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Your essential guide to services and support in Far North Queensland

Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Your Essential Guide To Services and Support In Far North Queensland Creator:

Heeman, Heidi, author and designer


Cairns Autism Parents' Handbook : Your Essential Guide To Services And Support In Queensland / Heidi Heeman (author/designer); Maria Maugeri (editor)


Autism--Cairns-Queensland-Australia--Handbooks, Information, - Manuals, People With Autism--Services-Support-For--Cairns-Australia.

Disclaimer Heeman, Heidi, author and designer. Autism Parents' Handbook: Your Essential Guide To Services And Support In Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia / Heidi Heeman (author); Maria Maugeri (editor) Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this handbook is correct and up-to-date at the time of publishing (August 2016), however, as services change regularly this cannot be guaranteed. This handbook does not contain ALL of the services available in Cairns, Queensland Australia for children on the autism spectrum or endorse any of the services listed. Please contact each organisation listed for more information to identify if their services meet your needs. This handbook is free for families, health and education professionals and may be shared or reproduced. My sincere apologies for any errors or omissions. Please send any updates or amendments to me (Heidi Heeman) at to be included in any websites, facebook updates, PDF files and future hardcopy editions. (pending funding). Please check for latest version of the handbook. Thank you for the many families that put forward their family photos for use in this handbook.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Foreword ____________________________________________________________ By endorsing this book, let me also acknowledge gains of the past, consider current issues for people with a disability and commit to moving forward together to overcome those remaining barriers to equity and inclusion. There has been great advancement for people with a disability over the last 40 years, and it is important not to understate the role played by people with a disability themselves, in fighting for their place in our community. In reflecting on this we should acknowledge that this has been a civil rights struggle. No less so, than the struggle by women for equal pay, or the struggle by black people in the United States or indigenous people in Australia! The trailblazers in the battle for access and inclusion in Australia were on the scene well before I acquired my disability and I would like to acknowledge two local women, Lyn Coyle and Gail Harris who were very active in Cairns campaigning for the rights of people with a disability. The gains of campaigning and lobbying were largely achieved through the passage of legislation such as the Anti Discrimination Act, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act and the Disability Discrimination Act. However, many of the benefits from this legislation have taken years to manifest as real opportunities and services. I remember well my first few weeks and months as a person with a disability re-entering the community back in 1992. I can look back and consider how much progress has been made in so many areas of life for people with a disability. One of my first encounters on leaving PA Hospital in Brisbane was with a driver who had purchased an accessible taxi, because his father was in a wheelchair and had become house bound due to no access to transport. On returning to Cairns there was only one accessible taxi in Cairns, owned by Ray McRoberts. Much progress has been made and nowadays, even the local Sunbus has access! Still in 2016 those people with disabilities who have full access to a fulfilling life in the community are in the minority. This is because they do not have any funded support. This means bad outcomes in terms of access to education, employment and recreation. Information books such as this show a commitment by the author to help in the struggle to overcome disadvantages that still exist. So I commend Heidi on her work and hope many will find the information in this book of great help.

Rob Pyne MP Member for Cairns


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Introduction ____________________________________________________________ Thank you for reading this second edition handbook. My unexpected journey began when I had my last two children Sam (now ten-yearsold) and Braiden (five-years-old). It's been tough, financially, emotionally and physically; 24 hour a day, 365 days a year experience. I have not been out once on my own socially in nine years except for a Sue Larkey workshop! All my friends have children with autism or other disabilities; thankfully we all understand what each go through. As a single parent at times it can be very overwhelming and exhausting raising two autistic children verses neurotypical children, one of the blessings is their milestones are spread out. Each day if they can say a new word, or do a new task no matter how tiny it is, it makes it all worthwhile. I have essentially become an *Occupational Therapist and *Speech Therapist from the amount of work I have put into Sam and Braiden. I have a huge range of resources that could start an early childhood centre! I've spent thousands of hours on research, but can never go past facebook. There are some wonderful supportive groups out there, it's amazing what you find, resources and long lasting friends who are in similar situations. Even if I am up at 3am having a tough time, there is always someone online to chat and give support. I hope for those reading this handbook it will make life so much easier to navigate Cairns local support and resources at hand for children on the spectrum. Thanks to my besties Karen Anderson and Maria Maugeri for looking over the handbook before it went live. Also thanks to all my facebook friends whom I have never met in 'real life' but share the special needs bond together. My friends have always joked for me to write a book, so here it is. I hope no matter where you are on your Autism Journey this handbook will be a useful guide for you.

Enjoy the read, Heidi (*without the official degree)


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Table of Contents Getting a Diagnosis


First Contacts after Diagnosis






Early Intervention




Vehicle and Car Seat Safety


Carers’ Agencies and Respite


Stranger Danger


Service Providers in Cairns




Social Skills




Local Support Groups


Useful Facebook groups & pages


Useful Websites


Children’s Social Skills Groups


Recommended Books




Autism Assistance Dogs


Sexuality, Continence and Sleep


Training Workshops & Seminars




Sensory Clothing




Visual Communication Aids & Resources


Home Sensory Ideas On A Budget


Sensory, Fidget, Educational and Therapy Products


APPS - Websites To Follow


Autism Awareness - Media





Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Getting a Diagnosis ____________________________________________________________ What is Autism? Autism is a complex neurobiological condition with difficulties in communication, social ability and repetitive behaviours or restricted interests. Symptoms range from mild to severe and approximately one per cent of the population has autism. People with autism generally have difficulty relating to others and may be more (or less) sensitive to sights, sounds, touch, smells and tastes than others. No one knows for certain what causes autism. Genetic and environmental factors are being researched, and there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism. There is no “cure” for autism, although there are many treatments and therapies available to assist people with autism to reach their full potential (Winthrop Professor Andrew Whitehouse, Telethon Kids Institute). Who is involved in Autism Assessments? In Queensland (Qld), paediatricians, psychiatrists and neurologists assess and diagnose ASD. Input to diagnosis may be required from speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists. Where To Get A Diagnosis? Autism assessments can be conducted in the Qld public health system or privately. Waiting times vary considerably, so it’s worth putting your name down on waiting lists as soon as you can. 1) Private system The first step is to make an appointment with your GP who will refer your child to a paediatrician. The paediatrician will assess your child and if indicated will refer you to a clinical psychologist and speech therapist to complete the assessment. The three professionals then communicate their findings with each other to reach a joint decision regarding diagnosis. 2) Public system There are two paths to access autism diagnostic services in the QLD public health system: • Child Development Services and • Disability Services Commission’s State wide Specialist Services The team currently working with your child (or your GP or Child Health Nurse) will advise which team is best for you to access and your GP will be able to refer you to the most appropriate service. What Is The Cost Of A Diagnosis? Diagnostic assessment through the Qld public health system is provided at no cost to families. The cost of private assessment will depend on the fees set by individual practitioners. Families who choose private assessment may be able to recover some costs through Medicare rebates, or private health insurers. A Medicare autism assessment and treatment rebates fact sheet is available from Medicare or Commonwealth Health Department at


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

What Happens After The Diagnosis? The assessment team will contact the family to discuss the diagnosis. Recommendations for interventions will be made. Families can contact the Cairns Autism Advisor located at Autism Qld who will provide information regarding eligibility and available funding for Early Intervention (therapy) and other funding and support services. Parent Connect Initiative (May be able to fund specialist to get a diagnoses.) Parent Connect Provider for Cairns is The Benevolent Society. Tel: (07) 4034 6800 Email: The Australian Government has committed $190 million to support families, and their children who have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

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Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

First Contacts Following Diagnosis ____________________________________________________________ The first thing to do after your child has been diagnosed with autism is: 1) Put the kettle on. Sit down. Take a deep breath; 2) Say to yourself, “It’s going to be alright, everything is going to be okay.” 3) Make yourself a cuppa, (or a wine) grab a snack (preferably chocolate) and read ahead . . .

Autism Advisor Cairns – hosted by Autism Queensland Tel: (07) 4034 6600 Email: An Autism Advisor is able to assist you to access the early intervention funding in the package, families must have an acceptable diagnosis. An acceptable diagnosis is one of the following based on criteria in either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5), which was introduced in May 2013.  autism  autism spectrum disorder (ASD)  autistic disorder  Asperger’s disorder  childhood disintegrative disorder  pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Access eligibility for the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) Early Intervention Funding package. $12,000. Families from outer-regional or remote areas may be eligible to receive an additional one off payment of $2,000 (paid directly to families) They provide advice and information to families about Early Intervention services and other related community and support services for young children with ASD and their families. You can only use the funding with speech pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists (and sometimes specialist teachers or intervention workers) who have been approved by the government.

Resources purchases can also be allocated from HCWA package. You can also use up to 35% of your child’s HCWA funding to buy resources that your child’s HCWA service provider has recommended. This means you can spend up to $2100 on resources in any one financial year, up to $4200 in total. The only thing to note is that the resources you buy must be directly linked with the early intervention service, or able to help you or your child’s other carers do the interventions at home. If you would like more information about the Helping Children with Autism package, call the Helping Children with Autism Inquiry Line on 1800 778 581 or Email Children over seven are not able to access early intervention funding through HCWA but are still eligible for Medicare items. Medicare items can be claimed for children who have not accessed early intervention funding through HCWA or Better Start if they have an eligible disability. The first step is to develop a treatment and management plan with your child’s health care professional. You can access up to four diagnostic/assessment services to assist the referring practitioner with diagnosis or to contribute to a child’s treatment and management plan. This plan needs to be in place before your child turns 13. You can access up to twenty treatment sessions once you have a treatment and management plan in place. This may include sessions with psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, optometrists, orthoptists or physiotherapists. These sessions can be used up until your child turns 15.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Tel: 1800 800 110 Web:

Autism Queensland (AQ Cairns) Tel: (07) 4034 6600 Email: Website:

As the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolled out across Australia, children supported through HCWA will transition to the NDIS. The NDIS will start in Queensland from 1 July 2016 and will be fully implemented by 30 June 2019 and will be administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency. The NDIS will become available in CAIRNS, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands, Croydon, Etheridge, Cape York and Torres Strait from 1 July 2018.

AQ provides a comprehensive range of specialised services and support for children and adults with ASD and their families throughout Queensland. •EarlyAQtion Early Intervention Programs •Family Support Services •Outreach Services •Customised Services •Information and Help Line •Respite and Accommodation Services •Research and Development •Training Services

Disability Services Queensland Tel: (07) 4048 9900


The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services helps people with a disability and their families to access a range of supports and services. Children and adults who are eligible for specialist disability services will need to undergo an assessment and prioritisation process to be linked with available and appropriate services.

Autism Services Pathfinder Website:

This is a guide to getting a diagnosis, finding service providers, comparison of therapies, medication and other intervention, education, funding and support. Helping children with Autism has a national list of approved panel providers is available on the FAHCSIA website:

Early Days Online Workshops Tel: (07) 4034 6600 (Contact Autism Qld for upcoming workshops) Online workshops Early Days provides free workshops for parents and carers of children with ASD or suspected ASD. Topics include learning about ASD and your family, interacting and behaviour. Information about the workshops is available from state and territory autism associations. Workshops are bases for children aged six years or younger. You can do online workshops in your own time or attend one-day workshops. Early Days online workshops can be accessed at

Baby Bridges Website:

Cairns parents who have a child with a disability can find comfort and connect with vital community networks by attending a free early intervention service. Contact ARC Disability Services Inc. to find out their latest sessions. Tel: 07 4046 3600


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Funding ____________________________________________________________ 1) MEDICARE Helping Children with Autism program (HCWA) Autism Diagnostic Assessment Medicare rebates are available for assessment, diagnosis and the creation of a treatment and management plan by a consultant paediatrician or a psychiatrist for a child aged under 13 years of age. Under the HCWA program, a child can also be referred by a consultant paediatrician or psychiatrist for the following allied health services: up to four diagnostic / assessment services from psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists to assist the referring practitioner with diagnosis or to contribute to a child’s treatment and management plan. The referrals must be written before the child’s 13th birthday. See Medicare items fact sheet for Helping Children With Autism at Early Intervention Therapy services (for Children under 7) Early Intervention funding under the HCWA program is aimed at providing increased access to Early Intervention for children aged up to six years with autism. This may include registered occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychology services. Funding of up to $12,000 (maximum of $6,000 per financial year) can be accessed until the child’s seventh birthday. Your Autism Advisor can assist you in identifying a suitable Early Intervention service provider. See (search Helping Children with Autism) for eligibility and list of therapy service providers, which is updated weekly. Autism Therapy/Treatment (for Children over 7) Under the HCWA program, a child can be referred by a consultant paediatrician or psychiatrist for up to 20 treatment services from psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists (for a child under 15 years of age, providing a treatment and management plan is in place before their 13th birthday). These are the total number of services available to each child through the Helping Children with Autism program and are not an annual entitlement. Patients will require a separate referral for each allied health provider and they will also need new referrals for each new course of treatment. See for the Medicare benefits schedule. For more information, contact Helping Children with Autism Helpline on 1800 778 581.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Better Access to Mental Health (Counselling and Psychology Services) Medicare rebates are available for up to 10 individual sessions and up to 10 group allied mental health services (psychologists, some social workers and occupational therapists) per calendar year to patients referred by their GP managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan. (This can include social skills programs.) Can get a Better Access Plan for yourself and/or your child as there are no age restrictions. Website:

Chronic Disease Management Plan (formerly called Enhanced Primary Care Plan) This Plan allows a GP to coordinate health care of patients with chronic medical conditions, including patients with these conditions who require multidisciplinary, team-based care from a GP and at least two other healthcare providers. Up to five sessions a year are partially covered by Medicare rebate and have no age restrictions. Website:

Once the above two entitlements have been exceeded, you can use private health cover to subsidise private OT, speech and psychology services for therapy.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

2) CENTRELINK Website: The Payment Finder located on the website can help you locate a range of benefits that you may be eligible for, including Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate, Parent Payment, SchoolKids Bonus as well as some or all of the following: Carer Allowance

Health Care Card

A fortnightly supplementary payment for carers who provide additional daily care and attention for someone with a disability. Not means-tested.

