NEWS / EVENTS / UPDATES
All Areas Online Support Group - DAY
Mon 4-5 PM
ACN Movie Club
Mon 7-8 pm
All Areas Online Support Group - EVENING
Tue 4-5 pm
ACN Music Club
Tue 6-7 pm
ACN Lego Club
Wed 4-5 pm
ACN Kahoots Quiz
Thu 4 -5 pm
ACN Bingo Club
Fri 4-5 pm
ACN Youth Club
Sun 4-5 pm
ACN Sci-fi Club
ACN NEWS AND EVENTS
ACN PHONE NUMBER CURRENTLY DOWN
ACN is currently changing phone service providers due to persistent glitches. To contact us in the meantime, PLEASE CALL 0431 724 229 or email email@example.com
ADVERTISE ON ACN
The Autism Community Network provides invaluable support to families in Sydney and beyond who deal with the challenges of autism every day. Our services are free to families and we rely on community support to continue to deliver all the programs and support that we do to so many.
If you would like to promote your business and at the same time support the work that we do, we are now allowing limited advertising across our website. For more information on packages available please click on the red ad mock up below or call us on 0431 724 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SYDNEY WALKING GROUP
As we look at safer ways to help our families connect, we are introducing a new club, based around helping you get out of the house and enjoy a scenic walk with other carers in the ACN. Starting this month, you can meet Facilitator Carmel at Darling Harbour, and from there stroll together around the sights of Sydney. Simply book in so we know to expect you on the day.
When: Last Friday each month 10 am to noon
Venue: Meet outside Maritime Museum - walk along the water and enjoy the views in the CBD
NEW NORTHERN BEACHES SUPPORT GROUP STARTS THIS MONTH
We are happy to announce the return of a support group for carers on the Northern Beaches, commencing this month. Our Forestville Support group will be running on the second Sunday each month from 2 to 4 pm and hosted by local mum Amanda Perry. Lease book in via our website.
Second Sundays 2.00 to 4.00 pm | Forestville RSL - 22 Melwood Ave, Forestville
ACN OPERATIONS UPDATE
In light of the seemingly worsening situation in NSW with Covid-19, we are again reviewing the ACN’s physical meetings. As of this month, we are placing a limit of 8 carers in attending support groups we hold at clubs. We also ask that you exercise social distancing and bring a mask if possible. We will take the feelings of our facilitators into consideration, along with advice from clubs and government, in whether we continue running our groups until things improve.
Our online Carers support groups will continue as normal, as will our almost daily kids clubs via Zoom.
We will continue to update our community as we learn more.
SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EVENTS CANCELLED
Sadly, due to COVID, we have been advised that two of the most popular events we are able to send our families to each year, Dreamnight at the Zoo, and The Special Children’s Christmas Party at Rosehill, have been cancelled.
ACN PARRAMATTA WALKING / SUPPORT GROUP IS BACK
With Covid restrictions easing, the ACN is bringing back the walking group for carers who want to connect with others once again. Get to stroll together over casual conversations and much missed companionship once again.
When: Second and Fourth Fridays 10am to 12pm | Venue: Parramatta Park. | Facilitator: Belinda
Meet at Paperbark Playground (the new inclusive playgroup) from there we will walk for about an hour and then meet at The Gatehouse Tea Rooms for a coffee at 11am.
WEEKLY ONLINE SUPPORT FOR CARERS – MONDAYS 11 am and 7 pm
While many of our regular support groups are still under a cloud due to Covid, we continue to provide an opportunity for carers to connect via our online Zoom meetings every Monday. Join Carmel, either at 11 am or at 7 pm for a chat and advice by clicking on the buttons next to the relevant meetings on the front page of our website
LEGO CLUB ONLINE
Our weekly Lego club has now begun. Each week, children can connect with us (ideally with their parents present) and we set a task for everyone to complete. For example, everyone builds a ship at home and at the same time next week we meet up again to see all the amazing things created; and we post the best ones on our website for the world to see. Of course, they will all be great.
PLAY ACN BINGO
Have you seen last week’s Bingo winners on our Champions page? Every Thursday from 2 pm, our kids can engage together for a bit if fun with Bingo via Zoom. All ACN kids (siblings included) who would like to play, simply select 7 numbers from 1 to 75, and then watch our game host George on zoom draw the numbers. We’ll play a round or two each week, and the winners will be posted on our website for bragging rights
It is important for us to continue providing social options for our children on the spectrum, without the ability to connect face to face. We welcome all ideas from you as we continue to explore all options to support everyone.
