By Tom Hartley
Edited for online by Alicia Moo
A North Queensland company has created new ways to support autistic children and their families.
Bricks Adolescent Development Director Jason Waters has created physical programs, creative modules and activities that effectively communicate with autistic childrenwhich he says offers mpore hope to families with a child with autism.
He says despite schools’ and foundations’ acknowledgment of children living with Autism, there developmental needs are still not catered for.
“They function in a different level to we do and see the world in a different way,” he said.
“Children that I work with are unbelievable, beautiful kids and highly intelligent.
“It is just how they see the environment and things around them can be different to how we see it.”
The company also works with local schools to implement these activities and to provide access to health professionals as well as a support network for parents.
Mr Waters says the company’s success lies in its methods of communication with autistic children.
“We make it a child-centred approach by creating these physical programs and modules that the children can run through in their own time,” he said.
“They are telling us how life works for them and we are helping them create problem solving strategies for themselves.”
Mr Waters says they are witnessing positive results.
He recalls a severe case where one girl who would not talk to others. However, after just two weeks of one on one counselling, she had engaged in almost 20 new activities.
“She really started opening up and enjoying the environment and the sports and physical activities which she hadn’t done for the previous 12 years of her life.”
One of their main programs, ‘Ausome Fitness’ uses exercise as a tool for development.
When the child feels frustrated with one activity, they can move onto the next.
The company’s Mackay branch Manager Sally Atkins is seeing positive results first hand.
“What we have found is not only are the kids going through the program gaining confidence they are starting to have hobbies,” she said.
“When they have a hobby which is then common with other kids at school, it means they have something to talk about.
“At the moment I am definitely focussing on how much all of the children are benefiting and the parents.
“It gives them so much satisfaction and pleasure to see their kids enjoying activities that otherwise would be quite stressful.”
She says negative exposure of Autism in the media has created a concerning stigma and she hopes to see this change in the future.
“What I envision is looking at integrating autistic children. Making sure they are included and getting the community to start to accept that there are differences but it does not mean we have to discount their involvement,” she said.
Autism Queensland was unavailable for comment.
The Bricks Adolescent Development program will be coming to Brisbane later this year. For more information check out their website.
To find out more about Autism visit the Autism Queensland website.