A Health Care Card is automatically issued for your child when you receive the Carer Allowance. It entitles your child to concession rates for prescription medicines and other concessions, such as discounted public transport for some cardholders, bulk billing by selected doctors and higher refunds through the Medicare Safety Net.

Carer Payment A fortnightly, assets and means-tested income support payment for people who provide constant care for their child with severe disability and are unable to work as a result. Annual Carers Supplement If you receive the Carer Allowance or Payment, you may be eligible for annual Carers Supplement of $600 paid around July each year.

Carer Adjustment Payment A one-off payment of up to $10,000 following a catastrophic event when a child under seven years of age is diagnosed with a severe illness, medical condition or major disability. You have two years following diagnosis in which to apply. Disability Support Pension

Child Disability Assistance Payment If you receive the Carer Allowance or Payment you may be eligible for annual payment of $1000 paid around July each year.

Financial support for people who have disability that stops them from working, are aged 16 years and over, and unable to work more than 15 hours a week. Check eligibility criteria.

Mobility Allowance

Pensioner Education Supplement

Help for people with a disability aged over 16 years who cannot use public transport and need to access work or study/training.

A small subsidy payment for secondary and tertiary part-time and full-time students who are already receiving a benefit or payment.

Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme (AIC)

Inclusion Support Programme (ISP)

Payment made each term for students who cannot go to an appropriate state school because of geographical isolation, disability or special health needs.

The ISP will commence on 1 July 2016, following the closure of the Inclusion and Professional Support Program (IPSP) on 30 June 2016. The ISP will assist early childhood and child care (ECCC) services to include children with additional needs by providing tailored inclusion advice and support from contracted inclusion specialists, as well as funding to support more challenging inclusion barriers. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

2) MY FUTURE MY LIFE The My Future: My Life strategy is a key element of the Queensland Government’s commitment to supporting young people with a disability transition effectively from school to adult life. Eligible young people in years 11 and 12 (or equivalent) can access timelimited financial assistance to support them to achieve the goals as outlined in their SET plan (or equivalent) and that items and/or services requested have a direct and tangible link to the goals in the SET plan (or equivalent)

Website: Facebook:

3) YOUR LIFE YOUR CHOICE Self-directed support is a funding approach that enables people with disability and their families to have greater choice and control over the disability services they receive. It is a key part of preparing Queenslanders for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

4) OTHER FUNDING SOURCES Parent Connect Initiative Providing early intervention, prevention and transition support to parents of children with disability or developmental delay from birth to six years of age. (May be able to fund specialist(s) to get a diagnoses) Parent Connect Provider for Cairns is The Benevolent Society. Tel: (07) 4034 6800 Email:


Home Schooling Info And Assistance Help for students who cannot go to an appropriate state school because of geographical isolation, disability or special health needs.

Website: k/assistance-for-isolated-children

Financial Assistance A range of payments and services supporting people in need, including people with disabilities. Includes info and links to No interest loan scheme, concessions, rent or mortgage assistance, support from charities Website:

Apply for a Sports Voucher Eligible children and young people are provided with a voucher of up to $150 to help pay for club membership and/or participation fees. The vouchers can be redeemed at a sport or recreation club registered with the program. Website: e/getstarted

Variety QLD Search: ‘Apply for assistance’. Provides grants for practical equipment, resources and experiences for children who are disadvantaged or have special needs. Website:

The Community Aids, Equipment and Assistive Technologies Initiative (CAEATI) helps eligible people with a disability with the cost of aids, equipment or assistive technologies. Funding is capped at $10,000 per client for a period of 3 years. Website:

At Home Care Grants The program provides one-off grants between $2,000 and $10,000 for the provision of essential support items, emergency respite care and renovations to make homes disability friendly. Website:

Conveyance Allowance Do you drive your kids to school in your private vehicle? Live 3.2km or more away, 2 x payments, minimum $410 a year. Website:

More information on the School Transport Assistance Scheme as well as application forms can be found on the TransLink Website:

Spectacle Supply Scheme Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) providing a comprehensive range of free basic spectacles (prescription glasses) for eligible Queenslanders

Website: ult.asp


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) Continence Aids And Funds See if you can apply for both, one is a payment, other is continence aids delivered to your door such as nappies/pull-ups Website:

Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) Helps people aged 5 years or more who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of incontinence products. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

CONCESSIONS ____________________________________________________________ Carers Business Discount Card Providing discounts on goods and services at participating businesses throughout Queensland.


Companion Card Companion Card holders receive a second ‘companion' ticket at no charge on public transport and at participating venues. The 'companion' ticket is also exempt from booking fees.


Qantas Carer Concession Card The Qantas Carer Concession Card is issued to people with disability and high level support needs who require the full-time assistance of a carer whilst they are on the aircraft. A person is eligible if they need to have one-on-one support when seated on the aircraft for assistance with meals/drinks, transferring to the bathroom, orientation, communicating with the flight staff etc. 10-50% off flights. Website:

(iPad funding) Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund 2 rounds (end of March and September each year) each year to apply for an iPad - you don't have to be aboriginal to apply; it's for all Australians with a disability. Website:

Master Key Toilets An innovative system that enables people with disabilities to gain 24/7 access to a network of public facilities. You can apply for a master key to open all public toilets. Website:

Help for concession cardholders - ANZ matching your $ dollar for dollar. Saver Plus provides an opportunity to have every dollar saved (up to $500) matched with an additional dollar for your own or your family’s education-related expenses. Website:

ANZ - concession card holder benefits, such as no monthly fees etc.


Carers Queensland Membership $10 per annum, offering more services, such as the CARE program offering you discounts on a big range of services and products.

Website: Cairns Carers facebook page:

Also can provide a No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides interest-free loans for carers on low incomes. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is $1200 Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Early Intervention ____________________________________________________________ Community Child Health Services

The Child Development Service (CDS) operates to:  assist infants and children referred with special needs to maximise their developmental potential and functional abilities.  help children reach optimal health, quality of life and well-being.  support families/carers of children with special needs and provide carer education. Who receives the service?  

Young children with developmental delay or disability, from birth up to (but not including) prep school year, requiring multidisciplinary assessment and intervention. Young children with developmental delay, from birth up to (but not including) prep school year, with more than one specific need within the following areas of development i.e.: gross motor; language and communication; fine motor; cognitive /adaptive; daily living; social; or behaviour. Children whose development is considered at risk, e.g. : very premature and low birth weight or high risk babies What services are offered? 

Assessment of child’s development and special needs

Individual and group intervention.

Support, education, and practical assistance for families and carers.

Advice on and loan of therapy equipment.

Home, kindy and day care visits/programs. “Specialist” clinics.

Referral to and liaison with other agencies.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Outreach Services are offered to: Rural Communities: e.g. Yarrabah, Innisfail, Mossman, Mareeba and Atherton. Remote Communities: Weipa, Napranum, Aurukun, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Coen, Cooktown, Hopevale, Wujal Wujal, Bamaga, Thursday Island. A Growth & Development Clinic is held on a monthly basis to follow-up at-risk infants and children who have spent time in the Cairns Special Care Nursery (SCN). Who’s on the team? Children, parents, family members and carers are an integral part of the team. Our professional team includes: Team Leader Physiotherapists  Occupational Therapists  Speech Pathologists  Social Worker  Administrative Officer Visiting Professionals include:  

Paediatricians/registrar Qld Paediatric Rehabilitation Services Team  SCN nurse  Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Team Referrals to other professionals, e.g. dieticians, social workers, psychologists, can be arranged.  

Liaison with Other Agencies: After written consent is obtained from the parents, relevant liaison takes place with other agencies to ensure a coordinated service approach, e.g. Disability Services, Education Qld, RFDS and Dept of Child Safety. How can the service be accessed? Referral may be made to the Child Development Service by parents, carers, doctors, health professionals or community agencies. A CDS referral form is required and can be obtained by phoning the Child Development Service on phone (07) 4226 4323. Note: Parents/carers must have given consent before a referral is made to CDS. The completed form should be returned to: Team Leader Child Development Service PO Box 1055 Cairns North QLD 4870 Or fax to (07) 4226 4364


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook What happens next? 

The referral will be discussed with the team at the next weekly case conference

The parent/carer will be contacted either by phone or letter about the outcome of the referral. If the referral has been accepted, an information package including a Health Questionnaire Form will be forwarded to the parent/carer to be completed and returned.

The parent/carer will then be contacted to arrange an appointment for an initial assessment by one of the unit’s professional staff. (A waiting list for CDS services exist.)

What does it cost? This service is provided free of cost to children and their families. It is funded by the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. Where to go:

Areas covered by the service:

Child Development Service 381 Sheridan Street Cairns North Qld 4870 (Opposite Tobruk Swimming Pool)

   

Cairns and Hinterland Cape York Torres Strait Islands and Bamaga Northern Peninsula Area North Service District

Tel: (07) 4226 4323

Early Children's Development Program (ECDP) The department provides early childhood development programs (ECDPs) and services to support children aged 0-5 years with significant educational support needs arising from a diagnosed or suspected disability in the categories of intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), physical impairment, vision impairment, hearing impairment and speech-language impairment. Cairns is the only location to have centre-based ECD program and this occurs at Parramatta State School. The following have quite regular playgroups during school term – parents stay.  Innisfail has a playgroup on Thursday  Cairns has playgroup on Wednesday (predominantly under 3)  Mareeba has playgroup on Wednesday  Atherton has playgroup on Thursday  Rural and remote services are different depending on location and need of children _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Autism Queensland (AQ Cairns) Tel: (07) 4034 6600 Email: Website: AQ provides a comprehensive range of specialised services and support for children and adults with ASD and their families throughout Queensland. Contact them for an updated list of programs they run.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Inclusion and Professional Support Program Paid to approved child care services, including out of school hours care and holiday programs, so that they can provide extra care for children with special needs. Your childcare service will need to apply through their Inclusion Support Facilitator. Teachers in kindergarten services and long day care services can access support to assist children with disability to participate in their programs. Children with disability, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, can receive additional supports to participate in a kindergarten program. Kindergarten services can apply under the Disability Support Funding Program, Department of Education, Training and Employment, to receive additional funding to support your child’s participation in their kindergarten program. Additional support may include:  equipment and play resources  training and professional development for kindergarten teachers  extra teacher aide time to support  the child’s inclusion in the program.

Kindergarten programs in long day care services may be eligible for the Australian Government’s Inclusion and Professional Support Program. This provides professional development and other assistance to childcare services supporting children with additional needs. Kindergarten teachers can modify the kindergarten program to support the inclusion of your child. The wider kindergarten community can also be provided with information about Autism Spectrum Disorder to encourage inclusion of your child. Website:

Inclusion Support Agency, Far North Queensland is responsible for managing and coordinating access to quality inclusion support that is relevant, appropriate and timely for all eligible childcare services in our region. The Target groups for Inclusion support: •Children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including refugee children •Children with ongoing high support needs, including children with a disability •Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children Website:

Caterpillar Clinic Offering Intensive Early Intervention Programs (based on Applied Behaviour Analysis), focusing on language, social skills, self-care skills (e.g., toileting, eating, sleeping), and play skills. Website:

Inspire Early Intervention Providing personalised Early Intervention Therapy, Education and Well-being programs for children with an ASD or other disability, their families, carers and educators. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Education ____________________________________________________________ There are three main options in Cairns for primary and high school - state school, private school or home schooling.

From crayons to careers Education and Training in Far North Queensland. Listing all the state schools in the region, information for parents and student, indigenous supports, early childhood and training and careers. Website:

Cairns School of Distance Education Is a Queensland state school offering educational services to home based and school based learners from Prep to Year 12.

School Guide - Private School in Cairns


Website: and click on

Advanced School Finder - then Qld Map. The Cairns Education Hub was established to provide an easy-to-browse reference point for all the State and Private Schools throughout the Cairns suburbs. Choosing a school can be a difficult task, particularly if you are new to the region so we've put together a list of all the Cairns schools with links to their respective website and maps. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Schools have responsibility for maximising the learning outcomes and wellbeing of all students and for providing access to a highquality education that is free from discrimination. All children are entitled to quality education experiences. Students should feel that they are included in an environment of high expectation where they are both able and enabled to learn. At the core of inclusive education is the human right to education for all, which is pronounced in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (UNESCO). This resource supports inclusive education. Inclusive education means that all students are welcomed by their school in age-appropriate settings and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of school. Inclusive education is about how schools are developed and designed, including classrooms, programmes and activities so that all students learn and participate together. In order to create an inclusive environment, changes and modifications may need to be made to help a student or group of students participate on the same basis as other students. The changes or modifications made will reflect the assessed individual needs of the student and can be made in both the classroom and whole school setting. Download the PDF file here: nningforpersonalisedlearningandsupportnationalresource. pdf

_________________________________________________ Disability Standards for Education A practical guide for individuals, families and communities.

Information for families of children with ASD The resources in this section have been designed specifically for parents of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as their child commences the transition to Prep in Queensland.   

Each section contains tip sheets and templates for you to use during the transition journey and links to other relevant areas of the website. While these resources have been designed specifically to support the transition of children with ASD into Prep, they represent best practice in transition. Some resources and links may therefore be useful for all students and during other transition periods (e.g. transition from year to year or from primary to secondary schooling). Further information for parents of younger children with ASD can be found at:  


further learning and support early childhood support services for children with ASD.