USE ACN FACEBOOK TO CONNECT
We know that some people don’t like using Facebook, but as we all do what we can to adapt to the current situation we’re all in, we want to remind you that our pages are Secret Status Member Access only. We will be using Facebook as well as other social media platforms to help provide more support for families, including opportunities for our kids to connect. If you would like to be invited to join an ACN page, please email email@example.com,au and you will be invited if you are a member.
MORE SUPPORT FOR FATHERS
We are aware that there is no regular support for fathers of kids on the spectrum out there. The ACN’s previous efforts to provide Information Evenings for Fathers was cancelled some time back due to consistently low response, which was disappointing. We don’t want to give up though, and we will be looking at ways that we can help dads connect together. We are privileged to have the Founder of Autism Dads Australia, Chris Doherty join our Board this year, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/AutismDadsAustralia/) and we will work together to create at the very least some social respite for fathers this year. We welcome ideas and feedback from you on this.
SOMEONE TO TALK TO ABOUT AUTISM AND LGBTQI ISSUES
Sexuality is more fluid among people on the spectrum and for some, it can be a challenging time when trying to understand their sense of self – both from an autism point of view and their sexuality. If you want someone to talk to, who has been there, we want to help. Please read below and contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be put in contact with Jamie, a long time ACN dad, and his partner Josh.
My name is Jamie and my partner is Josh, and we would like to give an open invitation to families who are wanting to talk to us about someone who has identified with the LGBTIQ+ sistergirl brother boy community. We offer listening ears and open hearts with no judgement. We are not health professionals; however we have lived experiences and two children with Autism.
Personally, I spent some time working as a youth worker in a LGBTIQ + youth service. I ran a group for gender diverse and transgendered young people, many who also identified as having ASD. To both families and young people, I would offer support and happy to answer difficult questions.
Josh has a background in coordinating and assisting with youth groups, in particular within the LGBTIQ+ groups in New Zealand. As a youth representative, he would go around to schools hosting open discussions and assisting with support groups.
WHY JOIN ACN’S FACEBOOK PAGES?
We know the concerns some people have about using Facebook, but as the ACN continues to grow, we are using our special FB pages to bring you so much more.
The ACN FB pages are all SECRET STATUS. This means that if you are not in them you can’t search for them, you can’t see who is on them, nor what anyone is writing. That means your family, friends or colleagues can never see anything you do on these pages.
Our pages are strictly for Members only: This means that we will never accept anyone invited by a member unless they are a member themselves. Once someone registers with us, we then invite them to access the pages.
And if you are still not comfortable using your name, we have no issue with you using a maiden name or pseudonym, as long as we know who you are and know you are a member.
You can speak with others on a local area level, a whole network level or via Common Ground pages.
With the amount of information that we receive each day, a lot of it will find itself shared through our FB pages rather than the website. This includes access to special events.
If you have an issue that’s troubling you, you can access real time support from the combined wealth of knowledge and experience from a network of families just like yours.
If you are not currently using ACN FB pages and would like to join, simply email email@example.com and provide your local area and any common ground groups you want to connect with as well as the email you use for FB so we can invite you.
EXTERNAL NEWS AND EVENTS
CARERS WEEK 2020
To celebrate carers and recognise the significant contribution carers make each and every day, Carers NSW is hosting a range of online wellbeing workshops and webinars during National Carers Week, 11-17 October 2020. Carers from across NSW are invited to join a range of free online webinars and self-care and wellbeing workshops for carers during Carers Week 2020.
Workshops will include mindfulness meditation, tai chi, strength and balance and an art workshop which will be available online through Zoom conferencing for carers across NSW.
Webinar sessions will include a carer panel discussion with television and news presenter Georgie Gardner, a Carers + Employers webinar for developing carer friendly workplaces and other webinars during the week to raise awareness of the incredible work carers do.
Find out more and register.
ABC ME are seeking a selection of female and male neurodiverse actors (18-25) to audition for a part in a comedy sketch that is part of a new show called DR M which focuses on mental and physical well-being for teens. Main points are:
MUST BE SYDNEY BASED
MUST BE OVER 18
MUST HAVE SOME PERFORMING EXPERIENCE (need to learn some lines)
FEMALES PREFERRED (we have some male candidates already but happy to look at additional).
Here is a synopsis. I can give you more info about the script and shooting commitments but the actor would need to be Sydney based and available Oct/Nov – the shoot itself would be 1-2 days.
Candidates we’d like to submit will receive a script that can be self-filmed on a phone and sent to us as an audition.
If interested please contact Emma via details below.
0412 181 991
Emma Duncan <Duncan.Emma@abc.net.au>
Employment, Life Skills & Leisure Expo for School Leavers with Disability
The Employment, Life Skills and Leisure Expo is an annual event aimed at providing information about supports or available services that may be appropriate for secondary school leavers (in Years 9, 10, 11 & 12) with a wide range of disabilities, and their families. The Expo is organised by a sub-committee of volunteers from the Western Sydney Vocational Support Network.
