Children’s autism services expand
Autism WA has expanded its program in East Waikiki to keep up with an influx of registrations.
Operating out of the East Waikiki Child and Parent Centre facility, Autism WA was running one class on Friday mornings but is now running additional classes on Thursday afternoons.
Autism WA early intervention team leader Shana Bargiev said there were 17 children enrolled in the First Steps for Autism program, which is run on Friday, but intakes had been “rolling in” since opening in July.
The First Steps for Autism program is designed for children aged up to eight years of age.
Autism WA senior speech pathologist Melissa Galipo said children were grouped based on skill level rather than age. “It allows us to target goals more specifically,” she said.
“We might have a group of children who use communication devices, so we can focus more closely on that.
“Whereas in one of the groups we might target social interaction and skill-building.”
Mrs Bargiev said a school-aged social skills program had also been added to the program on Thursday.
“Autism WA has always delivered school-age services but it meant families were travelling to our base in Fremantle,” she said.
Mrs Bargiev said the schoolaged program targeted autistic children who were outside of the early intervention age range.
“It’s for children who are in Year 2 or 3 and even up to Year 10,” she said. “We’re also looking into sites where we can run teenage groups and transition into high school groups.
“I really feel with the expansion in the area that there are going to be more services for individuals in the area, not just for school-aged children but going right into adulthood and employment.
“This is really just the beginning of the services we’re going to provide.”