PlayConnect is an early intervention strategy funded through the Australian Government Helping All Children with Autism Package. Children do not require a formal diagnosis or referral to come and enjoy all that PlayConnect has to offer. PlayConnect is a playgroup for the whole family and siblings and carers are also welcome and included at PlayConnect.
What will happen at a PlayConnect Playgroup?
PlayConnect Playgroups usually meet for two hours every week during school terms. At PlayConnect, caregivers and children participate in a variety of play activities suited to the needs of children with ASD.
PlayConnect Playgroups are led by an experienced facilitator and while not a therapy based program, the PlayConnect worker can provide information about strategies for play, tools for supporting communication and transitions as well as specialist services in the local area.
The PlayConnect program provides play opportunities that are flexible and suited to the interests, strengths and needs of the children attending each group. PlayConnect playgroups are generally smaller and children can practice and learn new skills in a friendly environment.
At a PlayConnect Playgroup you will find:
- Structured routines
- Smaller group sizes
- Visual aids
- Modelling of physical play and social activities
- Positive encouragement
- A range of activities designed around the interests and needs of each individual family
- Opportunities to meet with child development service workers, autism experts and specialists
- Information about the variety of services and opportunities available within the local community and for children with an ASD
How will PlayConnect Playgroup benefit our family?
Parents and caregivers say that PlayConnect is beneficial because they are able to connect with other families, share experiences, information and support each other. Some families find that PlayConnect works best for their needs and their children’s needs; others enjoy belonging to both a community playgroup and a PlayConnect group.
“When I first started going, I didn’t know anyone else with a child with communication or social delays, so meeting other kids and parents was great for me, a relief in a way. In other groups it seemed hard to join in and other parents didn’t understand why my child behaves the way they do.”
– PlayConnect Parent, Cairns Queensland
Each PlayConnect Playgroup is led by a facilitator who works hard to get to know your family so that the play and support program that responds to your child’s interests and works with their challenges. Because ASD affects our children’s communication, perception and behaviours, PlayConnect offers the comfort of a safe and understanding environment that incorporates great visual tools, transition support and play strategies.
In addition to child centred play, the PlayConnect Playgroups offer parents the opportunity to meet and share experiences with other parents experiencing similar challenges, seek information and to find out about service and support opportunities in their area. Evidence has shown the value of playgroup of young children’s social, cognitive, emotional and language development.
PlayConnect can help children build their skills in:
- Coping with change
- Interacting socially
- Taking turns
- Following instructions
PlayConnect Playgroups are an initiative of the Australian Government Helping All Children with Autism Package (HACWA) and are a free service for families to attend.
Where are PlayConnect Playgroups located?
There are eight PlayConnect Playgroups currently operating throughout Queensland on weekdays and weekends.
Contact us for more information or to attend our sites in:
- Holland Park
How can I find out more?
For more information on PlayConnect Playgroups, or to join your local PlayConnect Playgroup, please call Playgroup Queensland on 1800 171 882 or contact us here.
For more information about other early intervention supports available through the Australian Government Helping Children with Autism Package, visit www.dss.gov.au or call 1800 289 177.