The Queensland state schools app can help you locate your nearest school, give you directions, link to the school website URL and other related information. Specific information regarding programs and services in Education Queensland for students with disability is available on the department's website. The following tip sheets and template can help you select a school: 

Information on 'Our Rights', Reasonable Adjustments', 'What's fair' and 'Working together.

school options for your child preparing your child advocacy and support.

Tips for selecting a school

 

What do you want in a school?


Questions to ask schools

Preparing a list of questions


Tips for researching schools in the local area

Tips for visiting schools



Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Some fantastic articles on special needs kids, exclusions and discrimination in the Australian school system. Their articles are well worth the read. How schools avoid enrolling children with disabilities. Website: Authors: Linda J. Graham - Principal Research Fellow in Education, Queensland University of Technology, Helen Proctor - Associate professor, University of Sydney and Roselyn Dixon - Senior lecturer in Special Education , University of Wollongong.

What are your rights if your child with a disability is denied a school place?

Website: Author: Karen O'Connell - Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney

_________________________________________________ Disability Discrimination Commissioner Appointments to the Australian Human Rights Commission May 2016, it was appointment of the Hon Dr Kay Patterson as Age Discrimination Commissioner, Mr Alastair McEwin as Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Mr Edward Santow as Human Rights Commissioner. These appointments will be for five years and ensure that the Australian Human Rights Commission has its full complement of Commissioners.


Australian Curriculum The Australian Curriculum sets the expectations for what all Australian students should be taught, regardless of where they live or their background. For F-10, it means that students now have access to the same content, and their achievement can be judged against consistent national standards. Schools and teachers are responsible for the organisation of learning and they will choose contexts for learning and plan learning in ways that best meet their students' needs and interests. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Download at

FREE Microsoft Office 2016 for students and school staff All Queensland state school staff and students can now download multiple free copies of the latest Microsoft Office to their personal home computers and mobile devices. Students and staff will need to use their school email address to sign in. Students who don’t have a school login, school email account and password should contact their school's Managed Internet Service (MIS) administrator or class teacher. The administrator will help students activate their school login.

Website information and to download:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Vehicle and Car Seat Safety Houdini Harness most secure vehicle harness - will keep any Houdini's from escaping from their vehicle seat! Few different models to choose from. Website:

Hurphy Durphy Seat Belt Buckle Guard Suited to both front release and top opening seat belt buckles. Once fitted, it can be removed easily by adults but is virtually impossible for children to unfasten, due to the use of heavy duty Velcro. This also removes the risk of accidental release. Website:

The Carrot child seat - providing various kinds of extension accessories and multi-adjustable features to allow longer use during the child’s life and to suit the wide spectrum of children’s needs. Website:

The Community Aids, Equipment and Assistive Technologies Initiative (CAEATI funding) and Vehicle purchase and modification (VOSS) helps people with a disability participate in their communities by providing subsidy funding for a range of aids, equipment and assistive

Hemco Special Needs Harnesses. Webbing harnesses designed for children and adults who require more support than provided by a standard seat belt. An additional groin strap/anti-submarine strap is also available. The harnesses are adjustable and available in 3 sizes. This harness must be used in conjunction with car seat-belt.

technologies such as car seat equipment. For support, guidelines and applications see websites: CAEATI VOSS



Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Carers’ Agencies and Respite ____________________________________________________________ As your child’s full-time carer, your ongoing mental and physical health is crucial to you and your family. When you need extra support, a break or some time for yourself (or you and your partner) The following agencies can support you in your invaluable caring role. Carers Qld (Cairns) Tel: (07) 4031 0163 E-mail: Website: Assist people who provide unpaid care and support to a family member with a disability. Services include face-to-face counselling, carer groups and events, activities, carers’ retreat, educational workshops and young carers’ support. Anglicare Tel: (07) 4046 8058 Mob: 0429 433 006 E-mail: Website: Assess individual needs; establish coordination of support through negotiation & planning. Source resources, information & initiate referrals to existing community services, Disability programs, Respite providers and activities. Provide emotional, moral support effective planning and decisionmaking. Identify, source educational workshops or projects, social & recreational activities. Support carers to strategically create and maintain sustainable strategies relevant to individual wellbeing. Identify & strengthen natural supports of carers that enhance their individual coping skills, develop sustainable self-management practices & improve problem solving ability in times of crisis. Advocacy and peer support. Connect carers to relevant workshops, personal development opportunities (i.e Mental Health First Aid) social and recreational activities. Centacare Cairns Tel: (07) 4044 0130 E-mail: Website: Learn about our services and how to contact us for Counselling, Mental Health, Migrant, Emergency Relief, Marlin Coast Respite Centre and Partners in Recovery services along with other general information that may be of assistance to you.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Cairns Disability Services Tel: (07) 4048 9900 Website: The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services helps people with a disability and their families to access a range of supports and services they need such as Community Care services My Time Tel: 1800 889 997 E-mail: Website: Support for parents, grandparents and anyone caring for a child with a disability. Life Without Barriers Tel: (07) 4032 8300 E-mail: Website: Provides care and support services across Australia in urban, rural and remote locations. Our services include family support and out-of-home care, disability services, home and community care for older Australians. Uniting Care Tel: (07) 4050 4955 Email: Website: Provides health and community services such as within key service areas of crisis support, child and family wellbeing and disability support through its service groups – UnitingCare Community, UnitingCare Health, Blue Care and more recently ARRCS (Australian Regional and Remote Community Services). ARC Disability Services Inc Tel: (07) 4046 3600 Email: Website: A community based organisation with a long history in the Cairns and Far North, supporting children and adults who have a disability their families and support networks


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Please note the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre website was decommissioned in May 2015. Information on disability services can be found on the National Disability Insurance Scheme website Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide free and confidential information on local carer support, disability and community services. Centres are located throughout Australia and you can contact your nearest Centre by phoning 1800 052 222 (Freecall except from mobile phones). Blue Care Cairns Respite Care Tel: 1300 258 322 Email: Website: Services can be either in the client's home, in their community, at Blue Care Centre-based respite facilities or in our residential aged care facilities. Cottage overnight emergency accommodation is available in some areas. In-home respite focuses on lifestyle activities, assistance with light household duties, personal care, shopping and meal preparation, as well as support in social activities. Through centre-based respite, clients attend day programs that may include excursions, outdoor or indoor activities or holiday programs. Trained respite workers undertake client assessments. Needs-based programs are then developed with clients and their carers to enhance quality of life and provide opportunities for community contact. We also coordinate carer support groups to provide an opportunity for carers to meet other carers, and to offer social support and encouragement for those who are requiring encouragement

ITEC Health Tel: (07) 4046 1850 Email: Website: Erin Burns - Disability Support Officer New branch in Cairns, and has been approved under the Disability Services Act to apply for funding and provide the following services in Cairns, Atherton, Innisfail, and Mareeba: Disability support, in-home accommodations support, flexi-respite services, recreation and holiday programs, and own home respite.


Life Fitness Village at The Rehab Store 218 McLeod Street, North Cairns Queensland 4870 Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Phone: 1300 880 704 Mobile: 0423 561 233

Life Fitness Village welcomes people of all abilities to participate in healthy fitness based programs. Life Fitness village has a team of Personal Trainers and Experts in Conditioning and Training who provide a range of exercise programs. The difference with Life Fitness Village and other group fitness providers is that all our staff work with our qualified health professionals, We provide programs aimed at assisting clients with disabilities, long term injuries or cognitive/neurological conditions. At Life Fitness Village we can cater for the athlete striving to complete an Iron Man to an MS client in a powered wheelchair with a specialised program. Our future aim is to develop programs that cater for children with wide ranging needs while also supporting the parents with child support, Occupational Therapy intervention and child minding, working in Partnership with The Rehab Store.

Life Fitness Village group fitness for everyone!

BODYPUMP is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. BODYBALANCE is the Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilate’s workout BODYCOMBAT is the empowering cardio workout where you are totally unleashed. BOOTCAMP is a high Intensity interval-training workout. YOGA cultivates health and well being PILATES is a physical fitness system designed to aid injury and regain health by strengthening, stretching and stabilising key muscles. BOXING FOR FITNESS is a friendly Boxing class where no one gets hurt; it will build confidence, self-esteem and a stronger body. ZUMBA is perfect for everybody. A total workout, combining all elements of fitness.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Stranger Danger Daniel Morcombe Foundation Activities for children and young people with mild to moderate special needs. DM Child Safety Curriculum The DM Child Safety Curriculum has been developed to support Australian schools to deliver key safety messages to students. Order the Resource Kit The 'Keeping Kids Safe' Resource Kit can be ordered online, free of charge, it contains a DVD and a book with educational activities . Keeping Kids Safe is an educational Resource Kit that will be supplied free of charge to schools, community groups and parents around Australia. Targeting children from 5 to 15 years old it is in alignment with the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum available to all teachers and schools in Australia. Website:

Daniel Morcombe Foundation 'Help Me' App. A great way to not only help keep kids safe, but assist people of all ages, from 7 to 97, covering all kinds of personal emergency situations! Website:

Police ID Child App If your child went missing, would you be able to provide police with a recent photo and all their details? We hope you never have to use it, but the Child ID app has been developed to help you keep your child’s details up to date and ready to send off at short notice in case there’s a need to find them urgently. With International Missing Children’s Day coming up later this month, it’s a timely reminder to make sure you not only have the app, but that your child’s photo and details are current. You can download the Child ID app on Google Play or from the App Store -


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Information Booklet Transition Guides (Qld) Guides provides a stepping stone for the student’s transition from school to community and what Disability Support Pensions and concessions you can apply for. Download PDF's Now I'm 16 -

Now I'm 18 - Or visit their website

Service Providers in Cairns ____________________________________________________________ Approved Panel of Providers for HCWA (providers were correct at the time of Print at mid 2016) Panel providers are approved by the Department of Social Services (DSS), which is the government department that funds the HCWA program. DSS was previously known as FaHCSIA The national list of approved panel providers is available on the DSS website:

This website may include the costs of services and information about each of the approved panel of providers Panel providers may deliver their services through: 

Home visits and/or clinics

Outreach visits to schools, kindergarten or child care centres

Individual therapy sessions and/or small group programs

Workshops for parents


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook CAIRNS AND SURROUNDING AREAS Autism Queensland (AQ) Email: Website:

Tel: 07 4034 6600 Located: 15-17 Marr Street, Edmonton QLD 4869

Wide range of autism-specific, early intervention services. One-on-one and small group programs available; short or long-term options; staffed by speech pathologists, occupational therapists, specialist teachers, social worker, psychologist; delivered at your home, your child’s educational setting or at an AQ site. All interventions individually tailored to you and your child’s needs, using evidence-based practices. Remote technology options are also available. Programs offered by the Cairns and FNQ office include a Centre-based Group Program; Outreach Program, Say and Play, Fun Friends and Feelings, Move and Play, Social Skills, Play and Learn, Individual Therapy, Hanen More Than Words (parent training program). Families registered with Autism Queensland can access their free, family support service. Respite services available through other payment methods (HCWA funding cannot be used for respite). For services in Cairns and Far North Queensland For services in Mackay, Whitsundays and Coalfields For services in Rockhampton and Central Queensland For services in Gladstone and Central Queensland For services in Brisbane, South-East Queensland, South-West Queensland, North-West Queensland

4034 6600 4841 8300 4923 4800 4977 9600

3273 0000

Please note: registration with the Autism Advisor Program is NOT registration with AQ. If you wish to access any AQ service you must contact the relevant AQ office directly. Some AQ services also require you to be registered with Department of Communities - Disability Services. Please contact AQ for further details.

Cairns Speech Pathology Email: Website:

Annette Taft - Tel: 07 4033 1230 Located: 2 Seaview Close, Bayview Heights QLD, 4868 and Redlynch Medical Centre, Shop 12 Redlynch Shopping Centre Larsen Road, Redlynch QLD 4870

Speech Therapy with initial assessment including report and program. Individual and group learning and therapy sessions. Sensory / Perceptual motor skills development.

