Han­dling parental con­cerns

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA McLEAY

A smile lights up Lilly Lowe’s face as her pet dog and best friend Lexie gives her a small lick.

The six year old is full of life. She loves dress­ing up as a princess, eat­ing ice-cream and her favourite colour is pink; like most girls her age.

The only dif­fer­ence is that Lilly has autism – a dis­or­der that has af­fected both her and her fam­ily se­verely.

Her mother Karen Con­dell and fa­ther Paul Lowe agreed that when your child had a dis­abil­ity the most im­por­tant thing to have was a sup­port net­work.

This mainly comes from Hamil­ton be­cause Mata­mata has not had any pro­fes­sional autism sup­port groups be­fore.

But, Al­to­gether Autism, a na­tional in­for­ma­tion and ad­vi­sory ser­vice for peo­ple with autism spec­trum dis­or­der, their fam­i­lies and wider com­mu­nity, will hold a meet­ing in Mata­mata for the first time.

On Fri­day, March 11, fam­i­lies who have an autis­tic child or are in­ter­ested in find­ing out about ASD are wel­come.

The meet­ing is an op­por­tu­nity to find out more about the Al­to­gether Autism ser­vice, dis­cuss the is­sues and gaps in ser­vices in Mata­mata, net­work with oth­ers and raise aware­ness of autism.

Ms Con­dell said it was of­ten hard to meet other fam­i­lies with autis­tic chil­dren be­cause autis­tic peo­ple did not like go­ing out very of­ten and be­ing in un­fa­mil­iar sit­u­a­tions.

‘‘It is so good to see some­thing come to Mata­mata. Hav­ing them here is our chance to voice con­cerns and ex­press what we need help for,’’ Ms Con­dell said.

‘‘It can be very iso­lat­ing for fam­i­lies with dis­abled chil­dren, so this is good.

‘‘Autism so­cially changes what you [the fam­ily] can do.

‘‘Lilly al­ways likes to just stay home and you can’t take her many places or leave her with

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