Finding out about Kevin

Screen grab from finding out about Kevin animation shows young boy up in a tree

New resource launched on World Autism Awareness Day 2014

2 April 2014: A new video resource was released today for Aboriginal parents and family carers of school aged children with autism, and other learning and behaviour issues through the Australian Government’s Positive Partnerships initiative.

Aboriginal people and organisations across Australia were involved in developing the resource: a storytelling animation called ‘Finding out about Kevin’. It will be used at community get togethers all over the country to support workshop style conversations, including with local schools and service providers.

The words ‘disability’ and ‘autism’ are not readily translated into traditional languages and, for many reasons, conversations about the impact of a child’s autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can be unfamiliar amongst many Aboriginal families and communities.

Research suggests that almost one percent of the entire population of Australia is now being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a disability that it is four times more common in males than females and has a profound impact on a person’s life experience. Studies also indicate that prevalence of the condition does not discriminate by racial or other demographic background.

A Kamilaroi woman and mother to a young man with autism, Jaki French, was a driving force behind the development of ‘Finding out about Kevin’. Mrs French said it is crucial that parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and community Elders talk about, and take action to support, children with autism characteristics. In an open letter to Aboriginal families who attend Positive Partnerships get togethers, she wrote ‘before [my son] came along, many Aboriginal people in my community weren’t aware of what autism actually is and how it affects people. I believe that the whole community has a special responsibility to [these] children … and their families’.

‘Step up and do whatever you have to do to take care of these special kids’, concluded Mrs French.

‘Finding out about Kevin’ was released on World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) at a special event in Kamilaroi Country (Moree, NSW) in recognition of Mrs French’s incredible contribution to the production.