Northcott ECEI and Ability First Australia support parents with First Steps program
Many families living in the smaller towns of the NSW Mid North Coast want to know more about Early Intervention (EI), but they are often not able to access information sessions in larger towns like Port Macquarie or Coffs Harbour. This year, Ability First Australia (AFA) and Northcott Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) responded to this need by delivering 11 First Steps sessions in Kempsey, Gladstone and South West Rocks.
First Steps are short, casual information sessions targeting parents who may have been recommended early intervention for their child, but don’t know what that means, how to find it and are not sure why their child would benefit from it.
Deb Fulloon has been doing an amazing job as a First Steps facilitator. Being a South West Rocks local and a parent of two sons with autism, Deb shares stories from her own sons’ experiences so parents understand how their children might benefit from early intervention. She also focuses on the importance of self-care for parents by demonstrating breathing techniques and giving gift bags with inspiring quotes.
The session is delivered together with Ashlee Law, Community Capacity Facilitator at Northcott ECEI, who provides detailed information and guidance to parents who want to know more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The feedback received after the sessions proves to have a lasting positive effect; last week Deb bumped into a First Steps participant who showed her she had hole-punched her laminated quote and put it on her keyring. She said she reads it every morning and every night and it helps her remember she is not alone!
Other feedback includes finding useful, practical ideas and getting insight on what it is like to parent a child with autism. Attendees also value getting a better understanding on where to go to find supports and the process involved, and they also highlighted the need for more workshops, even suggesting having a Next Steps workshop after the First Steps!
Deb and Ashlee are delighted that they will be supporting more families to understand early childhood intervention benefits as First Steps funding will continue for 2019-20.
Read more about how ECEI is supporting parents to access services here.