Playgroups are a tremendous platform for supporting families with children with additional needs. At Playgroup Victoria, we strive to create a playgroup community that is inclusive of all families.
Support for children with autism
Play in a social environment for children with ASD and ASD-like traits can be challenging. The difficulties many of the children experience with communication, change and social interaction can make many types of typical play problematic. As a result, children with ASD or ASD-like traits often avoid or fail to engage in play in regular or meaningful ways and miss out on learning opportunities that would allow them to better negotiate and understand the world around them. PlayConnect playgroups provide the opportunity for children with ASD to engage in appropriate and supported play, which allows opportunities for children to grow, develop, engage and shine. The PlayConnect program also provides families with the opportunity to connect and share experiences, while the facilitator assists them with information and links to relevant services. To find out more head to: www.playconnect.com.au
Please find a list of our PlayConnect Playgroups by clicking on the button below:
Peer support for parents
MyTime is peer support for parents and carers of children with a disability, developmental delay or chronic medical condition. Please note – As of 1st July 2022 Playgroup Victoria will no longer run MyTime groups. For more information about MyTime please click the button below.
Making playgroups inclusive for all families
Playgroup Victoria recognises the opportunity that exists in both supported playgroups and community playgroups, to include children of all abilities and backgrounds in the playgroup experience. Children with a disability [and from different backgrounds] share universal rights with all people, and share the additional rights of all children as identified in the UN Convention on the rights of the child (UNICEF, 1990). The specific rights of children with a disability are expressed in the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UN, 2006). Among other international statements, the UNESCO Salamanca statement (UNESCO, 1994) on inclusive education recognises the importance of inclusion of children with a disability in mainstream education.
Research tells us that children with additional needs fair better in mainstream environments, therefore, Playgroup Victoria is aiming to increase access for children with additional needs to mainstream playgroups by supporting and mentoring playgroups to be Inclusive. For further assistance and support on adopting inclusive practices in your playgroups, please contact us here
- Children of all abilities and backgrounds living, learning and playing together
- Valuing each child’s individual strengths and needs
- All children participating because the programs are planned to meet children’s individual needs
Inclusion is about access, but also…
- Believing that all children have the potential to learn
- Understanding child development
- Knowing children with disabilities are more like all children than different
- Encouraging children to be independent
- Providing a physical environment that meets the needs of the child
- Planning activities that all children can do
“Inclusion is not a strategy to help people fit into the systems and structures which exist in our societies; it is about transforming those systems and structures to make it better for everyone.”
Diane Richler, Past-President, Inclusion International
Over the course of a decade we have developed play kits designed to support children with ASD or similar traits, to play and socialise. The kits contain communication resources and play activities to help scaffold children’s play and learning. These subsided kits are available for sale and mentoring support for play leaders is available in certain regions.
To learn more about these kits, or to purchase one for your group, please phone 1800 171 882.
Useful links and resources
ASDetect: Detecting early signs of autism
Raising Children: An easy to read fact-sheet on how Autism is diagnosed and the different tests and tools that may be used
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
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Government funding for people with extra care needs- currently being rolled out throughout the country
Mental Health Care Plans:
Government funded psychology sessions for anyone with a mental health condition- organised through your GP
National Carers Counselling Program:
Provides free over the phone advice for carers of all ages
1800 242 636
Free telephone counselling for parents and carers
National service for crisis support and suicide prevention
13 11 14
Factsheet on the importance of mindfulness and the associated health benefits and links to techniques.
A mindfulness app that provides information about meditation as well as guided sessions to help you get started.
Provides simple tips and strategies on how to practice mindfulness.
Meet our inclusion manager
Isabella’s background is in community development and program coordination. She started work at Playgroup Victoria in the FaHCSIA Supported Playgroup Program.
Isabella facilitated the process of having PlayConnect in Victoria Certified by Amaze for ASD Standards, Early Childhood Standards and Operational Standards. Isabella is committed to implementing best-practice standards in PlayConnect, and also increasing awareness of the need for inclusive practice in all playgroups. Contact Isabella for further information email@example.com
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