playgroup I try to always reassure our families that while ASD can make things harder, you should keep encouraging your children because you just never know what they will be able to achieve in the future,” Tanya said.
For more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) visit Autism Awareness Australia.