Cairns Music Therapy Email: Facebook:

Jaye Odgers - Mobile: 0409 890 797 Located: Redlynch, PO Box 467 Redlynch QLD 4870

Mobile service available within Cairns. Music Therapist available within the home or early learning centre for individual therapy services. Cairns Music therapy works closely with Occupational Therapist, Jolene Kattenberg who may offer allied therapy input to the service and family.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Caterpillar Clinic Email: Website: Facebook:

Rachel Briffa - Mobile: 0430 198 921 Located: 3/320 Sheridan St, Cairns QLD 4870

The Caterpillar Clinic is operated by a registered psychologist and FNQ’s only Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. Early intervention programs based on Applied Behaviour Analysis are designed and tailored to each child’s specific needs and developmental level, and cover a wide range of skills and abilities including speech, play, self-care and toileting, social and motor skills. Parent training provided, or program delivered in-home by behaviour therapists. Consultation with daycares/kindy/schools is available. Assessments and interventions for older children on social emotional wellbeing, including managing peer interactions, anxiety, and emotional regulation. HCWA and Medicare approved provider. Cairns Paediatrics Email: Website: Facebook:

Sharon Coles - Mobile: 0431 531 419 Located: Cairns Professional Centre, Suite 4, 92-96 Pease St, Manunda QLD 4870

Cairns Paediatrics provides Occupational Therapy at the consulting room located in Edge Hill as well as home/school visits. Occupational therapy can help your child with sensory processing issues, anxiety management, toileting, mealtimes, school readiness and play skills. Cairns Paediatrics utilises principles of ABA and DIR/Floor time to develop skills. Parent support is offered to help parents manage challenging behaviours, achieve goals for themselves and their child and to feel confident in their parenting role. Chat with Me Speech Language Pathology Email:

Brittany MacColl (nee Barker) - Mobile: 0475 841 459 Located: Weipa QLD 4874

Outreach services available in surrounding areas from Weipa. Available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. After hours appointments may be arranged Speech Therapy assessment and direct speech and language therapy provided in the child's home, school, kindergarten, and/or daycare. Outreach services provided throughout Weipa and surrounding communities, including Evans Landing and Napranum. Provides close collaboration with various healthcare professionals, teachers, and daycare educators upon request. Therapy programs are individualised, family centered and serve to improve the child's participation throughout his/her community. Gail Baildon Speech Pathology Email: Facebook:

Mobile: 0437 474 578 Located: 54 Quoll Close, Redlynch QLD 4870

Available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays Speech Therapy- assessment and therapy services. Services can be provided at the Redlynch clinic, Freshwater Christian College School and kindergarten.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Good Start to Life (GSL) Email: Website:

Tel: 07 4031 0123 Located: Suite 6, 135-141 Martyn Street, Parramatta Park QLD 4870

GSL offers psychology services at the centre, in the home and in the community. GSL follows a family-centred approach and incorporates therapy for children with education and support for families and the family’s support network. Gumleaf Psychology and Education Email:

Bronwyn Harvey - Mobile: 0417 745 487 Located: 218 McLeod Street, Cairns North QLD 4870

Mobile service available if necessary with prior arrangement Psychology and Educational Services as well as ABA Therapy are available at our clinics. Gumleaf Psychology and Education service offers behaviour management, social skills and self-esteem programs as well as cognitive and academic assessments and strategies. The service aims to assist children and parents in their daily life activities and plan strategies to support future activities such as kindergarten and school integration. Inspire - Lorna McInnes Email: Website: Facebook:

Mobile: 0457 248 889 Located: 60 Moore Rd, Kewarra Beach, Cairns QLD 4879

Mobile service is available within Cairns and outreach services within 150kms from Clifton Beach, Remote Skype sessions and weekly email reports. ASD Therapist, junior ABA therapist, special education support assistant, Early childhood educator and naturopath. Has combined knowledge and experience to create "Inspire early Intervention", a business committed to working with children in their homes or within educational settings to support inclusion, transitions and learning goals, communication, behaviour and sensory goals as well as inclusive learning behaviours. Lorna is more than happy to work in with your other Therapists and also offers respite. Her "Inspire early intervention "website also has an online shop where clients can purchase natural health supplements, probiotics, digestive enzymes, foods, oils, minerals, all carefully chosen with children in mind and will even deliver them. (These are not paid from funding). You may also choose to join Lorna's "Inspire Early Intervention" facebook page, where she shares positivity and tips on ASD therapy, education and wellbeing.

Klever Kiddies - Stephanie Whiteside Email:


Mobile: 0422 078 126 Located: 43 Campus, Shopping Centre, Smithfield QLD 4878

Occupational Therapy with individual assessments and therapy sessions aimed to help the person with autism improve his/her quality of life. The service aims to enhance occupational performance and promote skill development in a variety of areas. Klever Kiddies provides services at the Smithfield clinic and within the community (i.e. school, kindy and home).


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Little Sparrows Speech Therapy - Kimberley Whitchurch Email: Website: Facebook:

Mobile: 0400 217 577 Located at: - Suite 1-12a Grove Street, Cairns QLD 4870 and Balance Health Care, 5 Walker Road Edmonton 4870 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Mobile services are available. Speech Therapy services including assessment, therapy and programs. Services can be provided at the clinic or as a mobile service.

Lifestyle Therapies and Training Solutions (LTTS) Email: Website:

Tel: 1300 994 854 Clare Griffin - Mobile: 0447 279 741 Located: regular visits to Doomadgee, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Bamaga (Northern Peninsula Area), the Torres Strait Islands and Cairns West State School from their office in Keperra QLD 4054

LTTS offers Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Psychology services at the home and school environments in remote locations. LTTS is setting up regular clinics within Cape York as the Torres Strait with speech pathology, occupational therapy and/or psychology services. LTTS aims to makes access to allied health as easy as possible for families. LTTS offers a regular clinic of Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Psychology services at Cairns West State School. North Care Email: Website:

Bonny Bryen - Tel: 4044 8777 Located: 58-62 McLeod St, Cairns City QLD 4870

Psychology assessments and therapy are available at the clinic. On Call Children’s Therapy Network (O.C.C Therapy) Email: Website: Facebook:

Fiona Jones & Jordane Bennett Tel: (07) 3378 9543 Mobile: 0411 377 690

Located: Clinics in Kenmore and Newmarket; mobile services across Brisbane, visit into Cairns each quarter and outreach services across Queensland. Occupational Therapy assessment and therapy services. Services can be provided at a clinic or at the child’s school/early learning centre or home. Services can include the development of an individual, occupational therapy program and follow up sessions through phone or e-therapy options.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook The Whole Child - Occupational Therapist Email: Website:

Crystel Poggioli - Tel: (07) 4091 6073 Located: Atherton QLD 4883 Postal: P.O. Box 119, Atherton QLD 4883

Available for outreach services to Mareeba, Atherton, Malanda, Tolga, Walkamin and Yungaburra (by negotiation) Occupational Therapy- community based occupational therapy services in school, day care, kindergarten or in the home settings. Assessments, observations and intervention are targeted to the child’s unique needs. Intervention goals are established in collaboration with families.

Occupational Therapist - Jolene Kattenberg Email:

Mobile 0415 358 809 Located: Atherton Tablelands

Mobile service is available within Atherton, Mareeba and surrounding areas; and assessment visits available within Cairns. Occupational Therapy to help your child live and learn, including individual assessments and therapy sessions are available within the home, school or early learning centre. Speech Pathologist - Laura Nelson Email: Website:

Mobile: 0415 073 216 Located: Kuranda QLD 4881

Clinic based appointments as well as school/childcare/kindergarten visits available in Kuranda, Mareeba and Atherton. Home visits available by negotiation. Speech Therapy services for children and families in and around Mareeba, Atherton and Kuranda. Therapist works closely with families to ensure assessment and therapy are targeted to each child’s unique communication needs. Speech Pathologist - Claire Hayley Email:

Mobile: 0402 394 486 Located: Shop 2, No. 36 Cassowary Drive Wongaling Library Complex, Mission Beach QLD 4852

Childcare/school visits available in Tully and Innisfail Speech Therapy: assessments, observation and intervention. School, day care outreach and home visits available on request. Intervention is aimed at improving children’s functional use of language and goals are largely guided by the parents identifying the child’s communication needs. Therapy is play based and dependent on the child’s interests and sensory preferences. Strategies for parents to trial are modelled and discussed. Home practice books and activities are provided. Social skills groups for children aged 6-7 years are available to support turn taking, asking questions, making offers, giving compliments etc. A similar social skills program may be available for children aged 4-5 if there is enough interest.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Speech Pathologist - Leanne Herbert Email:

Tel: (07) 4061 7460 Mobile: 0419 159 776 Located: 145 Palmerston Highway, Innisfail QLD 4860

Available Mondays and Fridays. Speech Therapy: including clinic-based assessment, observation and intervention. Daycare/kindy/school/home outreach visits on request. Intervention goals are established to address communication and social skills in collaboration with families. Strategies for families and home practice are provided and considered essential for skill development. Speech Plus Speech Pathology - Kathy Bruno Email:

Mobile: 0419 390 668 Located: 44 Fairley Street, Redlynch QLD 4870

Speech Therapy services including assessment, report, therapy and programs. Services can be provided at the Redlynch clinic or Redlynch State College. Talk Time Speech and Language Pathology - Teagan Pease Email: Facebook:

Mobile: 0405 772 137 Located: Shop 5 Piccone's Shopping Village 113 Bruce Highway, Edmonton QLD 4869

Available Monday to Friday for services in the clinic, school/kindy or home services available within Weipa. Speech Therapy services including assessment and evidence based therapy services for speech, language, literacy, fluency, social skills and Alternative and Augmentative Communication. Assessments are completed to suit the family and child's needs. Therapy goals are established in collaboration with families to include family priorities. Functional strategies and home practice resources are provided to maximise the child's progress. Talk Time SLP aims to work closely with schools and other key stakeholders regarding assessment, reporting, therapy and programs. The Rehab Store Email: Website: Facebook:

Greg Donelly - Tel: 1300 880 704 Located: 218 McLeod Street, Cairns

Paediatrics: Our specialised Occupational Therapy services include assessment, treatment and intervention for young children, including treatment for various neurological disorders such as : Autism: ADD / ADHD; Cerebral Palsy; Developmental Delay; Learning Disabilities; Sensory Processing Disorders.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Wendy J Richardson Speech Pathology Email:

Mobile: 0418 196 011 Located: RN 222 P.E.I. Road, Malanda QLD 4885

Available in region on a fortnightly basis including weekends (by negotiation) Speech Therapy: assessment and therapy. Services can be provided at the Malanda address as well as an outreach service for families in the Cairns and the Tablelands areas. Outreach services can be provided at a community location, home and school.

Search For Services Or Specialists In Your Local Area Through The Websites Of Professional Associations The Australian Physiotherapy Association. Website: Speech Pathology Australia. Website: Occupational Therapy Australia. Website: Australian Psychological Society. Website:

Statewide ABA International Email: Website:

Mobile: 0447 802 596

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst: Nina Valentine - Programs include home and school based ABA early intervention services with social skills training, behavioural interventions and workshop training for parents. Rural and regional outreach programs and assessments are available. Aspire Early Intervention Email: Website:

Tel: 02 9739 9798 Mobile: 0433 999 889

Applied Behaviour Analysis Therapy with in home intensive early intervention and contemporary ABA programs specialising in outreach for rural and remote families. Aspire works closely together with (pre-) schools and allied professionals such as your local speech pathologist or occupational therapists. Programs are based around a verbal behaviour and natural environment framework. They are delivered and supervised by psychologists and program managers that travel to your home. Frequent consultation is provided through on site visits, video reviews and Skype consultations. Program covers all areas of development, including speech, language and communication, play skills, social and motor skills. Programs are highly individualised and tailored to suit your child's but also your family's needs. All rural and remote areas considered.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Connected Occupational Therapy Email: Website:

Mobile: 0438 816 747 Located: Provides services anywhere in QLD via videoconference

Occupational therapy service which uses videoconferencing technology to deliver occupational therapy services over the Internet to families who are located at home, school and childcare. This may suit families who cannot access an occupational therapist locally for a variety of reasons such as distance to a therapist, difficulty with transport etc. Connected Occupational Therapy is just like face-to-face occupational therapy but instead of sitting across a table from the therapist, therapy is viewed across the Internet and a computer screen. Persons need a computer or tablet with a camera, microphone and Internet connection. The therapist can help families through the technology and steps to start. There is evidence that clinical outcomes and client satisfaction using video conferencing are equivalent to face-to-face therapy.

Educational Development Support and Counselling Services Email:

Elizabeth Robinson - ph: 07 5496 6511 Located: 296 Newlands Road, Wamuran QLD 4512

Child / Special Needs Educator with services to promote behaviour, school transition, educational and family support; as well as counselling and expressive therapies. FABIC Email: Website: Facebook:

Tanya Curtis - Tel: (07) 5530 5099 Located: Worongary, QLD

Phone, Skype and face-to-face and webinar workshops available. Multidisciplinary service which offers behaviour therapists, psychology services, occupational therapy and speech pathology services. Fabic is a Multi-Disciplinary Behaviour Specialist Centre working with children and families to support young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder to become the most independent, responsible and well-adapted being they are capable of becoming. Fabic’s multi-disciplinary services all under the one roof allow the parents to know that practitioners can collaboratively work together to support their child to reach their full potential. All services at Fabic (consultations and training) are designed to support clients to Understand and then Change any unwanted behaviour.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Kids Matters - Occupational Therapy Email: Website: Facebook:

Tel: 1300 136 596 Located: Yeerongpilly and Albany Creek, QLD

Occupational Therapy provided by a member of a team of experienced OTs. OT may use phone/Skype sessions to focus on understanding and working with sensory processing challenges, self-regulation skills, play and building functional skills including sleep, toileting, feeding or any other functional concerns. Therapists work closely with parents to understand the individual family needs and dynamics, set goals and work towards these in partnership with all care providers. Phone or Skype sessions are available for families throughout Queensland. Let’s Talk Developmental Hub Email: Website:

Tel: 07 3891 9111 Located: 33 Stoneham Street, Stones Corner QLD 4120

E-therapy options via Skype at a child’s home or school (or at the E-Hab unit within the Qld Country Women’s Association Hall, Mt Isa) for those unable to attend the clinic. Outreach services available. Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Psychology services which specialise in preparation for and transition to early education and school settings, and early intervention. Individual & group therapy, school visits & transition programs available. Specialist and multi-disciplinary assessments are options. PECS Australia Email: Website: Facebook:

Tel: (03) 9391 6122 Located: based in Victoria

Provides outreach services to Queensland. Special Needs Consultants and Speech Therapy/ABA Therapists together with PECS can provide outreach therapy, parent training and workshops in required locations. PECS resources can be accessed once the family has accessed therapy or workshop services from PECS. Price depending on location, size of group and services required. Workshops are advertised on the PECS website. Ready, Set, Go! Occupational Therapy - Tina Wheldon Email: Website: Facebook:

Tel: (07) 3891 9979 Located: Greenslopes and Karalee, QLD

Occupational Therapy: with individual occupational therapy assessment and consultation sessions that can assist in sensory processing difficulties; fine and gross motor development, self-care skills, social skills and play skill development. Skype or teleconference sessions available for families in rural and remote areas.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Telespeech Australia Email: Web:

Sue Cameron - Mobile: 0427 465 820 Located: Internet-based service

Telespeech therapy uses videoconferencing technology to deliver speech pathology services over the internet wherever families may be (e.g.: at home, school, childcare). It is an alternative for people who: can’t find a speech pathologist in their area, live a long way from services and want to save the time and expense of travelling, don’t want to miss work or school to attend an appointment, do not have transport or don’t want to rely on someone else to take them to appointments. Telespeech therapy is just like face-to-face speech therapy but instead of sitting across the table from the speech pathologist you will be viewing each other across the internet on your computer screens. All you need is a computer or tablet with a camera and microphone and an internet connection. There is evidence that clinical outcomes and client satisfaction with tele-practice are equivalent to conventional speech therapy.

