PlayConnect

PlayConnect playgroups are part of the Australian Government’s $190 million Helping Children with Autism package which provides support and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
 
Families are very much involved with planning and running the PlayConnect playgroup sessions.

PlayConnect playgroups offer play activities suited to the needs of children aged 0-6 years with ASD or ASD like symptoms but are not early intervention therapy. Siblings and other family members are welcome to attend. Families have the opportunity to learn more about the early intervention services funded under the Australian Government's 'Helping Children with Autism' package.

Attending a PlayConnect playgroup is a great way for families to create a support network. 

The Power of PlayConnect


The little boy in the video below 
is non-verbal and never usually sits. He just lies on the floor tracking. After several weeks of modelling and support, he sat at the table for almost 30 minutes and did his first drawing.



At PlayConnect, the two boys pictured have been learning about teamwork and sharing. Now, they do great things together! It is a wonderful achievement that shows, with early intervention, that consistency is key. 



What is PlayConnect?


PlayConnect playgroups in Victoria


Click the image to download the PlayConnect playgroup list 


For more info


Diagnosis:

Autism Spectrum:
Provides information about early signs of autism, where to get further information and the diagnostic processes.
http://www.autismspectrum.org.au/DAS#My%20Doctor

Raising Children:
An easy to read factsheet on how Autism is diagnosed and the different tests and tools that may be used.
http://www.raisingchildren.net.au/articles/autism_spectrum_disorder_diagnosis.html

Amaze:

Clearly explains the assessment and diagnostic processes for Autism and provides links to resources on how to prepare for the future as well as sharing news of a diagnosis.

http://www.amaze.org.au/discover/about-autism-spectrum-disorder/assessment-diagnosis/

Funding:

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Government funding for people with extra care needs- currently being rolled out throughout the country
http://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/understanding-your-plan-and-supports

Resources for Parents:

Social supports:

MyTime: 
Runs events for parents and carers of children with disabilities- organises childcare in the same vicinity for the children of the parents/carers. 
http://www.mytime.net.au/
http://www.facebook.com/mytimeaustralia
Facebook: Autism Moms Support Group
International, American-based group run by a mother of a child with autism 
http://www.facebook.com/Autism/MomsSupportGroup/

Counselling Services:

Mental Health Care Plans:
Government funded psychology sessions for anyone with a mental health condition- organised through your GP
http://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/mental-health-care-plan
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/mental-health-care-plans

National Carers Counselling Program:
Provides free over the phone advice for carers of all ages
1800 242 636
http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/how-we-work/national-programs/national-care-plans

Parentline Victoria:
Free telephone counselling for parents and carers
132 289
http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/contact/Pages/parentline.aspx

Lifeline:
National service for crisis support and suicide prevention
13 11 14
http://www.lifeline.org.au/


Mindfulness Resources:

Reachout:
Factsheet on the importance of mindfulness and the associated health benefits and links to techniques.
https://au.reachout.com/articles/how-to-practice-mindfulness

Headspace:
A mindfulness app that provides information about meditation as well as guided sessions to help you get started.
https://www.headspace.com/

Mindful:
Provides simple tips and strategies on how to practice mindfulness.
https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

More information:

Raising Children:
Webpages, forums, videos and podcasts covering a wide range of topics related to parenting.
http://raisingchildren.net.au/

AMAZE:
The primary information hub and support body for people with autism, and their carers, in Victoria (previously Autism Victoria).
http://www.amaze.org.au/

Association for Children with a Disability:
A National service providing support and information for parents/carers and professionals working with children with disabilities.
http://acd.org.au/

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect):
A non-for-profit organisation that provides support and services for individuals with ASD and their families around Australia.
http://www.autismspectrum.org.au

Carers Victoria:
Provides social, cultural, economic and psychological specific resources for carers of all ages.
http://www.carersvictoria.org.au/

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres:
National service which assists carers with respite care if required and provides information on local services.
https://www.dss.gov.au/disability-and-carers/programmes-services/for-carers/commonwealth-respite-and-carelink-centres