Lifestyle

Autism funding to help families

Mum and artist Melanie Jai with son Miller, who has autism spectrum disorder, and daughter India at the opening of her exhibition.
Mum and artist Melanie Jai with son Miller, who has autism spectrum disorder, and daughter India at the opening of her exhibition. Katrina Elliot

A CENTRE offering assistance and therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will start helping Gladstone families almost immediately thanks to new funding.

Autism Queensland program manager Valerie Preston said the centre would offer family and group-based early intervention programs for children aged under six.

“We've been given funding from Disability Services under the Helping Children with Autism program to open two new regional centres, one in Gladstone and one in Mackay,” Ms Preston said.

“We are fortunate in Gladstone that until we secure suitable premises for the centre, we can already work from our Rockhampton office with dedicated Gladstone staff.

“They are already contacting families and working on outreach programs.”

Ms Preston said she was already looking for suitable premises for a centre in Gladstone, which would ultimately host group programs not unlike a specialised kindergarten offering access to allied health services and a pathway for pre-school age children with autism to transition to school.

The number of diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder have risen markedly over the past decades, Ms Preston said. “There's a bit of a debate about why it appears that there are more diagnoses of autism appearing than ever before,” she said. “There's a number of theories about that but I think the main reason is that we have better diagnostic techniques than we did before, which enable us to help younger children sooner.”

She said the changing face of learning in schools had meant that autistic-like behaviour was identified earlier in schools.

“In the past, these children probably didn't go to school at all, or school was so rigid with lots of fixed rules and routines, which is quite a comfortable environment for many children with autism,” Ms Preston said.

“Now with child-based education and a lot of work being done in social groups it becomes clearer a lot sooner which children are not coping.

Ms Preston said Autism Queensland was excited and pleased to receive the funding for the new centres in Gladstone and Mackay.

Families affected by autism in Gladstone are encouraged to contact Autism Queensland about the new centre.

Connecting families with support

For Mareika Holmes, the opening of an Autism Queensland centre in Gladstone will be a “fabulous” development for the region.

Two of Mrs Holmes’ children, aged 15 and 13, have autism and she is the secretary of the Gladstone Area Autism Support Group.

She frequently helps families whose child is newly diagnosed.

“I’ve just had a telephone call from a family in crisis.

"I try to give them some kind of hope and direction, but I’m just an ordinary mum with an ordinary family and I can only share my experience,” she said.

Mrs Holmes said finding assistance could be a full-time job.

“I’m a 100% on the job, full-time carer for them.

"I’ve had to source funding, apply for assistance from different agencies, chase doctors from out of town.

"A centre would be great because it would connect families with the support they need,” she said.

Local artist Melanie Jai, whose son Miller, 10, has autism spectrum disorder, agrees.

“We’ve always needed to seek specialist care in the major metropolitan centres.

"Aside from being a major emotional and financial burden on the families, all that travelling is not good for a child with ASD.

"They thrive on stability and routine,” she said.

“It’s amazing news.”

Topics:  families funding gladstone



8 things you didn't know you could do at North Straddie

NORTH Stradbroke Island is the perfect getaway whether you plan to stay for a day, a week or even a month.

A whisky-lover's blueprint to Brisbane's best bars

Check out The Gresham for some old-school fine drops.

SCOTCH, Whiskey and Whisky; it all gets a bit confusing.

Your guide to the best Brisbane markets

Enjoy the beautiful offerings of one of Brisbane's many markets.

WHO doesn’t love a good market!?

Ain’t no mountain high enough

No Caption

Brisbane's dishing up the mountain-hiking goods!

Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

The Gresham's charm will win you over before your first sip.

THESE are the perfect places to hang this winter.

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Boyne Valley Flooding: Resident sick of being 'ignored'

The picturesque Boyne Valley

A Boyne Valley resident says the area's flooding is being ignored

Politicians ducking for cover in light of Deepwater road upgrade

The current track through Deepwater National Park.

Council is looking at options to link Baffle Creek and Agnes Water

WATCH LIVE STREAM: Local gun plays for Open Heelers today

WATCH LIVE STREAM: Country Heelers take on the Queensland Premier President's Team today at 3pm.

Watch live stream of Gladstone gun play for the Country Heelers

Local Partners

Arrival of NDIS, community called to act on 'social responsibility'

GCLA launches newest social enterprise and discusses NDIS arrival, calling community to act on its social responsibility


Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Country music stars coming to Ipswich

Ipswich will get it's country on when The Country Superstars Tribute Show hits town on Friday, June 30 at Brothers Leagues Club.

A UNIQUE tribute show will bring a bit of country into the city.

Shoes make difference to kids in Zambia

MANY SHOES: Toowoomba Grammar School's Adrian Irwin and Fairholme College's Libby Stumer with shoes collected for children in Zambia.

Students are making a difference, creating a new project

The top 10 TV shows that need to end

WHEN Fonzie donned water skies to leap a man-eater in a pond, Happy Days’ best days were gone. It’s now time to cull some of our favourites.

Prince Harry reveals he wanted to leave the royal family

Prince Harry was the center of attention during his trip to Sydney.

Prince Harry has revealed he “wanted out” as a Royal

Why streaming movies will cost more from July 1

Australians can expect to pay more for streaming services such as Netflix when the new taxes kick in.

The new taxes from July 1 won’t hurt the MPs’ big pay rise

What's on the small screen this week

Ryan Shelton in a scene from True Story with Hamish & Andy.

HAMISH and Andy hear another funny story and Cleverman returns.

Your guide to fun at the Mount Larcom Show this weekend

Mt Larcom show June 26, 2016.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

Your guide to having as much fun as possible at the Mt Larcom Show

Bonus Bill Busters Bingo card with today's paper!

Get an extra bingo car with today's paper.

Don't miss out on your bonus card.

Gateway to $3 billion, 4800 home new Coast city opens

The start of Peter Crosby Way at Sippy Downs, the northern access into the Harmony master-planned community at Palmview.

Palmview's $3b master-planned community of Harmony

Millionaire Nathan Birch to offload $55M in property

Nathan Birch wants to focus more on developing properties.

Sydney property investor has announced he is selling up

Government 'wrong' on home buyer's grant

Fresh REIQ figures show Gladstone's median house price for the March quarter dropped 11.6% to $271,500 from the previous quarter and units fell a dramatic 30.2% to $220,000.

Property expert says grant must cover built homes to help Gladstone

Fame factor boosts property prices in Byron

The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay.

House prices surge by an incredible 39.5% in star-studded area

Grass is greener for Warwick real estate

Warwick's rural charm and affordable property prices are enticing buyers from Brisbane.

Quality houses for half the price of Brisbane attracting interest

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!