Libraries link local families with autism
  • Wednesday 25 August 2010

More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than AIDS and diabetes and cancer put together, but the lack of support on the Sunshine Coast leaves many families struggling to cope with the disorder.

To help plug the gap, Sunshine Coast Libraries have organised a program called Peace by Piece to give families and carers of children with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) access to expert advice and support.

Council’s Learning Communities Manager Ross Duncan said the program was much-needed on the Sunshine Coast, where the disorder was impacting on the lives of the children, schools and extended families.

“These families also struggle to cope with the additional financial burden, with the average medical expenses for someone with an autism spectrum disorder being about five times higher than for those without an ASD,” he said.

“Parents also struggle for understanding from the wider community and often face being misjudged for their children’s behaviour.

“Children with autism can ‘melt down’ or tantrum over seemingly minor things, and are often perceived as naughty, or rude, when in fact they are overloaded with everyday issues such as noises or smells.”

Asperger’s Syndrome and ASD are developmental disorders estimated to affect up to one in 100 children, latest Australian research shows. They are characterised by impaired social interaction and communication, severely restricted interests and highly repetitive behaviours, but the children usually have an intellectual capacity within the normal range.

This program, which is being held during Disability Action Week, was made possible by funding from Disability Services Queensland. Sessions are free and bookings are essential.

Highlights include:

Launch of Peace by Piece
Listen, laugh and learn that you are not alone at the launch of this free program at Maroochydore Library on Monday 6 September at 10am. Get answers to your questions about how to get the support that you and your family need.

Support for you
The Sunshine Coast ASD Support Group (based in Maroochydore) will be creating localised support groups in Cooroy, Beerwah, and Maleny. Find out how you can get the help you need in these communities by attending one of the ‘What is Normal’ sessions below.

Asperger’s: what is normal?
Asperger’s consultant Nelle Frances will help you to recognise and identify Asperger’s characteristics that may be present in your child. Learn practical strategies that work and how to find the positives.

Bookings

MaroochydoreFriday 10 September10-11.30am5475 8900
BeerwahWednesday 6 October10-11.30am5494 0221
CaloundraMonday 11 October10 – 11:30am5491 1255
CoolumTuesday 14 September10 – 11.30am5343 2000
NoosaThursday 7 October10 - 11.30 am5442 4411
KawanaMonday 4 October10-12 noon5444 8022
MalenyWednesday 13 October10-11.30am5429 6222
NambourTuesday 12 October10 -11.30am5441 8332
CooroyTuesday 5 October10-11.30am5454 9000