____________________________________________________________ Service Availability Register Search the register to help you find your local community service providers. Department of Health and Ageing and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to assist with referral to community service providers. It is a list of community service providers across Queensland with information on the services they provide, their location and when they are able to accept new clients. Website:

LOOKING FOR AN AGED, DISABILITY OR SPECIAL NEEDS CARER TO HELP YOU AT HOME? With Find A Carer you can FIND and HIRE the Carer YOU want, without the high on-going Agency fees. Get started with a FREE search today!


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Dentist with an interest in special needs children Karen Anderson has her own dental practice in Palm Cove, Northern Beaches Dental Care and has an interest in special needs children. Her own son Cooper is 11, and has Tourettes Syndrome, ADHD and Aspergers. Being a special needs mum herself and knowing what our kids with Autism can be like with sensory issues and meltdowns, Karen enjoys helping all children have a positive experience at the dentist. Listening to the child, going at their pace, and explaining and showing things when the child is ready can make a big difference. Whether it's having a short and easy show around appointment first, with a chair ride and balloon to get your child comfortable with the room for the first visit, or minimising noise and stimulation, there is lots that can be done for successful visits. She has lots of preventive ideas, and can refer for treatment under general anaesthetic if necessary. If your child is eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, which is a government scheme giving financial support for basic dental services for children aged 2–17, then most straight forward treatment is bulk billed. Northern Beaches Dental Care. 17 Vievers Road Palm Cove. (Upstairs above chemist) Tel: (07) 4055 3944 Email:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

____________________________________________________________ NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme - a new way of providing community linking and individualised support for people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers. Website:

NDIS videos: Scroll through to watch a range of videos about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and how we can help people with disability. Website:

NDIS My Access Checker: (for the online tool to check if eligible under NDIS) Website:

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) launches Disability Loop website. (May2015) Disability Loop aims to give people with disability and their families information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that is up to date, easy to find and easy to use. Disability Loop is different to the NDIS website because it is run by and for people with disability and their families. It also brings together information from lots of different websites, not just the NDIS.

Operational Guideline – Access – Disability Requirements Legislation, Becoming a participant and The disability requirements.


Website: ess_disability_requirements3.pdf

Qld NDIS Calendar of workshops

Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands, Croydon, Etheridge, Cape York and Torres Strait way/reform-and-renewal/disabilityservices/national-disabilityinsurance-scheme-inqueensland/ndis-calendar

The NDIS will become available in Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands, Croydon, Etheridge, Cape York and Torres Strait from 1 July 2018. This covers the local government areas of:           

Aurukun Cairns Cassowary Coast Cook Croydon Douglas Etheridge Hope Vale Kowanyama Lockhart River Mapoon

         

Mareeba Napranum Northern Peninsula Pormpuraaw Tablelands Torres Torres Strait Island Weipa Wujal Wujal Yarrabah


Official NDIS planning guide and workbook. This planning guide is for people who are able to access


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook the NDIS. It has been designed to assist you through the process of developing your individual plan. It will help you identify your needs, goals and current supports. Download PDF file at

Discover: A Resource for people planning for the future The Endeavour Foundation has produced an Easy Read Guide to the NDIS presented in an accessible, easy to understand format designed for people who have intellectual or learning disabilities AND the 2nd edition Discover guide is now out. Visit NDIS resources page to access it: Website:

NDIS Grassroots Discussion Facebook Group. A group for people with disabilities, family members and supporters to discuss the National Disability Insurance Scheme

NDIS: Queensland, Planning For Change Forum This Forum is for sharing information about what is happening in our state. A one stop place to find out about upcoming workshops and meetings that are all NDIS related. This is also a page to share ideas. What's working and what's not. We can all learn from each other. Let's make this page great. Please respect each other and opinions.

The NDIS will support your child with a disability. Our plain English guide anwers your NDIS questions. Website: ity_insurance_scheme.html

Autism NDIS Support A support group for people who care for or are on the Autism Spectrum and are navigating the NDIS. Share, question and discuss.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Social Skills The Social Express™ An engaging, educational software for children and young adults with social learning challenges. The online learning program uses individual webisodes to teach users how to think about and manage social situations. Each webisode-lesson covers a specific social skill and helps kids to practice and develop meaningful social relationships and succeed in life.

The BRAVE Program is an interactive, online program for the prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety. The programs are free, and provide ways for children and teenagers to better cope with their worries. There are also programs for parents. Website:


Wonder Grove Kids 150 songs, sight words and social stories short clips. It is American based but a great variety and educational.

Secret Agent Society is a social skills training program to help children feel happier, calmer and to make new friends. Note this is available in Cairns at Colahan Psychology 28 Scott Street. Website:

Positive Penguins is an award winning, top ranked, fun educational app developed for children to help them understand why they feel the way they do and help them challenge their negative thinking. The app aims to help children understand their feelings come from their own thoughts not the situations.

Website: Facebook: YouTube:

They also have Posters, Activity Sheets, Positive Penguins Lesson Plan, Positive Penguins Worksheet and other resources on their website.

Available on the playstore and iTunes.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Ask Ed (App) Does your child have worries, anxieties and tantrums? Imagine if an app could teach your child to voice their problems, express their feelings and decide on a plan of action. Ask Ed is designed to help children deal with real life problems from the smallest annoyance to a 'full blown catastrophe'. Ask Ed helps children, parents and teachers work together to tackle social, emotional and behavioural issues. Website: Facebook:

PLAY IS THE WAY® is a practical methodology for teaching social and emotional skills using guided play, classroom activities and an empowering language - behaviour education using wisdom, not force. Offering Practical parenting videos and tips for parents.


Social Detective Discover how to become a better social thinker with Social Skill Builder’s You Are A Social Detective Beginner App. This interactive App teaches children with Autism, Asperger’s and other special needs how to appropriately engage in everyday situations. It teaches them how to use their eyes, ears and brain to make smart social guesses and investigate clues to see how others' emotions and responses are connected to their own behavior. 

Understanding Others’ Expected and Unexpected Behavior

Understanding Others’ Comfortable and Uncomfortable Thoughts

Learning to Use Your Social Tool Box Items (Eyes, Ears and Brain)

Learning how to make Smart Guesses with your social tool box items



Cairns newest Service Provider for with Autism and Better Start Funding

Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Helping Children

The Rehab Store provides Occupational Therapy Services including: Paediatrics: Our specialised services include assessment, treatment and intervention for young children, including treatment for various neurological disorders such as : Autism: ADD / ADHD; Cerebral Palsy; Developmental delay; Learning disabilities; Sensory processing Disorders. Return to Work: Injury management, return to work support, training and conditioning services. Our expertise and experience enables us to deliver a wide range of individual services or integrated rehabilitation and workplace health solutions. Wheelchairs and Seating: Assessment, prescription and provision of wheelchair and seating solutions, home based equipment needs and work based seating and ergonomic needs.

Neurological Rehabilitation: Goal oriented treatment programs that are goal oriented and age specific. We cater for clients who have experienced stroke and ABI but also long term conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease. ReFit: Modified Fitness groups designed by a an OT and a Personal Trainer aimed at those returning from injury or those with a disability or those who just struggle with up tempo fitness sessions Compression Therapy: Assess, fit and supply a range of compression garments for all circulation needs General Rehab Equipment: Can assist with Home Mods, walkers, shower chairs, commodes etc for all clients.

Medicare Local: Current providers of Free OT services for Medical Local for the Tablelands and Western Tablelands area. Contact us for more information. DVA, GP Management Plans, all accepted. We share a Holistic Multi Disciplinary approach with a variety of health professionals on site including massage, kinesiology, naturopathy, nutrition, acupuncture and psychology.

The Rehab Store 218 McLeod Street, North Cairns Queensland 4870 Phone: 1300 880 704 Mobile: 0423 561 233 www. 50

Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Raising Children Network Download this free app on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and disability to get funding and services help, parent stories and reliable, easy-tounderstand information. Proudly produced by Raising Children Network. You can use the Children with Autism & Disability app before and after a child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or disability. With this free app, you can:     

use our pathfinder to navigate each stage of funding, services and support before and after diagnosis connect to ASD or disability services in your area with a mapping tool and key contacts directory navigate the Australian services system with step-by-step expert guidance learn from other parents’ experiences through parent videos get more information about disability and ASD from up-to-date, evidence-based articles.

The app is available for iOS and Android. Search the app store for ' Children with Autism & Disability – a parent guide'


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Advocacy ____________________________________________________________ Children with Disability Australia (CDA) is the national peak body which represents children and young people (aged 025) with disability and their families. Website:

The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 protects us from being treated unfairly in many areas of public life including at school and university, at work and when we are out and about in the community. Website:

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) is an independent, community-based systems and legal advocacy organisation for people with disability in Queensland, Australia.

Carers Queensland offers an Information and emotional Support Line, advocacy, referral to HACC and other services in Queensland as well as telephone and face to face counselling for carers. Website:

Autistic Family Collective Autistic Family Collective is a community of families advocating together for acceptance, support and inclusion for Autistic children in Australia.

Website: Facebook:

Rights in Action provides support and help to people with disabilities in Cairns, Yarrabah, Mareeba and Atherton.



The Cairns Community Legal Centre Inc is a not for profit community organisation that provides legal services and referral for the benefit of members of the community experiencing disadvantage. They are a FREE legal service for people with a disability who have been treated unfairly or discriminated against because of their disability. Offering legal advice and assistance in relation to disability discrimination complaints under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act or the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act. Community legal education and awareness-raising activities are also an important aspect of the DDLS. Website:

_________________________________________________________________________________________ The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (the DDA) makes it against the law to treat you unfairly because of your disability. You are also covered if you had a disability in the past, may develop a disability in the future or if people think you have a disability. People who are relatives, friends and carers of people with a disability are also protected by the DDA. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Local Support Groups ____________________________________________________________ The Mareeba Autism Support Group (MASG) has been going for 7 years; every first Thursday of the month we hold a meeting at Mareeba State Primary School 7.15pm. The group’s aim is to: 

Provide social, emotional and educational support to families with children with ASD.

Provide Information and Resources to families.

Exchange ideas and encourage service providers, organisations and families to work together

Providing information for those whose family member(s) have been diagnosed with ASD – to know where to go, who does what, how to access respite and who to make contact with when needing things done.

Ask questions, get support, share information and resources. (350+ members)

An email list helps to share information with relevant services/community groups/families/individuals.

Facebook: Email:

Encourage links between the group and schools

In the past the group has brought experts in the field of Autism to the Mareeba Community eg Autism Qld, Wendy Lawson, Tim Warnock.

Cairns Autism and Special Needs Support and Resources. A supportive facebook (closed) group of locals. A safe, private and friendly place to connect with other autism families in Far North Qld.

Contact is Rebecca Patterson on 0417 925 865 or as well as Kym Blackburn on 0429 496 911 or

Tableland Autism Support Group Group of local positive carers and educators who are looking to enhance the lives for those living with ASD. Facebook Group Facebook Community Page

Aspettes FNQ is designed for like minded women who are interested in sharing wisdom, experiences, thoughts and inspiration in a safe, positive, drama free zone. Facebook Group


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Weipa CapeAbility, Local Area Social and Support Group A support network of friends and families that are a part of the community of Weipa, Napranum and Mapoon under the Umbrella of Weipa Community Care Association, established in 2009. We are a family support group for parents and friends with or without a family member with a disability. The aim is to provide emotional support and to educate people about disabilities so we all can live and work in our community to the best of our ability. Weipa CapeAbility provides empathy, friendships and being understanding of people in a positive and safe environment. Weipa CapeAbility is a non-profit organization run by a group of volunteer parents who meet to have FUN. We are a group of individuals that when available share our time, ideas, information, laughter and keep an eye out for areas in the community where a voice needs to be heard on behalf of those who need a little extra help!

Local Area Coordinators Linking children with disability and their families in regional, rural and remote areas with supports and services relating to their individual needs and interests, including accessing visiting specialists. For more information on services and support in your area you can contact your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) on 1800 177 120 or at Funded by DCCS to support individuals and families with their community/specific area through disability support and information Atherton - Suzette Edge Tel: 4091 7799 Mobile: 0429 270 854 Cairns suburbs of Aeroglen, Stratford, Freshwater, Machans Beach, Holloways Beach and Yorkeys Knob - Colleen McRae, Tel: 4081 0817 Mobile: 0427 016 871 Northern Peninsula Area - Tailisa Yusia Tel: 4069 5604 Mobile: 0417 761 770 Cooktown - Barbara Leys, Tel: 4069 5604 Mobile: 0429 497 759 Mareeba - Michelle Best, Tel: 4092 2604 Mobile: 0407 177 914 Mua Island - Rita Kaitap, Tel: 4090 0544 Mobile: 0438 759 790 Mossman - Selina Maffey, Tel: 4098 2512 Mobile: 0409 495 592

We run FREE workshops through fund raising with guest presenters, such as Sue Larkey, get togethers, Christmas party, BBQ's and help support people around the community.

