Five of the six Labone children from Alstonville have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. The family will be supporting the family day. From left at back, Alex, Nick, Amy (mum) Adrian (dad), at the front from left, Luke, Zaidee, Sascha and Joshua.
Five of the six Labone children from Alstonville have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. The family will be supporting the family day. From left at back, Alex, Nick, Amy (mum) Adrian (dad), at the front from left, Luke, Zaidee, Sascha and Joshua. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Get in blue for autism

WHERE AND WHEN *** ABOUT AUTISM

APRIL is World Autism Awareness Month, and there's a powerful reason why parents of kids with autism would dearly love to lift awareness of the disability in the community.

According to Jodi Rogers, manager of the Autism Aspect Far North Coast Centre, raising a child with autism can be an alienating, isolating experience for parents - mainly due to the misunderstanding of their child's behaviour by others.

"The biggest impairment with autism is communication - they have difficulties with understanding body language, expressing themselves with verbal communication and social interaction," Ms Rogers said.

"When parents have their kids out in the community and the child has a meltdown, people make comments about their parenting or make judgements on why their kid is so different."

"Even just going to a typical park can be really complex for families if their kids have no sense of safe boundaries or they don't know how to share with other children," she said.

"Often the family becomes more and more isolated from their community."

For all these reasons, every year Autism Aspect co-ordinates a day for families affected by autism at the House With No Steps in Alstonville.

Every parent needs a decent break every now and again, but Ms Rogers said autism parents don't often get to enjoy a social day out with a community that understands.

Parents and siblings can "kick back and relax", and meet other families in exactly the same situation.

"The whole family comes along, uncles and aunties, grandparents - the siblings get to meet up with other kids who also have brothers and sisters with autism," Ms Rogers said.

"We get access to the whole park, we can use the water park, the mini-golf and the local Lions Club come and do a barbecue for us."

And for parents - the opportunity to get a massage is a welcome treat.

"It's about bringing that community of people together to share in a really informal setting, more than anything else the families get to relax."

Phone 1800 277 328 or go to autismspectrum.org.au.

TIME AND PLACE:

When: Saturday, April 6

Time: 10am-1pm

Venue: Summerland Farm (House with No Steps), Alstonville

Dress: Wear something blue to support Autism Spectrum Australia

AUTISM:

  1. 1 in 110 people diagnosed in Australia
  2. Autism is typically a lifelong disability affecting social interaction and communication.
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) refer to the full range of autism-related disabilities.
  4. Mild autism also known as Asperger's Syndrome.
  5. "Classic" autism includes cognitive impairment.


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