Who can attend a PlayConnect Playgroup?
PlayConnect Playgroups welcome childrenwith a formal ASD diagnosis and those without a diagnosis but with ASD-like characteristics (such as language delay, social delays), as well as the parents or carers of the children, their siblings and extended family.
Who is involved in establishing and facilitating PlayConnect Playgroups?
PlayConnect was established by Playgroup Australia in partnership with the State and Territory Playgroup Associations. Each PlayConnect group is facilitated by a minimum of one PlayConnect Facilitator who has experience and/or qualifications in working with families and children in community or early childhood settings.
What happens at a PlayConnect Playgroup?
PlayConnect groups are usually held weekly for two hours.During the sessions parents, carers and children participate in a variety of play activities and experiences. Families are invited to contribute to the future planning of playgroup sessions.
It is important to note that PlayConnect is NOT a specialist therapeutic provider. However the PlayConnect Facilitator may provide families with information about specialist services for children with ASD in their local area.
Does a child need a diagnosis to attend?
No. PlayConnect welcomes both children with a formal ASD diagnosis and those without a diagnosis but with ASD-like characteristics. This benefits families who may not yet have started on an assessment process and those still engaging in this process.
Do PlayConnect Playgroups offer specialist early intervention therapies?
No. PlayConnect does not offer specialist early intervention therapies. Instead, PlayConnect is a supportive play environment for children with ASD and ASD-like characteristics and their families, in order to support developmental outcomes. Specialist early intervention therapies, such as speech and occupational therapy are not offered during Playgroup sessions.
Families are provided with information about specialist local services for children with ASD, and group facilitators may help connect families and services.
Is there a limit on the number families that can attend a PlayConnect group?
Yes. It is expected that each PlayConnect Playgroup will have a minimum of three registered families with a child with ASD or ASD-like characteristics attending regularly. The maximum number of families at any one time will be determined by the venue size, safety requirements, ability to create a comfortable and supportive play space as well as staffing levels.
A group needs to be manageable and have adequate space to allow children and families to participate safely. If a group is beginning to feel crowded, the facilitator should approach their STO to ensure that the group is advertised as full and has a waiting list.
Are siblings and other family members able to attend a PlayConnect playgroup?
Yes. Siblings and other family members are welcome to attend PlayConnect sessions. Siblings are an important part of PlayConnect Playgroups and should be included in all activities and experiences.
Is there a cost associated with attending PlayConnect playgroups?
No. PlayConnect is a government funded service and is free to eligible families. When organising any excursions or outings, consideration must be made as to financial implications for families. Families should not be excluded from a session or activity due to the inability to meet costs. For this reason, it is important that Facilitators ensure that group activities can be accessed by all families without causing financial hardship or exclusion to a member of PlayConnect.