About PlayConnect Playgroups
PlayConnect Playgroups are designed to help families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or ASD characteristics through play-based activities. It’s also a beneficial and inclusive opportunity for parents and carers to connect with other families in similar circumstances to their own.
Who coordinates PlayConnect Playgroups?
Playgroup Australia, the national peak body for playgroups, has received funding from the Australian Government to implement the PlayConnect Playgroups program as one of the components of the Australian Government’s ‘Helping Children with Autism’ initiative. PlayConnect Playgroups are being coordinated in partnership with State and Territory Playgroup Organisations across Australia.
Who is Playgroup Australia and what experience do they have in providing playgroups for children with autism spectrum disorders?
Playgroup Australia is the national body recognised as the leading representative and advocate for playgroups. All State and Territory Playgroup Associations are members of Playgroup Australia.
In addition, several of Playgroup Australia’s State and Territory member Associations are directly involved in the delivery of other facilitated programs for families with children with disabilities – such as the Australian Government’s Peer Support (MyTime) Program. All State and Territory Playgroup Associations also provide assistance and support to existing community playgroups that include children with ASD and other disabilities.
Like Playgroup Australia, the State and Territory Playgroup Associations also have established relationships with many specialist service providers and other professionals assisting families with children with ASD.
Who are PlayConnect Playgroups for?
Any family that has a child aged from 0-6 years who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or ASD-like characteristics, is welcome to join a PlayConnect Playgroup. Children do not need a formal ASD diagnosis to join a PlayConnect Playgroup. Siblings are invited, welcomed and included.
What will happen at a PlayConnect Playgroup?
PlayConnect Playgroups usually meet weekly for two hours. During these sessions, parents, caregivers and children participate in a variety of play-based activities suited to the needs of children with ASD.
Families can also have a say in how playgroup sessions are run. Each playgroup is supported by a PlayConnect Facilitator.
How do PlayConnect Playgroups benefit families?
Numerous studies have proven the value of playgroups on young children’s social, cognitive, emotional and language development. Parents and caregivers say playgroups are beneficial because they also help them connect with other families in similar situations.
At a PlayConnect Playgroup, children will be in a secure, supportive environment and, together with their child, parents and carers will join in play activities specifically suited to children with ASD.
Parents and Carers also have the opportunity to meet other families in their area and to link with early intervention programs which are part of the Australian Government’s ‘Helping Children with Autism’ package.
Is there a cost to families?
Funding from the Australian Government will enable families of a child with ASD or ASD-like symptoms to attend a PlayConnect Playgroup at no cost. Some PlayConnect Playgroups may choose to undertake certain activities that are not covered by the funding and so families may be asked to make a contribution to meet these expenses.
Our organisation has already set up a playgroup for families with children with ASD. Can we access funding for this playgroup under the PlayConnect Playgroups program?
Playgroup Australia is required to deliver the PlayConnect Playgroups Program in accordance with its funding agreement with the Australian Government. The funding agreement states that playgroups established through the ‘Helping Children with Autism’ program cannot replace existing playgroups or services funded from another source, including federal, state or local funding.