About PlayConnect Playgroups
PlayConnect Playgroups are designed to help families of children with Autism or Autism like characteristics through involvement in play-based activities. It’s also a great opportunity for connecting with other families in similar circumstances.
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 behaviours, is welcome to join a PlayConnect Playgroup. Children do not need a formal ASD diagnosis to join a PlayConnect Playgroup.
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 ‘Helping Children with Autism’ initiative. PlayConnectPlaygroups are being coordinated in partnership with State and Territory Playgroup Organisations.
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 facilitated by a PlayConnect Facilitator.
How will a PlayConnect Playgroups benefit our family?
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, your child will be in a secure, supportive environment. Together, you and your child will join in play activities specifically suited to children with ASD. You will meet other families in your area and you will also have the opportunity 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 with a child with ASD or ASD-like symptoms to attend a PlayConnect Playgroup for free. 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.
Do I have the option to go with my child to a community playgroup?
Yes. Playgroup Australia aims to help families of children with ASD to access their local community playgroup if they choose this option. Specific ASD training for community playgroup facilitators is offered to ensure that families with children with ASD are catered for at thousands of playgroups throughout Australia.
Will I be able to speak with ASD specialists?
PlayConnect Playgroups do not offer specialist early intervention therapies however, your PlayConnect Playgroup Facilitator can provide you with information about specialist services in your area specifically for children with ASD. They may also be able to introduce you to the staff from those services.
How do I get involved in a PlayConnect Playgroup?
If you would like to find out more about joining a PlayConnect Playgroup in your local area please contact your State or Territory Playgroup Association on 1800 171 882 (toll-free).
There’s not a PlayConnect Playgroup in my area, what can I do?
If you feel your community could benefit from a PlayConnect Playgroup please complete our online ‘Expression of Interest’.
How can I find out more?
- If you would like some more detailed information regarding PlayConnect Playgroups please download our information document.
- For information about PlayConnect Playgroups in your local area contact your State or Territory Playgroup Association on 1800 171 882 (toll-free).
- Contact details for Playgroup Australia can be found HERE.
- For more information about the early intervention services available through the Australian Government ‘Helping Children with Autism’ initiative, visit the official WEBSITE.
- You can read more about the Australian Government’s ‘Year in Disability’ HERE.