Championing Inclusion in Regional Communities

Geraldton 1


Who are Autism Champions?
Participants in the Autism Champions program are an exceptional bunch of people who share a passion breaking down barriers to inclusion and creating positive outcomes for children with Autism in early childhood settings. Autism Champions are nominated to receive intensive training and support to help make a long term difference to children with Autism and their families. We have champions all over WA, from throughout the metro area to some of our most isolated regional communities. If you happen to visit one of our early childhood centres, you might like to see if they have Autism Champions on board! They’re not hard to spot, they will be the ones fostering inclusion, participation and acceptance in early childhood settings.

Educating Educators in Regional Areas
Our Autism Champions team recently went on two regional visits, training 23 new services full of Autism Champions! The commitment from the educators and directors who participated, is proof that these amazing communities are dedicated to providing all children with Autism a great start in life in a community where people with Autism are understood, accepted and celebrated. The training was met with glowing reviews from everyone involved and a sincere appreciation for having these opportunities in regional WA.

Lets take a closer look at what happened during the visits…

Geraldton 
During the team’s week stay, they supported 13 services within the region. The team supported the services in understanding their centre’s needs, identifying current barriers to inclusion, providing coaching and support strategies. Followed up by 2 full days of intensive face-to-face training to understand Autism, foster positive support and facilitate inclusion. All of those fantastic services can also access our specialist consultants for further coaching as needed, ensuring the strategies learned are only strengthened through time.

“Being a regional centre, it has been amazing for the Autism Association to come up and share their knowledge and passion. Having access and educating educators in regional areas only ignites our passions for early learning and education, and supports us regional educators”, said Cassie, from GoodStart Wonthella Geraldton.

Northam

Two days were spent in Northam supporting 13 services from the surrounding areas. Many of the participants being from highly isolated locations showed so much commitment, traveling great distances to take part in the intensive training they stayed in Northam for the two days. These services will also have access to support over the coming months, to continue strengthening their skills and knowledge.

Kerry House, from Toodyay Early Learning Centre said, “I thoroughly enjoyed this professional development on Autism and learnt so much new information. It’s made me so much more confident to plan a behaviour support plan.”

Inclusion Works to the Benefit of All
Inclusion is a right and a responsibility, it recognises and celebrates the basic value of each person. Inclusion in early childhood settings allows peers to experience diversity and see the many strengths of people with Autism.

Increased knowledge and confidence in educators with continued support from the Autism Champions team, strengthens the ability for early childhood education and care services to make a lasting positive impact for children with Autism and their families.

“Inclusion professionals are reporting that they have seen environments that are calmer with educators using inclusive strategies and interacting with children with concerning behaviours relating to Autism in a more positive manner, directly contributing to the inclusion of these children” – Debbie Brown, from WA Inclusion Agency.

If you would like to know more information on the program please contact the Inclusion Support Team at inclusion@autism.org.au.

 

 

 

 

 

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