Autism in Sydney: 10 free resources for children and parents

Living with autism is not always easy (or cheap!) so the Early Intervention team at Kids First Children’s Services in Brookvale has compiled a list of 10 of our favourite free resources for children with autism and their families.

10 free resources for parents of children with autism

1.Early Links Service – Northcott

Northcott’s Early Links is a free service that is specifically for families with children diagnosed with autism and other disabilities aged between 0-8 years.

Early Links’ caring Family Support Workers offer pre and post-diagnosis help and advice, as well as information about services in your community. They can connect you with other families living with autism if you wish, or help you to get the therapy, respite and early intervention services that your child needs. Northcott is based at Chatswood, but Northern Sydney Early Links staff will travel to meet with any family living in Sydney’s northern beaches or north shore.

Contact Early Links on free call 1800 818 286.

2.Kookaburra Special Needs Play Group – Narraweena

Kookaburra is an additional needs playgroup for children 0-5 that meets every Monday between 1000am and 12:30pm at the Narraweena Community Centre, Oceana Street, Narraweena.

The playgroup is offered to the community by Northern Beaches Interchange (NBI) and is staffed by professionals with many years’ experience. Kookaburra gives children access to a variety of equipment and toys. It also provides families with opportunities to connect with others and make friends. A small $3 ‘pay it if you can’ weekly donation covers the cost of toys and hall hire.

Kookaburra Special Needs Playgroup is popular and waitlists can occur, so call 99700500 to secure a place for your child.

3.Early Days Workshops

Early Days Workshops provide free support and information to families and carers who have children with (or who may have) autism and are aged 0 and 7 years of age.

Every Early Days workshop is free of charge to participants and is run by professionals who have extensive experience and knowledge in working with young children with Autism.

Early Days Workshops are offered in the Sydney metropolitan area and regional centres throughout the year as full day or evening programs. They cover topics like: An introduction to Autism, Understanding behaviour and Encouraging Early Interactions. After attending these ‘core’ workshops, you can also participate in Skills Workshops that focus on Play and Social Skills, Tips for Everyday Life Skills and transitions to school

Find out more by calling the Early Days team at Aspect – freecall 1800 277 328

4.Children with ASD & Disability App

This easy to use free app for parents and carers of children living with Autism and disability provides information about funding and services in a safe and easy to understand manner.

The app also offers options to learn from other parents through videos and fact sheets. A nifty map tool can help you to find services in your area, and the key contacts section is an excellent resource for now and the future.

5.Raising Children Network website

The Raising Children Network is a respected Australian website that provides relevant information for parents in all areas of raising children. It features a specific section allocated to Autism education.

The Raising Children Networks offers a wide range of free resources to parents of chidlren diagnosed with autism, including fact sheets and videos which can assist you and the people who care for your child to understand your child’s special needs.

The site also provides excellent  free guides to children’s developmental milestones.

6.The Learning App Guide

Speech and Language Pathologist and educator Bronwyn Sutton has developed this website in an effort to help parents sift through the thousands of apps on the market and help them to find the best to educate children living with Autism.

Bronwyn’s website offers a quick way for you and your child’s educators to find educational apps that support behaviour, social skills, literacy guides, language guides, sensory, emotional, creating and early language.

7.Sue Larky – Autism and Aspergers for Teachers and Parents

Teacher Sue Larkey is one of Australia’s most prominent Autism educators and has taught in primary and special schools. Sue has taught many students with autism spectrum disorder in mainstream and special schools and her website provides free access to a wide variety of resources for parents and teachers at no cost.

You may also benefit from Sue’s regular blog posts, quick tip sheets and videos, while your child’s teachers may be able to use the many educator and classroom resources Sue offers for sale.

8.Autism Spectrum Australia Website

Autism Spectrum Australia is also known as ‘Aspect’ and is Australia’s ‘peak body’ for children and adults living with autism.

Aspect’s website provides free access to numerous parent resources that detail practical advice and information about Autism. Aspect also offers helpful Autism fact sheets that deal with the many issues that challenge families living with this disability face, including information about financial assistance, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Positive Behaviour support strategies, schools, specialists and medical centres and workshops.

Aspect is based in Forestville, in Sydney’s northern beaches and you can contact the team there on freecall 1800 277 328.

9.Inspire App

This lovely app is designed to share uplifting and inspiring stories, and each time you read one, a needy family living with autism receives a donation.

The Inspire App has been developed by the Greater Good Network to share positive messages about people living with Autism and to recognise the support networks around them.

10.Touch and Learn Emotions by Grasshopper Apps

This fun emotions game is an excellent resource for supporting your child’s social skills. The app uses real photos of children in context and the object of the game is for your child to correctly identify which emotion is being demonstrated.

You can also customise the app to use your own photos of your child’s friends, relatives and teachers. This can be a great way to build your child’s confidence and connection skills.

Please note: All details in this article were correct at 1 February 2016

© 2016 Kids First Children’s Services

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Need support for your child with Autism?

Kids First Children’s Services has been providing early intervention for children diagnosed with autism and other disabilities since 2007. Our multi-disciplinary team of speech pathologists, occupational therapists, child psychologists and teachers has supported hundreds of children and families and we’d love to help you too.

We are located in Brookvale in Sydney’s northern beaches and are accredited Helping Children with Autism (FaHCSIA) providers.

Call us on (02) 9938 5419 to chat about your child’s needs, or click on the link below to find out more about what we do

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