First Steps for Autism – for families from regional/remote WA


What a week!

During the recent school holidays, 11 children and their families travelled from across regional and remote WA—some from as far as the Northern Territory—to attend the Autism Association’s Regional Intensive Early Intervention Therapy program at the Shenton Park Centre. The five day program is based on individual assessment in collaboration with the family. This program is not just for the kids! Parents were busy throughout the week, with structured group and 1:1 training sessions in which they could learn valuable strategies and practise tools to take home.

By phone and/or in person

Alex, from Newman, started her journey with First Steps accessing the Regional Consultation program with regular phone contact with her Key Therapist to support her son Peter—across school, home and the family’s community. She then travelled from Newman for the Intensive Therapy program in July. Alex shared:  

“The program has been an amazing experience for both Peter and I. Being able to access the therapy for Peter and gain the training for myself to assist Peter when we get home has been invaluable. Utilizing the consultancy program in relation to the holiday program gave me a great head start into the topics covered by the training sessions so I was able to further develop my understanding of the topics introduced before the sessions. This has been such an amazing experience and would recommend anyone regional or remote to experience the program and benefit from the amazing staff at the centre.”

Jay and Patrick who travelled from Darwin with their son Asher said:

“The First Steps Regional program was valuable to our son but perhaps even more valuable for us, as it taught us as parents so much about the importance of understanding behaviour and the value of visual learning for our child. The professional clinicians were so supportive of both our needs and those of our child.

“My heart would soar when I walked in at the end of a session and would see my happy little boy engaging and enjoying his time with his peers and the professional educators. My son truly thrived in the purpose–built playroom environment with staff who understand how to help him learn and we were also learning at the same time in the parent training rooms. 

“I was very sad to leave this wonderful program and the wonderful team my son had around him. We will be coming back for the next program.”

Coming back for more!

Some families attended the January program and came back for more in July. 

One very satisfied family that travelled from Geraldton told:

“We love coming here for the program! Very informative parent sessions that are very helpful for resources and tips to use at home and school. All the staff are amazing and can cater to our goals on what we want to work on as well as their own assessment/input. Our son is very comfortable in the environment and quickly creates good friendships with the therapists.”

Kelly from Denmark with son James:

“What an amazing resource this program is! Professional, experienced and caring staff who displayed a genuine interest in improving skills and providing helpful tools. The tailored program and associated training and resources will assist with ongoing progress at home. Thank you!

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