Innisfail - Anthony Cini, Tel: 4061 1836 Mobile: 0428 112 714

WEIPA CapeAbility: PO BOX 1050 Weipa, Qld 4874

Weipa - Tracey Jia, Tel: 4069 9896 Mobile: 0428 739 965

Sharon Carter. Mobile: 0428 290 540 Mitch Mc Court. Mobile: 0448 044 754 Emma Dalla Costa. Tel: (07) 4069 8282 Mitchi Moon. Tel: (07) 4069 7393

Yarrabah - Chrissy Warren, Tel: 4081 0817 Mobile: 0477 309 950

Tully - Alison Den-Hartog, Mobile: 0477 304 594 Thursday Island - Silvia Whittica, Tel: 4069 2829 Mobile: 0417 798 429


QDN is a statewide network of people with a disability, funded by the QLD Disability Community Care Services (DCCS). It's vision is to connect people with disability to build a voice of Queenslanders with disability to represent views and issues that impact on them.

Far North Queensland Regional Disability Council (FNQ RDA) Representing Cairns and FNQ and keep people updated with NDIS. They meet every 3 months in Cairns. For information about our local FNQ RDAC members who represent the region: Website:

Tel: (07) 3252 8566 or 1300 363 783 Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Useful Facebook Groups and Pages ____________________________________________________________ Resources For Special Needs Group. This facebook group has been developed over several years to the point where it reaches and assists over 12,000 mothers, carers, professionals and others involved with special needs around the world. Resources for Special Needs provides a single place to access advice, apps and the opportunity to participate by assisting others. This group is an illustration of the best in human behaviour. People who can help, do so. Everyone benefits.

Learning to Learn Group People with complex special needs require an individual learning regime. Parents and carers are best equipped to know what works for them. Our collective knowledge in an easy to navigate site may be very useful. You may feel new and have nothing to share: this is not true. Your questions will help others discover new thoughts and ideas about home educating their children. Your tips, your links to resources, etc will be useful to others. A feature of this group is that it values and respects diversity: we believe there is no one right way to home educate and that every individual family builds an educational experience to meet the needs of that family

Autism Discussion Page Bill Nason is a mental health professional, with a master’s degree in clinical psychology and more than 30 years of experience in treating individuals with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Over the years he began to specialise in autism spectrum disorders and developed a strong compassion for these children. In May of 2011 he started this Facebook page, which has now grown to 80,000 members. Through his articles and slide presentations members encouraged him to write a book, which he did, two of them. This page is a wonderful resource and support for many parents, children, teachers, professionals and people on the spectrum.

His books are a must read!


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Cairns Autism and Special Needs - Support and Resources. (Closed group) A supportive group for locals. A safe, private and friendly place to connect with other autism families in Far North Qld. Ask questions, get support, share information and resources. (350+ members) Facebook: Autism Parents Australia (Closed group) Autism Parents Australia was created for Australian Parents/Guardians of children on the Autism Spectrum to come together in a friendly, supportive place to share experiences & ideas. ASD Matters (Closed group) A group for families to socially network, that is full of information, lovely helpful and supportive members, it's a place to share experiences, ask questions, to just connect with other people in similar circumstances. Everyone enjoys this group the way it is, friendly, helpful, easy going and supportive. NDIS Grassroots Discussion (Closed group) A group for people with disabilities, family members and supporters to discuss the upcoming National Disability Insurance Scheme (DisabilityCare) and what we need from it to live full lives. Aussie Mums Raising ASD/Autism Children (Closed group) A chat group to share advice & info with other mums who raise children with asd/autism. Parents of teens with autism (Closed group) This is a group for parents who have teens with autism. It is a place to share questions, concerns and ideas that might be helpful to other parents with teens with autism. ASD Kidz & Familyz Inc. Second Hand Therapy/Sensory and Educational Items . (Closed group) For individuals to buy/sell second hand Therapy Items related to but not limited to ASD and other related conditions eg. Books, resources, sensory toys, therapy equipment and more. All welcome. From Behind The Cloud - kiwi families of children with ASD living in Oz (Closed group) This group has been set up for kiwi families of children with any ASD currently living in Australia. Our people often struggle with lack of support from government agencies and disability services because of their residency status. Our mission is to support and share information that others may or may not already know about receiving help while living in Australia. Homeschooling on the Spectrum (Qld Support Group for ASD Families) (Closed group) Homeschool help, advice and networking for those who homeschool children on the Spectrum. We are Queensland based. You must message them with a request to join.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Useful Websites ____________________________________________________________ Autcraft A whitelisted Minecraft server for children (and adults) that have autism and their families. What this means is that if you or a family member has autism and you own the computer version of Minecraft, you can register and apply to be put on the whitelist and play with other people just like you. Autcraft was created by Stuart Duncan (aka AutismFather in game) who not only has autism himself but also a child with autism as well. The server is administrated by adults that include autistics, parents of autistic children or a family member of someone with autism. There are also "Helpers" that include "jrhelpers" which are children that prove to be responsible, positive and helpful with people; and "srhelpers" which are adults that demonstrate some knowledge of the game as well as being respectful, responsible and helpful.

Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service that provides practical information and resources to support carers. The interactive service finder helps carers connect to local support services. A great place to start for support and services. Website:

Autism Awareness Our nation's largest not-for-profit organisations, dedicated to increasing education & understanding of ASD in our community. Website:

Website: Facebook: Whether you want information on visuals, sensory rooms, how to make a weighted lap bag, there are thousands of creative ideas to be discovered, the list is endless. Examples to search on Pinterest - sensory play, autism activities, sensory room, autism resources, sensory table ideas, home school ideas, social stories, pretend play, autism visuals just to name a few.

Brolly Sheets - Quality Waterproof bed linen to take the hassle out of a wet bed, plus clothing and chair protectors. Website:

BedSOK™ the first sleeping bag for beds. An all-in-one zip-up sheet set to keep children snug and secure all night long.

Autism on the Seas Autism on the Seas has been in collaboration with Royal Caribbean International since 2007 in developing cruise vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children with Special Needs, including, but not limited to, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and all Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Website:

The Measured Mom is an education website which supports teachers and parents with thoughtful articles and free printables. Website:



Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Lycra Sheets are a fitted sheet similar in shape to a sock, designed to slip over the entire mattress in addition to traditional bedding. They are effective in calming over-stimulated children at bedtime. They work in much the same way as the Sensory Body Socks. Website:

SparkleBox 1000s of FREE teaching resources, just browse, download and print.

School Mum is a website full of tips, tricks, advice and fun for School Mums by School Mums. Load of resources and information on parenting, school help, health, holidays, challenges, activities and competitions. Website:


Paging Fun Mums Replacing Insanity with FUN! Channel your inner crafter, photographer, cook, artist, decorator and designer and join us on the journey to being the funniest Mummy you can be!


Strider Sports Australia - (Balance bikes for older kids) Too often people with cognitive or developmental disabilities have been unable to ride a bike or have been told by doctors and other health care providers that they will never be able to ride a bike. With the proper bike and a proven method to learn, this is changing! Strider bikes have turned individuals with Down syndrome, autism, low muscle tone, poor balance, arthrogryposis, and cerebral palsy into bike riding enthusiasts!

Happy Hooligans Easy, inexpensive, crafts and activities for kids, as well as parenting topics and recipes for parents, teachers and carers. Website:


3 Dinosaurs Is a web site with free printables, trip reviews, and book activities for tots, preschoolers, kindergarten, first grade & second grade. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Children’s Social Skills Groups ____________________________________________________________ PlayConnect Playgroups are designed for families of children aged 0-6 years who have unique needs associated with having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or developmental delays in communication, behaviour or social skills. PlayConnect is a welcoming place and a great way for families to connect with others, share knowledge and experiences; make friends in an environment of fun and mutual understanding. PlayConnect is an early intervention strategy funded through the Australian Government Helping All Children with Autism Package. Children do not require a formal diagnosis or referral to come and enjoy all that PlayConnect has to offer. PlayConnect is a playgroup for the whole family and siblings and carers are also welcome and included at PlayConnect. Contact: Helen Porter, Mobile: 0401 290 836 Address: St Margaret's Anglican Church Hall 230 Aumuller Street Westcourt Day: Wednesdays, 9.30am - 11.30am Facebook:

Klever Kiddies occupational therapy offers group occupational therapy sessions which promote the development of social and emotional skills in a fun and supportive environment. Children are matched to groups according to their age, skill level and target areas for development. Each intervention session is designed with overarching group goals whilst also considering personal goals according to individual needs.

Facebook: Children

Cairns ASD Youth Group 12-16 years PCYC Autism Spectrum Youth Group. The group meets fortnightly during school terms on Friday nights. Participants enjoy a number of activities and excursions.

(Cairns) Secret Agent Society Social Skills Program

The Secret Agent Society (SAS) is an innovative, evidence-based program using games and activities to help children aged between 8 and 12 who need to improve their social and emotional skills. The cost of the group program is $1650. This covers the cost of the 11 group sessions (including the parent session and the three month follow up session). This amount can be paid upfront or a payment plan can be arranged (please contact Colahan Psychology to discuss this further).

The skill development of families who enroll in the Secret Agent Society is supported by the SAS Family Kit. This resource provides families with everything they need to participate in the SAS group social skills program and is purchased at the commencement of the program. The Family Kit can be purchased from Colahan Psychology at a cost of $320. For Information see

Colahan Psychology 28 Scott Street, Cairns QLD 4870 Tel: (07) 4031 0586

More info email:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Minecraft Camps Buddyverse provides a structured environment where kids can play Minecraft together, face to face, in a safe and friendly environment. Minecraft Camps are events where children aged 5 to 15 come together to play collaboratively and learn from each other on the world's best kid safe server, BuddyVerse. Each child has their own computer, and they are all participating in the same 'world', so they can collaborate and play together. These events are usually held in schools, Community Centres and Libraries in school holidays and on weekends. Website: Facebook:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Recommended Books The learning to get along series and books. The book series teaches young children how to deal with their emotions, make positive choices, solve problems, resolve conflicts, resist impulsive behavior, form relationships, work cooperatively, and more.

Also available in software.

When I'm Feeling Books By Trace Moroney. The When I’m Feeling series has been carefully designed to help children better understand their feelings and shares examples of ways to express those feelings in a way that is both appropriate and acceptable to themselves and others.

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone With Autism by Ellen Sabin is an activity book, a conversationstarter, and an educational tool that engages children in learning to embrace people's differences and treat others with respect, compassion, and kindness.. It teaches children about autism; helps them imagine how things might feel for those with autism, and lets them think of ways to be understanding and accepting to people with autism. Ideal for children 6-13 and classrooms and other group settings. Some Kids Have Autism (Understanding Differences) by Martha E. H. Rustad. Teach diversity and tolerance to young readers, and help them understand and appreciate those children who have health differences. Colorful photos show kids with disabilities enjoying activities with their peers.

My friend has autism by Amanda Doering Tourville. Using examples, this book explores some of the challenges and rewards of having a friend with autism. The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum (and their parents) by Elizabeth Verdick, This positive, straightforward book offers kids with autism spectrum disorders their own comprehensive resource for both understanding their condition and finding tools to cope with the challenges they face every day.

A Book About What Autism Can Be Like By Sue Adams. This fully-illustrated book is targeted at boys and girls aged 5+, and also serves as an excellent starting point for family and classroom discussions.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Recreation ____________________________________________________________ Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings EVENT Cinemas, Cairns City put on monthly events. Lights are dimmed throughout, no total darkness, sound is lowered, no booming bass, no lengthy previews, and movie starts on time. Children are free to move about from their seats as necessary. For upcoming sessions join

Jump Mania Trampoline Park - Cairns Cairns first trampoline park opened in mid 2015 and has transformed the entertainment and leisure activities industry in the region! Not only will Jump Mania have Olympic trampolines where you can perfect your aerial skills, there is also Cageball, Dodgeball, Basketball slamdunk and a dedicated area for the little ones. Website: Facebook:

Minecraft Camps are events held with 24 (sometimes more) children. Each child has their own computer, though they are all participating in the same ‘world’, so they can collaborate and play together. These events are usually held in schools in school holidays and on weekends. Join them on facebook or see their website for upcoming events near you, or suggest your school to them to host a camp. Website: Facebook:

Cairns ASD Youth Group 12 to 16 years age group Meet every 2nd Friday night during school terms at PCYC McNamara St, Manunda with some excursions. Cost involved. For more information contact Brigitte Email: Apply for a Sports Voucher (Qld) Eligible children and young people are provided with a voucher of up to $150 to help pay for club membership and/or participation fees. The vouchers can be redeemed at a sport or recreation club registered with the program. Website: ted

Pelicans in Paradise (Paradise Palms) Kids can have fun exploring the adventure playground. Great local discount rates. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Cairns Kids Activities Are you looking for something fun to do with your kids in the Cairns area? Made by parents, for parents, Cairns Kids Activities is designed for local families, visiting families, and those just moving to the area. Here you have a wealth of local knowledge at your fingertips.

Cairns Local Tourism Deals & Specials all in one place! Reef & Island Tours, Attractions, Restaurants. Up to 50% off for locals! Website: Facebook:

Website: Facebook:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Autism Assistance Dogs ____________________________________________________________ Public-Access Certified Autism Assistance Dogs are available from the following organisations: The Association of Australian Assistance Dogs North Queensland Inc. is a charitable organisation dedicated to the training and promotion of accredited Assistance Dogs for people with a disability. ASDOGS (NQ) Inc. Address: PO Box 2052 Mareeba, Queensland, 4880 Phone: 07 40923344 Email:

Smart Pups are based Sunshine Coast, Qld – will accept applications from Qld, NSW and ACT.

