Parenting a child with Autism can be an emotional and confusing journey. As with all challenges we face as parents, having support around you can be crucial to success. Often the daunting nature of parenting a child with special needs can be lessened with the right support around you. But how do you find the right support? Friends, family, doctors and schools are a great resource for general support, but sometimes yours and your child’s needs go beyond this traditional network.
Here are some groups available in Brisbane to support parents and children with Autism:
Autism Awareness Australia: A great source of information about Autism and all the support available not only in Brisbane but Australia wide.
Empower Autism: They are passionate about supporting the autistic community. They are strong advocates of the benefits of peer-led support. Therefore, they firmly believe that autistic people need to be involved in the design and delivery of programs and services for other autistic people. As a relatively small, but growing, organisation, they are focussed on providing programs and services where they see the greatest need. Therefore, many programs are aimed at autistic people aged 14 years and over. Currently, the programs and services include: Support groups for Adults, Young Adults, Parents and Youth; Peer Mentoring; Life Skills Courses and Information, Support and Referral services.
FSG Australia: One of Australia’s largest community organisations focusing on connecting people and disability support in their community.
Ability Care QLD: Focus on enhancing the quality of life of adults and children with sensory disabilities to allow them to live the life they want.
Autism CRC: Run out of The University of QLD, this group offers education support and beyond.
Kooky Kids: Offer a number of group options that celebrate your child’s “differences” to help them develop into interesting, creative and compassionate human beings.
Minds and Hearts: Offers a large range of support options including groups for different ages in term and over school holidays. They also do work with siblings and issues specific to girls on the spectrum and well as teenager issues.
AEIOU: Focused on early intervention learning and practical care and support this organisation strives to enhance the lives of children with Autism.
Playconnect playgroups The PlayConnect Playgroups are facilitated playgroups specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or ASD like symptoms aged 0-6 years.
The Lab A network of technology clubs for children and young people who identify as being on the autism spectrum and who enjoy working with computers
Autism Adventures Autism Adventure’s Social Groups are for people who are on the Autism spectrum, living with high functioning Autism, and/or Asperger’s Syndrome. Groups on the Gold Coast and Brisbane, for ages 9-14 and 15+
The Gaming Den The Gaming Den is a supportive gaming environment located in Ipswich. They provide a safe gaming space, designed with autistic people in mind to play video games and socialise together.
The Experience Collectors QLD The Experience Collectors QLD is a new, innovative, multidisciplinary approach to therapy and individual skill acquisition for autistic youth. Utilising outdoor ‘Adventure days’ and overnight ‘Camp-outs’ to engage their tribe members, they allow them the opportunity to interact with nature and each other in a completely supported, accepting environment.
Autism Support Groups
These groups and organisations are just the tip of the ice-berg that we have found. There are lots of community groups that offer support for kids with autism. Check out your local Scouts, PCYC or Community Centre to find out more. There are also many online support groups – research these thoroughly before joining in making sure they are offering the right kind of support.
When looking for support, remember it is not a “one size fits all” affair. Try out different options until you find the one that best suits your needs. You may need to utilise several support groups to make sure that your and your child’s needs are met. If you know of an awesome Autism Support Group then please share with us in the comments below so that we can in turn share with Brisbane!