Due to current social distancing requirements, the Committee has decided to create a website containing the types of information about services and supports that would be represented at the usual face-to-face event, i.e. a centralised collection of information and links with participating service providers and supports – a “one stop shop” to help get ready for leaving school.
The Expo constitutes a central online space where senior high school students with disability and their families, from across Greater Sydney, can explore and understand their options for pathways and supports available in the post school landscape.
This includes options for study and/or employment, developing greater independence for living skills and accessing the community.
The Expo website is up and running until February 2021.
SHARING: EXTERNAL SURVEY
I was hoping you might be able to support distribution of a short survey aimed at parent/carers who have had their child diagnosed with autism in the past 2 years or those currently seeking an autism assessment. We also want to hear from adults recently diagnosed or currently seeking assessment.
We are wanting to get a current snapshot of the sector’s capacity to provide autism assessments within an acceptable timeframe and to gather data relating to particular groups or geographical areas that might be particularly disadvantaged.
This information will be useful to Aspect and to other service providers, and hopefully government, when planning for future service provision and funding.
The survey only takes about 5 mins to complete.
If possible, we would really appreciate you distributing the survey by either sharing Aspect’s Facebook post
or by creating your own post with information and direct link to our survey – basic info and link below
The Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice (ARCAP) is wanting to hear about people’s experiences when accessing an autism assessment in Australia, for themselves or for their child.
They are interested in how long people have to wait and whether this varies by location, age of the person to be assessed or type of provider.
Learn more and complete this 5 min survey to tell us about your experiences trying to access an autism assessment: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/accessdiagnosis
We hope to publish the findings on Aspect’s webpage within a couple of months.
SENSORY MOVIES BACK ON AT DENDY CINEMA
ACN has partnered with Dendy to promote their new Sensory Friendly Screenings once a month on a Saturday at 10am. The program consists of family-friendly content and family classics.
Sensory screenings are tailored to meet the needs of families living with autism and other sensory needs. The program will consist of family-friendly content and family classics.
All tickets $10 and special prices also for snacks
These are not on sale for the public yet, but just FYI we're looking at screening:
-Trolls World Tour – Saturday September 19 at 10am
-Moana – Saturday September October 17 at 10am
SHARING: EXTERNAL EVENT
Ultimo TAFE is running a Social, Occupation and Communication Skills (SOCS) program targeted towards students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The course is being delivered in Semester 2 Term 4 from Tuesday October 13th, twice a week for 8 weeks.
I have attached the flyer which contains all the information about the course as well as contact information. We are hoping to generate as much interest as possible. I am hoping that you may be able to pass on this information to anybody that may benefit from learning and/or enhancing their social and communication skills.
Due to the uncertainty of what lies ahead, the students who register for the information session, to be held on Tuesday, September 22nd will be kept informed regarding whether or not the course will still go ahead.
Please do not hesitate in contacting me for further information by email or mobile 0413164160.
Part-Time Teacher/Coordinator Disabilities Unit
T M +61 0413164160
MY HEALTH MATTERS - RESOURCE
A wonderful resource to download from Council for Intellectual Disabilities
PLEASE DON’T BOOK IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND
Unfortunately we are seeing a growing number of people who regularly book in to attend ACN events but fail to turn up. This costs others the opportunity to attend and for some groups it also costs us money. Please note that consistent failure to attend a booking will result in exclusion from our events.
We are regularly approached to promote credible research programs seeking participants. As we believe the more research out there the better for the future for our children, we post these requests on the Research section of our website. You can view these or respond to them by simply clicking on the black Autism Research button on our website.
“FIRST OPTIONS” PAGE
When my son was diagnosed 13 years ago, everything changed. I needed to learn a lot in a short time. If only there was a document, ideally put together by other parents who knew more than me, to help me get started with navigating the autism world. There wasn’t, so we created one. We have now moved that to our website, in the form of pages providing advice on First Things to Do, Therapy Options, and available programs to consider. It also allows our members to send us your own recommendations so we can keep it current and helpful to those new families in the position every one of us have been in have something to look at. You can find the info in our Services tab on our website. – From Steve Drakoulis
REMINDER: PLEASE DO NOT INVITE FRIENDS TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGES
We created our Facebook pages for ACN members who are part of this local community. It is a means for parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum to communicate for mutual support.
Each person who registers is invited to join their preferred pages. Non members will not be given access so please do not invite them.
Our pages has been set up with secret status so that non members cannot search for it or see who is in it or what's being said.
Ask your friends to register and they will be invited, non members will always be rejected. Your privacy is a priority for us.