Righteous Pups are based Bendigo, Vic – will accept applications from anywhere in Australia.

Guide Dogs Qld are based Brisbane, Qld - currently assessing the results of their pilot program but accepting expressions of interest. Canine Helpers is a community support organisation that provides assistance to people with a disability through the training and placement of different types of assistance dogs, including: - Service Dogs for people with physical disabilities; - Therapy Dogs for people with many other types of disabilities

mindDog assists mental health sufferers to procure, train and certify psychiatric service dogs. These dogs assist people with mental health disorders whose lives are often severely compromised by anxiety and fear.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Assistance Dogs Australia PAWS (Parents Autism Workshops and Support) brings together parents of children with autism, to share experiences and explore the potential that a pet dog might have within the family.

Aussie Angels Assistance Dogs is a registered Charity run by a dedicated group of volunteers who are committed to improving quality of life for diabetics Adults and children who endure loss of mobility due to accident or physical conditions; to children who are fall within the autism spectrum, and also specially trained Therapy Dogs A.W.A.R.E Dogs Australia Inc AWARE Dogs is a not-for-profit registered charity whose mission is to facilitate the use of all types of assistance & therapy dogs for the education, rehabilitation, healing, and aid of distressed, ill, or disabled individuals. This intercession helps the person to lead a fuller life with a greater degree of independence and well-being. AWARE Dogs delivers its services nationally throughout Australia.

Many families who would like a Public Access Certified dog but find the thought of so much fundraising daunting, as cost can be around $15,000, especially while still caring for their children with ASD. An alternative is to arrange to train and certify a pet, rescue dog or ex-show dog. In Queensland, the list of approved training institutions and trainers can be found here - Trainer Craig Murray doesn’t certify any dogs he hasn’t raised and trained himself, but his assistance dogs are free Another option for an assistance dog (though not Public Access Certified) is a companion/therapy dog. All of the organisations listed above, as well as Assistance Dogs Australia, Canine Helpers for the Disabled Tameruke Labradoodles Mind Dog provide these dogs – often they are dogs who have been through the training required for Public Access Certification, but didn’t succeed in passing their Public Access Test.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Sexuality, Continence and Sleep ____________________________________________________________ Separate books - Special Boys’ Business™ and Special Girls’ Business™ is a puberty resource written for boys and girls with special needs, including: Intellectual disability, Physical disability, Communication disorder and Autism As sex education is an important aspect of a child’s development, the authors have written and published a series of puberty books to prepare and support boys and girls for puberty. These sexuality education books have simple language, accurate information and fun illustrations which girls and boys will enjoy. The books are easy to understand, provide practical information and have attractive illustrations to help girls and boys manage this stage of their life with confidence. Website:

Continence Advisory Service Qld is based in Brisbane. Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) Prescribing medical aids and equipment such as Communication aids, continence aids, daily living aids For guidelines and how to apply see Website: and click on 'Prescribing medical aids and equipment'. Continence Aids Payment Scheme - (CAPS) (Commonwealth) Eligibility criteria listed on website for product subsidy about $530 per year is available to assist families with meeting the cost of continence products for their children. Website: and search ‘CAPS’.

Sleep clinics in Cairns: please ask your Child Health Nurse, GP or paediatrician for a referral and further information. Melatonin and Circadin are also widely used to assist with sleep onset in children with autism. Please discuss with your General Practitioner to see if appropriate for your child. Sleep Right Sleep Tight Based in Kuranda. Autism Sex Education Loads of resources here.


Works with parents one on one or in a group setting when their children aren't sleeping.

How It Is

Tanya's passion and profession is helping parents develop customised plans for solving child sleep problems.

An image vocabulary for children about feelings, rights and safety, personal care and sexuality.

With a couple of different packages available, Tanya offers free 15-minute consultations to discuss options.



Website: Facebook:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook A great set of male/female puberty books by Autism Agony Aunt, Kate E Reynolds What's Happening to Ellie? A Book About Puberty for Girls and Young Women With Autism and Related Conditions

What's Happening to Tom? A Book About Puberty for Boys and Young Men With Autism and Related Conditions

OTHER TITLES INCLUDE: Things Ellie Likes - A book about sexuality and masturbation for girls and young women with autism and related conditions Ellie Needs to Go - A book about how to use public toilets safely for girls and young women with autism and related conditions Things Tom Likes - A book about sexuality and masturbation for boys and young men with autism and related conditions Tom Needs to Go - A book about how to use public toilets safely for boys and young men with autism and related conditions

Sexuality and relationships for teenagers with autism spectrum disorder. Teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop sexually and have romantic feelings just as other children their age do. You can help your child understand his feelings and behave appropriately by giving clear explanations of sex, sexuality and relationships.

Website: er_sexuality_relationships_teenagers.html


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Training, Workshops and Seminars ____________________________________________________________ “The key is to prepare for the process as well as you can. When you come across a challenge, try to stay positive, keep asking questions and focus on what you can do next or learn next to help things along”. (from

Sue Larkey

Early Days Online Workshops (Contact Autism Qld for upcoming workshops)

An Australian teacher and author with extensive experience and research into education for kids with autism. Delivers seminars Nationwide.

Early Days provides free workshops for parents and carers of children with ASD or suspected ASD. You can do online workshops in your own time or attend one-day workshops. Tel: (07) 4034 6600 Early Days online workshops can be accessed at:



Dr Tony Attwood Positive Partnerships Evidence-based materials and practical resources published online and delivered nationally through training for teachers and other school staff, and workshops for parents and carers of primary school aged children with autism.

International authority on Aspergers Syndrome. Website:

Dr Wenn Lawson


(previously known as Wendy)

A published psychologist, parent to four children and has autism spectrum condition, Wendy travels internationally to deliver workshops on autism.


Nelle Frances A parent, author and educator who focuses on sensorytriggered behaviour on individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Delivers workshops inter/nationally. Website:

          

Compass covers a wide range of topics that affect young people today including some of the following: - Autism and Aspergers - Attachment Difficulties - Anxiety and Depression - Brain Development and Neuroscience - Challenging Behaviours - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - Self harm and Suicide - Solution Focused Interventions - Trauma

We use trainers who are the best in the field from across Australia and the world. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

behaviour ____________________________________________________________ Stepping Stones Triple P gives you tips and strategies to manage the big and small problems of family life. It helps encourage behaviour you like, cope with stress and teach your child new skills. Supermarket meltdowns? Mealtime tantrums? Bedtime battles? When you’re the parent or caregiver of a child with a disability, sometimes life can be extra challenging. That’s why the Stepping Stones Triple P Project is currently offering parents in Queensland and Victoria free parenting support. Website:

The RAP Parent Program (RAP-P) The Resourceful Adolescent Program - Parent Program (RAP-P) was developed to help parents promote the optimal family environment for healthy adolescent development. More specifically, the program addresses known family protective factors for adolescent depression and suicide and is designed as an early intervention program. It is generally run in communities through Queensland Health or Education Queensland. Website:

Cool Little Kids Online is a free online program for Australian parents of shy or anxious young children aged 3 to 6 years It is a parenting program that aims to increase the confidence of young children, so that they have fewer anxiety problems as they grow. Cool Little Kids Online is adapted from the Cool Little Kids group parenting program, which has been safely and effectively used in Australia for over 10 years. Parents have found it helpful for improving young children’s fear and anxiety about: •Saying hello/goodbye •Separating from parents (e.g. at preschool) •Playing with unfamiliar people (e.g. playdates, parties) •Trying new activities (e.g. swimming lessons) •Going to sleep Website:

Headspace Cairns Headspace is the National youth mental health foundation. They are all about helping young people in the Cairns area who are going through a tough time. Website: Facebook:

Bullying. No Way! Bullying. No Way! is a resource created by Australia's educational communities as well as students, staff, parents, agencies, education officers and community members. It is intended to support young people to be safe, supported, respected, valued - and free from bullying, violence, harassment and discrimination. The Bullying. No Way! website contains information and support for students on how to handle situations of bullying. For more information see


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook A Friendship Circle eBook Free download (PDF File) A Crash Course in Meltdown Management Behaviour is communication, and every meltdown happens for a reason. Sometimes the stimulus is external, such as a change in routine or environment, and sometimes internal, such as physical or emotional discomfort. It can take quite a bit of detective work to uncover the cause for a meltdown, especially when a person is nonverbal or has limited use of language. Misinformation about meltdowns is plentiful, but with practice, meltdowns can become less frequent, less intense and shorter in duration. Download to read more

Fantastic idea for distraction for immunizations ..... or any needles! BUZZY is a small vibrating bee with blue ice-pack wings. He helps block sharp pain and provides distraction when giving injections to children. Buzzy confuses your body’s own nerves and distracts attention away from the pain, thereby dulling or eliminating sharp injection pain. In the same way that rubbing a bumped elbow helps, or cool running water soothes a burn. Website:

Sensory Clothing (Australian shops) 

An Australian business selling welldesigned, simple products that make life easier every day for people with sensitivities. Website:

Calming Clothing for kids have designed and produced an innovative range of garments for children with Sensory Processing Disorders such as those experience by children with Autism. Website: hing

Weighted Vests, Blankets and other Therapy Products for those with special needs. Website:

A small range of Calming Clothing for kids Website:

Founded to make undergarments - socks, underwear, bralette, compresso-T - more tolerable. Truly seamless! Website:

JettProof Calming Sensory Clothing to assist children with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Asperger. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Fits easily into most adult shoes and let you monitor the whereabouts of loved ones who may have a tendency to wander or at risk of becoming disoriented and lost. No need for them to remember to carry a separate tracking device, just slip on their shoes and go – like they normally would. Seamless and effortless. You can track their location through any smartphone, tablet or web browser, set up SMS text and e-mail alerts if they leave or enter defined areas on a map. Website:



Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Visual Communication Aids & Resources ____________________________________________________________ Disclaimer: Products listed here are for information purposes only. I am not a professional Occupational Therapist or Speech Language Pathologists, just a parent with two special needs kids.


Boardmaker Software - create Visual-PCS Cards, onscreen activities by adding voice, sound, animation and video. Website:

Find Activities and Boards at Boardmaker Share Mayer-Johnson's board sharing/community site, must have Boardmaker to use the files. Need help or want to share files see

Tutorial on how to make one here

PODD stands for: Pragmatic – the ways that we use language socially Organisation – words and symbols arranged in a systematic way Dynamic Display – changing pages. Works in with Boardmaker software (above) Website:

How It Is

Mrs. Riley helps professionals, teachers, and parents collaboratively make pages of picture cards. If you've ever made a picture card with a custom image yourself, you know that it can be tedious. They've wrapped the entire process into a single online application with these goals:   

An image vocabulary for children about feelings, rights and safety, personal care and sexuality.

Easier - Designed to make simple tasks simple. Faster - Sharing is built right in so it's often a matter of search and print. Cheaper - Pay for only what you need.




Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Grocery and Toys PECS A large collection (over 3200) of realistic pictures designed to improve the shopping experience for families with children with autism and communication difficulties. Website:

Toy PECS are a large collection (over 1300) of realistic picture exchange communication symbols. They are designed to assist children with autism and communication difficulties who use the picture exchange communication system (PECS). Website:

Picto-Selector is a windows application for creating visual schedules. It is used by many teachers and parents. The download contains over 28000 pictos (images) and it's all Free to use. Website:

Off We Go! Visual stories from the Off We Go! series are great! They are available as free download, just fill out your details on their quick form. Also sell hardcopy series of books. (Plane and Dentist stories now available on itunes). •Going to a Birthday Party •Going to Buy Clothes •Going to Buy Shoes •Going to the Cinema •Going to the Dentist •Going to the Doctor •Going to the Hairdresser •Going to the Optician •Going on a Plane •Going to a Restaurant •Going to the Supermarket


Visuals (or pictures) are a great tool for seeing and understanding. This is a fantastic place to start if you are new to the world of visual aids for your child. Lots of freebies. Free Downloads! Website:

Sample of a Schedule or timetable for the home These can be purchased at PECS Australia Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Do-N-Slide™ Picture To-Do Lists teach your child organisation and sequencing skills with visual prompts they can slide from from "to do"to "all done.

ASD Visual Aids Product range which consist of ‘Visual Symbols’ and stories to help in social situations, timetable boards, key chains, stress balls, stickers, and traffic lights along with other communication tools.

"Their very own Visual Schedule provides planned activities or sequences in pictures, ordered the way things should happen.


Sandbox Learning - Social Stories Customise the illustrations to the child's appearance based on gender, Website: hairstyle and color, eye color, skin tone, glasses, and method of communication. Our collection of children's stories addresses emotional, social, safety, and communication skills to foster character development. Lots of choices for social stories. Website:

For high quality pecs cards, always 100% free! Augmentative Resources Best and biggest catalogue full of amazing products!

My PECS is your free resource to an extensive library of professional and high quality PECS cards and symbols. Search our catalog to get started. Website:

Magnetic Visual Schedules Website:

FREE Visual Engine - a tool for creating visual support. The visuals engine will help you build visual supports and sequences for your child. Very simple to use, and can save your 'board's to your device as a PDF.


SchKIDules are personalized visual schedule systems designed to communicate a routine, sequence, activity or transition to a child. Website:

PCS Downloads Basic / beginners pictures



Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Folder Stories Free, printable "folder stories." Simple one page social stories that teach appropriate social skills and behavior.

