A need for evidence

Stack of research papers

A positive change for Perth mum

Kristie Anderson shares her experience about her son, her autism community and how Positive Partnerships has helped her family

Perth mum, Kristie Anderson’s son Reilly (now 4yrs old) was diagnosed with autism when he was two and a half. Although this was her first of 2 children (and only child on the autism spectrum), Kristie immediately understood the importance of finding evidence based support for Reilly, her family and herself.

Seeking out local support networks, Kristie enrolled Reilly at the Autism Association’s Early Intervention Centre at Shenton Park (WA)*.

“The Early Intervention Centre has been an invaluable resource for my family. Reilly has been enrolled for a year now and we’ve seen clear improvements in his behaviour and social skills, which were his two biggest challenges,” says Kristie.

“The Centre also offers great opportunities for parents and carers. While the kids are in classes, groups of parents can meet socially with different service providers to discuss what they can offer and seek out their assistance.  Recent people we’ve spoken to have been Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, representatives from the Department of Education and even people from Centrelink, all of which have been useful in different ways.”

Following the recommendation of an autism advisor from the Early Intervention Centre, Kristie attended the Positive Partnerships South Perth workshop for parents and carers, at the end of May 2012.

“I decided to attend the workshops for two main reasons; to network with other parents/carers and to find out how to make strong and positive connections with schools as Reilly will start primary school next year.”

“Other than the great people I met at the workshops, the best thing I took away from Positive Partnerships was the right questions to ask potential schools for Reilly. I now feel confident that no matter what school I approach for him, I have the tools – both evidence based documentation and verbal tools – to be a great advocate for my son and ultimately work towards the most beneficial outcome for him.”

“In the two weeks since the course, I’ve approached two mainstream schools and two education support centres and feel closer than ever to finding the right school for Reilly. I’m also now a great resource to other parents with children on the autism spectrum, as I have so much information from the workshops to share.”

“Positive Partnerships is a fantastic initiative, which I would recommend to any parent/carer of a child on the autsm spectrum. I’m looking forward to continuing the process and using the online portal to ensure that through accessing the latest information, I can give the best opportunities to my son.”

Kristie’s recommendations for support groups and networks in Perth:

  • The Spiers Centre – resource for parents and carers of children with special needs. They offer a similar networking group for people to meet with service providers (based on participants’ person requests).
  • WA Special Families Facebook Group – an unbiased, non-judgemental, safe, supportive, private group for parents/carers of people with a disability.
  • Friends of WA Special Families Facebook Group – a group for disability service providers which acts as a valuable resource for members of the WA Special Families Facebook Group.
  • Camp Autism Facebook Group – another safe and supportive online community for parents and carers of people on the autism spectrum.
  • Autism Master Class with Dr Barry Prizant 26 and 27 July this year

*to enrol children at the Early Intervention Centre, children must be diagnosed with autism and be registered at the DSC.