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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Introducing Rainbowland Autism Services...

Guest post by Allison Dix from Rainbowland Autism Services....

Our Family...
Our three children were all diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder in July 2007. Kristie, who was 8 at the time, was diagnosed with a Asperger’s Syndrome. Our twin sons, Jacob and Aaron, were diagnosed with autism one week shy of their 3rd birthday.


Rainbow Play TimeShortly following the diagnosis, Shane and I vowed to help support families through the whole process as we intently believed that it didn’t have to be as difficult for others as it was for us. This vow lead to the inception of our family support group, Rainbowland Play Time in March 2009. With a focus on family inclusion and support, this group runs once a month on a Sunday, has no age limits and welcomes the entire family and their support networks to attend for a gold coin donation.

Rainbowland Play Time has been a gift not just to the families who attend, but to our family. We have made some wonderful friends and been witness to some fabulous milestones experienced by the children and their families. My favourite moments have been when children ride a bike for the first time at Play Time. The delight on the face of the child and their parents is so precious and makes it all so worthwhile.


Into the political arena...
Shane & I were fortunate enough to be selected for a meeting with the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, at the Federal Cabinet Meeting & Public Forum held on 28th July 2009. We raised issues pertaining to the inaccessibility of the newly implemented early intervention funding from the Helping Children with Autism initiative, the crisis and inequities for children with autism within the education systems around the country and the struggles faced by families. To our surprise, we were also granted an impromptu meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children Services, Bill Shorten.


Rainbowland Autism Services...

Rainbowland Autism Services Inc. was incorporated in November 2009 and granted charity status. A board, comprising of 6 members was established. The incorporation of the organisation will ensure much greater opportunities for the families it supports.


Autism Rainbow Day...

After a family discussion in the kitchen regarding the lack of autism awareness within the community and how more awareness would greatly benefit families and society at large, Autism Rainbow Day was born. On 30th April this year, the inaugural Autism Rainbow Day was held, with 15,000 international members on the dedicated Facebook cause. The day was very uplifting and positive for those who participated and it was wonderful to see people greeting others with a “Happy Autism Rainbow Day”.

I have received some wonderful feedback from educators about how they now have a much greater appreciation of what autism is and how inspired they are when learning about the obstacles that need to be overcome for people on the spectrum to become functioning members of society. Our daughter’s Year 6 class teacher initiated meaningful discussions about autism throughout the week in the lead-up up to Autism Rainbow Day and Kristie’s life and achievements were celebrated by her peers. What has been really touching is how some young students from the school have since approached me in the court yard to talk about Autism Rainbow Day. I also got quite emotional when I saw pictures of the children wearing their special masks on the big screen at the school assembly. Autism Rainbow Day will be held on Friday 29th April in 2011.


A Tribute...

On 13th May this year, Tony Zappia – Federal Member for Makin paid tribute to the work we are doing through Rainbowland Play Time and Autism Rainbow Day. It was such an honour for us that he dedicated his entire Parliamentary Speech to our work.

In his speech, Tony says:
“In Australia autism is estimated to affect one in every 160 Australian children and around 30,000 Australian families. The estimated cost of autism to the Australian community is around $7 billion per annum. The social impacts on and costs to the children and those 30,000 families in the form of learning difficulties, limited social opportunities for the children and very high rates of parental depression and separation are immeasurable. There is no cure for autism but providing the right kind of early intervention can be very beneficial for children and, in turn, ultimately saves millions of dollars in costs later on.”
He then went on to say:
“Speech therapy, early intervention, occupational therapy and home modifications all help, but for the families they come at a cost, as does the destruction to the school life of the children, which raises an additional concern. Many schools are simply unprepared; they do not have the resources or the expertise to deal with children with autism. In that respect, autism-specific preschools such as that in Brisbane are a terrific start.”

To read the speech in full, visit our Facebook note or at: www.openaustralia.org

Tony has been such a wonderful support to our organisation and is the Patron of Rainbowland Play Time. Through his work, he is also advocating for all families living with autism in Australia.


Our goal...

Rainbowland Autism Services strives to provide support services for the entire family. When you support the network of people who are the main influence in a child’s life, you are directly supporting the child. We also provide support to families of children with developmental delay. Too often these families don’t have access to support services in the absence of an ASD diagnosis. We continue to work assiduously in expanding our support services and generating awareness about autism at a global level through Autism Rainbow Day.


For more information, you can visit our website at www.rainbowlandautismservices.com, or email us at rainbowlandautismservices @ gmail.com


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To find out more about having your charity, service or business spotlighted here, contact us or visit www.learn2bebuddies.com.au

2 comments:

Sue June 13, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

Hi Amanda,

have you sent out your news letter this month because I still haven't got one. I went into the membership area and I wasn't signed up so I signed up again but still no newsletter .

Amanda June 14, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

Contact me (details at www.learn2bebuddies.com.au/pages/contactus.html) and let me know your email address and I will forward it on to you, and check out what is going on.

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