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. 

Supporting Families With Children With a Disability or Developmental Concerns

The PlayConnect+ program is open to all children with disability and/or developmental delay aged 0-6 years (school holiday programs available for 5-8-year-olds), their families, carers and siblings. No diagnosis is required. All sessions will be facilitated by qualified professionals. The PlayConnect+ program is a great way for families to connect, share knowledge, ideas, and have fun! All PlayConnect+ groups will be delivered based on the core characteristics of high-quality playgroups, identified in Playgroup Principles (Australian Institute of Family Studies). To find out more head to: www.playconnectplus.com.au

Playgroup is for everyone! 

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).

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.

Inclusion is…

  • 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

Useful links and resources


Maternal and Child Health nurses are being trained in detecting early signs of autism

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



Counselling Services

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

Parentline Victoria:
Free telephone counselling for parents and carers
132 289

National service for crisis support and suicide prevention
13 11 14



Mindfulness Resources

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 Programs and Social Impact Manager


Louise is a passionate advocate for children’s and community services and has devoted her career to this industry for over 30 years. She has worked in the sector in a wide capacity, including Children’s Services, Family Day Care, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Family and Children Services, TAFE (teaching in Early Childhood) and Playgroup Victoria, Coordinating Connecting Schools and Playgroup Program. Contact Louise for further information: lbsmith@playgroup.org.au

Interesting read

A world of their own

Just beyond your view is the life of disability. Each family has their own story and each situation comes with its own unique type of challenges.

Read more

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