PlayConnect stories

PlayConnect group stories

The little boy in the video below is non-verbal and never usually sits. He just lies on the floor tracking. After several weeks of modelling and support, he sat at the table for almost 30 minutes and did his first drawings

Families stories

  • In the early stages of [the diagnostic process] … doctors were not listening and PlayConnect groups were amazing in allowing me  to get other parents’ advice on how to make professional see that something isn’t right with your child … and also to be the best advocate you can be, for your child.
  • Recently, our beautiful 20 month old son was diagnosed with ASD. This is an immensely sad and confusing time for us filled with such uncertainty of what the future holds for our little angel. ASD does not only affect the life of the person diagnosed, it also affects the lives of all the people who love him.
  • You get so busy that you forget they are still just kids. You get caught up in doing things that will help him and teach him.  You’re always at preschool, speech therapy, early intervention programs, doctors, specialists, which fill up the week, but the kids also need to be kids and just play and have fun.
  • PlayConnect  is about timetabling some fun and nothing else. You probably shouldn’t have to do that – timetable fun, but that’s the reality for most parents with special needs kids, and that’s why PlayConnect works so well.  Mother of a child diagnosed with ASD
  • I have been attending PlayConnect since his diagnosis mid last year. Before my sons diagnosis, he was attending a mainstream playgroup that I struggled to get him to every week. He was very reserved and frightened and never left my side. He would scream and cry when it was singing and music time.  We stopped going, and once diagnosed I was recommended by our child psychologist to take him to a PlayConnect playgroup. When we first attended the playgroup, he had very minimal vocabulary, very little eye contact and was quit reserved and couldn’t stand singing and dancing. A year later of PlayConnect playgroup, his speech has improved, his eye contact is very good, his social skills are not great but a lot better. He enjoys going every week and says “mummy, I go to play with my friends”. He’s attending birthday parties and he’s getting involved with the singing and dancing component of the program.  Having an ASD diagnosis for your child is hard to accept. But being with a group of people who are in the same position as you makes it that little bit easier.  You’re with a group of people that understand you and your child and it makes you feel a lot more comfortable thus allowing your child to be more comfortable in that environment. In our experience, this playgroup has allowed Yianni to grow in a very short period of time and strive towards being able to mingle socially where he was unable to do that before. It has also provided me personally with a lot of good tactics to use at home with him and also great support and great friends. Glen Waverley PlayConnect
  • Prior to attending your playgroup, our son was completely disengaged with other kids. He was only interested in living in his own world and never interacted with anyone. We still remember the day when he first came to the playgroup and he was just crying and didn’t participate in any of the activities. And now, when we look at him, we couldn’t believe it was the same person. He has made immense progress however he still have a very long way to go. And I strongly believe, we are all do it with your advise and support provided through this playgroup channel.
  • Playconnect allows our son to engage with other children in a supportive setting. Playconnect also gives me the opportunity to socialise with other parents who have an understanding of what it is like to raise a child with ASD. This service is invaluable as it provides resources, advice and support and has enabled both Xavier and I to form relationships.
  • Playconnect is great socialization for both parent and child, in an environment full of support and understanding. Since starting at Playconnect our daughter has learnt how to share better and will sit at the table with the other children for at least the first part of snack. It is a wonderful service with wonderful people.
  • Attending PlayConnect playgroup this year has been amazing. It has made such a difference to us and our daughter has made some great progress. It has definitely helped us get through some very difficult times especially being so new to this. We appreciate all the love, support, knowledge that has come our way. The Facilitators are just amazing and are so supportive and wonderful. Angels in disguise. Thankyou so much.
  • We have learnt so much from being a part of PlayConnect playgroup.  We felt so overwhelmed when our child was first diagnosed but coming to the playgroup has made it all seem so clear and manageable.  I don’t know where would have been without you and all the support from the other families who come along.
  • I am beyond grateful for your guidance and support this year. Watching you deal with our son has been extremely educational, for both him and me. I am filled with gratitude that I found your playgroup this year, we are very, very lucky.
  • Playconnect is the first group my boys have participated in that has provided them with a predictable, fun, therapeutic and safe environment in which to be themselves as well as learn appropriate behaviour and responses.   It is also the first group that I have felt truly comfortable and welcomed each week and I gain so much from being surrounded by understanding and supportive staff and parents”.
  • Playconnect has helped my daughter  adapt to the use of visuals, how to relate time constraints to play and mat time and taught her  patience and focus.    It also exposes her to likeminded children.  It has helped me interact with parents who face similar challenges and joys that pertain only to us as autism parents, an experience who that wouldn’t have occurred for me personally without Playconnect “.
  • Playconnect has been extremely rewarding for our 3 year old son and myself.    The supportand care from all staff and other parents has guided us through a daunting time to happy outcomes and a brighter future.    Our son is more connected and happier I believe from our time at playgroup so far and has learnt so many new skills and interests.
  • Although we were already part of a playgroup, it was quickly obvious that these sessions did not cater to the special needs of a child with ASD. Thankfully, we discovered PlayConnect.
  • An amazing amount of thought and effort is poured into all the activities. The children are always happy, stimulated and entertained. The group provides opportunities for social, cognitive, emotional and language development that is not available in a standard playgroup.
  • My heart fills with joy as I watch my son happily playing and learning. One of the team is constantly beside him, supporting and guiding him. The benefits to my son are undeniably evident even in such a short space of time. It allows me to be hopeful for his future.”
  • When I first started going I didn’t know anyone else with a child with ASD, so meeting other parents was great for me – a relief in a way. Also at the Playgroup we have guests come along who are Professionals in different fields – this has opened up new doors for me and my family that I didn’t know of before”. Parent attending PlayConnect – Cairns

Facilitators stories

  • ·The purpose I guess is to bring together families … the whole family unit so that they have the opportunity to support their child in their exploration and development and enjoyment of play and social experiences, but also as a means to support the parents to access more information for services. More than anything, to engage with peers to be able to build on their own network of support and know that they are not alone being very welcoming and very open and very open-minded and very supportive.  Every family is different so you need to support them in different ways … and making sure that everybody is included; making sure that no one’s left out.
  • …on the 20thMay– S’s mum was amazed that S next to the Facilitators to do craft.  The mum’s comment was “he never does that, he normally will only sit with me.”  When the Facilitator asked again if this was ok, the mum answered enthusiastically “YES, it gives me a break!”
  • Parents are amazed at how much their children enjoy playgroup and their eagerness to come into playgroup. Parents have also been very appreciative of the range of activities their children have been exposed to over the term. They also value the ASD information provided by Play Connect and gleaned from other parents attending the group’. PlayConnect Facilitator


  • TBC