Website: http://www.filefolderheaven.c om/autism-tasks/folder-stories Facebook:

GoTalk Communication Device Series GoTalks are battery powered augmentative / alternative communication (AAC) devices used by people who cannot communicate well by speaking. An overlay of pictures (or words or symbols) is created. The overlay is slid into the GoTalk, and then the user can “talk” simply by pressing on a picture to play a message. This allows users – maybe for the first time – to communicate quickly and easily just by pressing a button.

Teachers Pay Teachers

Such a valuable resource, if you haven't signed up already, do so ! The World's First Open Marketplace for Teacher-Created Resources. Lots of freebies, Other resources, very cheap! Visuals, social stories ... Website: Facebook: Website:

An abundance of information - communication boards, social stories and visuals Website: - Discover The Exciting Way Your Therapy Sessions Can instantly Become more fun for your child & easier to manage for you using colorful & heavy-duty speechpages! Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Research __________________________________________________________ Telethon Kids Institute The Autism Research Team at the Telethon Kids Institute, led by Professor Andrew Whitehouse, investigates the genetic and neurobiological causes of autism, and conducts clinical intervention trials. To participate please contact: Tel: (08) 9489 7777 Email: Website:

Autism CRC The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) is the world’s first national, cooperative research effort focused on taking a “whole-of-life” approach to autism focusing on diagnosis, education and adult life. The Curtin University Autism Research Group (CARG), are leading Program 3, which focuses on finding supportive transitions from school to post school options, and education barriers that individuals on the autism spectrum face. If you would like to help email Website:


Free Apps - Useful FREE apps by the Qld Government for: Sightwords Queensland Schools ReadyQld, Language development Tips and advice about bullying Social and emotional skills and more! Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Home Sensory Ideas __________________________________________________________ A sensory room is an environment designed to develop people's sense. It can be used as a therapy for children with limited communication skills. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) may have trouble processing one or more senses. Creating a sensory room to balance between relaxation and activity within the framework of a safe, adapted environment designed to stimulate senses such as feel, vision, sound, smell and taste, usually through special lighting, music, and objects. Products shown here are just some examples on what you can use in a sensory room. Bubble Column

Privacy Pop

Mood LED Cube Seats

The Privacy Pop is a unique bed tent designed to provide a snug fit around the bed for maximum privacy and seclusion from any unwanted distractions. 1.4m ones are around $120

The Dark Den

Ocean Wave Projector

Mirrored Ball Set

Also comes in large size, 'Mega giant dark den'. It also has built in speakers. From $14 on eBay There is another one called Aurora Wave - that has 7 colours.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Disco Ball

Plasma Ball

Lava Lamp

Projecting Galaxy Star Light

Colour Change light bulb

Rope Lights

$5 on eBay, $10 in Kmart.

$5 eBay - $20+ in supermarkets, Bunnings etc.

Bunnings - Lytworx 6m LED Multi Coloured Festive Rope Light $24.90.

Boon Glo Nightlight With Portable Balls

DIY Bubble Column Platform

LED Net Lights -For Wall Or Ceiling

How to make one


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Sensory Bags

Fairy Lights

Loads of ideas on Pinterest on how to make different sensory bags.

Very cheap on eBay.

Interlocking Soft Foam Mats/Tiles

Floor Pillow Or Crash Mat

Pillow Pets (some a glowing ones)

Lock Board

You can put poly pellets in these and turn them into weighted lap pillows.

Make one yourself.



Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook LED Light Spinning Wand

Jumbo Water Snakes

Busy Board

Unlimited on what you can create, DIY. Search for ideas

Vibrating Massage Tools

Rain Maker Toys

Other vibrating plush toys, balls also make fun

Neck Wrap Animal Pillow

You can put polly pellets in these and turn them into weighted items also

Lakeshore Giant Sight And Sound Tubes

Howdahug chair

Sensory Bins

Or search for ' Primary Science Sensory Tubes' and you can add your own items in.

A HowdaHUG chair provides extra vestibular movement for children that require a rocking motion when seated on the floor or chair. It curves around the back which allows the seat to hug the body.

Great list here y-table.html Or look at and search Sensory bins.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Bubble Machine

Balll Pit

Have A Sensory Hamper

Get one that is mains powered. Much better than the kmart $10-20 Battery operated ones. eBay - $20-30

... or use a hard-plastic kids pool. 100 Pack of Play Plastic Balls, Kmart $13.00

Cheap discount shops such as The Reject Shop has lots of sensory fidget toys.

Space Hopper Ball

Glow In The Dark Sensory Box

Peanut Gym Ball

Gym Mats

Pillow Bed

No Sew, Teepee

How to make one

How to make one …


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Mocka Teepee

Scooter Board

Lycra Cloud Or Morph Suits

Google 'DIY scoter board' very easy to make your own with padding on top.

Action Junior Jumper Mini Trampoline

Classroom Display Fish Net

Room Wall And Floor Padding

Hang danlges off it such as blank CD's

BIg W and Kmart sells them for $40

$27 at Hop

Water Led Speakers

Bright Light Pillow Starlight / Moonlight Cushion

Reject Shop, Big W eBay sells them $20-40

Big W and The Reject shops sells them

DIY Light Box

How to make one l


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Swivel Chair - IKEA

Jigsaw Softie Mirrors

Pod Swing Chair / Indoor Outdoor Hanging Seat Hammock

eBay $50-60 Swinging develops the sense of balance and body perception. It also brings a feeling of well-being and relaxation.

Fibre Optic Lamp

Oggz - Electronic Eggs

Ocean Aquarium simulated tropical fish tank light

BigW now has a LED changing eggs (cheaper version) in stock and are rechargeable.

My Cotton Cubby

These are fantastic if you have limited space in your home. Just throw one over your dining table.

Smellems Bubbles

Make a Face Stress Ball

Made in kuranda


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook Pin Art

LED Foam Sticks

Light Up Glitter Balls

Around 70cents each on eBay

Other Bedroom Ideas IKEA KURA Reversible Bed & Tent

Tikk Tokk Pokano Dark Den Large

Rainbow Bed Canopy


Lego Feature Wall

DIY Magnetic Board

Use an oil drip pan or there are these Magnetic boards from IKEA

Hanging Decorations

Type in hanging decorations in eBay and you have 6,000 to chose from!


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook (Ok, these beds are expensive, not on a 'budget' but worth a mention.)

Noahs Bed

This bed is made in the USA, but it gives you an idea on what you can make yourself.

'The Safespace'

Safe Surround Plus Bed

Safety and certainty for both the user and the carer, the Safe Surround Plus bed provides a safe environment for active people with challenging behavior.

Fiber Optic Star Carpets

Weighted Blanket

Also can be known as Milky Way Carpets, or Sparkle Rugs. These go from $1500-2500 in Sensory shops, but only (approx) $200 on eBay

Sensory World Sensory House: A virtual house and garden to explore, filled with interactive activities aimed at older students with disabilities learning independent living skills. In the kitchen they learn how to plan and budget for meals, in the bathroom they think about health and hygiene; they can explore the garden through the seasons, create an ambiance in the sensory room, make music or furnish the lounge. Sounds, symbols and flashing signs guide you through the activities using a mouse or switches. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Sensory, Fidget, Educational and Therapy Products Australian websites

To source and supply the best products to support educators in homes, childcare centres, preschools, early learning centres, playgroups, special schools, primary schools, toy libraries, hospitals, and the general public Website:

Sensamart is committed to providing high quality products that aim to fulfill the needs of special needs children that impact on and individuals ability to feel safe, calm and secure Website:

From puzzles to science, music to mathematics and craft to construction, we have over 7,500 toys and educational resources guaranteed to entertain and challenge young minds. Website:

My Diffability Australia is an online supplier of toys and resources for people with different abilities. Website:

Inclusion, independence and fun! Website:

Awesome Autism Resources at an Affordable Price. Website: m

Stocks resources from pre-school to university with the accent upon the early years and primary schooling. Website:

Educational Resources for Schools and The Early Years Website:

Australia's largest supplier of educational resources Website:

Sensory Matters has a wide array of unique, mostly handmade resources to benefit children and adults with special needs Website:

Products range is broad to encompass the needs of Mathematics, Literacy, Art & Craft, Developmental Toys, Puzzles, Outdoor Play Equipment, Games, Music & Dance, Babies & Toddlers, Sand & Water Play plus much more. Website:

An abundance of products available. Website:


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

The Toy Bug - for fun Educational and Sensory Toys! Website:

Providing tools to help children and adults with learning and communication difficulties, these resources help those interact and communicate with others. Website:

Products that lead the field in supporting children “from the inside out” Website:

Variety of special needs resources and good quality environmentally friendly wooden games and toys for all families and teachers to enjoy. Website:

Providing supplies for parents, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Physiotherapists, Teachers and other allied health professionals or just to people wanting to have a little fun with sensory toys Website:

Stylish, FUNctional jewellery, designed to look amazing, while discreetly serving your child's need to chew. Website:

Pencil Grips Plus we specialise in a range of pencil grips plus other innovative products that you can use within the home, classroom, or office. Website:

Peppertown has the largest retail selection of playground accessories (slides, forts, swings plus much more) at competitive prices and we ship anywhere. Website:

Celebrating their 27th year in the business they have a wealth of resources to help children meet the challenges of learning. Website:

APPS - Websites To Follow 90

Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

__________________________________________________________ Features Free and Discounted Apps, Promo Codes and Giveaways

Follow them on Facebook to get their daily deals and free apps straight to your newsfeed. 'Free App Friday' is the best day of the week. Friendship Circle - Special Needs Apps. With over a thousand apps now available to help individuals with special needs it has become increasingly difficult to find and choose the right special needs app.

App Crawlr AppCrawlr uses a new method to combine advanced data mining and statistical modeling technologies to provide users with the most relevant and trusted recommendations for searching and discovering apps.

The iMums Kids app & product reviews, news, interviews, articles and giveaways! Follow their facebook page, where the post a huge list of paid apps that has gone free on special daily.

Smart Apps for Android Keep an eye out each week for 'Free App Friday' for Android

Smart Apps for Special Needs A resource of special needs families, teachers and therapists.

AppShopper is one of the largest iPhone, iPad, and Mac app directories attracting hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month.

Smart Apps for Kids

Which kids apps are the best? Which of the freebies are good? Where can I find an app for this subject? We can help. Lots of top 20-50-100 best of lists to choose from.

The official free AppShopper Social app is available in the App Store. This keeps you up to date on the newest App Store apps, sales and freebies. Organize apps in your own customized Wishlist and automatically get notified via push notifications when there's a sale or update.

AppAble As parents of Special Needs Children we know how difficult it can be to find the right app for your child. We hope to make this a little easier for you all by providing reviews and also showcasing the Developers who make the apps.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, do it now! This particular board is created by a Speech Language Pathologist/Augmentative Communication Consultant and Assistive Technology Consultant Lauren Enders. Lauren's done all the hard work for us, listing apps in categories in subject order, I guarantee you will find what you are looking for, and will save you hours searching for the right app. Website:

Another great board is Speechie Freebies

Search on Pinterest such as - sensory play, autism activities, sensory room, autism resources, sensory table ideas, home school ideas, social stories, pretend play, autism visuals just to name a few.


Worth mentioning ... The Mighty League Vol 1 - The Terrible Taunting - A Blackfish Children's Book By Customizabooks LLC

Free App ABOUT THIS APP: This INTERACTIVE storybook app is based on the real JMan, Jonathan Murphy, and his REAL LIFE adventures growing up with ASPERGER’S SYNDROME. Written by his sister, Molly Murphy, and narrated by Jonathan himself, the story is told by someone who sees his world from a very unique perspective. It promotes SELF-ACCEPTANCE, AWARENESS, and an UNDERSTANDING for others who are different. "An EXCELLENT BOOK for EVERYONE that promotes awareness of autism and Asperger's Syndrome, encourages acceptance and understanding, and talks about tools that those in the spectrum can use to manage their day." - The iMums 5 out of 5 Stars. It's FREE


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Autism Awareness - Media __________________________________________________________ A few great videos explaining Autism, great for friends, carers, grandparents, teachers.. (note if video clips have been moved, just type in the heading in for another source.)

Nick has Autism. A kid-friendly animation that focuses on a boy with autism named Nick. It teaches children that students with autism may think differently or need some accommodations, but all students are of equal worth and should be treated as such. To view in YouTube go to :

Marvelous Max is a 3 minute animated video for Primary School kids. The aim of the video is to create more awareness of autism spectrum disorder. To view in YouTube go to :

Understanding Autism by Autism Queensland. A short film to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families understand and recognise the early signs of Autism. This film is an initiative of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer Program funded by the Department of Social Services as part of the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) program.

'Living with Autism: Ky’s Story'. The short film created by Griffith Film School and LiveLab students features renowned Australian actor Hugo Weaving and his 16-year-old nephew, Ky Greenwood, who has autism spectrum disorder. (4 minutes) To view this in YouTube go to :

To view this in YouTube go to :


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Just Like You - Autism launches an exciting campaign that calls our communities, our kids and the world to learn, understand and accept those living with autism. (20mins) To view this in YouTube go to :

Be Like Buddy™ Autism Videos Autism teaching videos, visual schedules and behaviour modelling stories for children on the autism spectrum hosted by BUDDY, the most energetic, fun and lovable puppet ever!!! Created by the parent of a child with autism. Each video in the Be Like Buddy™ series is available for immediate download with a corresponding visual schedule and storybook for printing!


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Libraries __________________________________________________________ Playgroup Queensland Toy Libraries offers a wide range of toys and equipment for use in playgroup sessions and at home. For more details on becoming a member in regarding Toy Libraries or Playgroup QLD playgroups in your area please contact the Cairns Office on (07) 4041 5574 or contact the State Office Toll Free 1800 171 882. Venues for Playgroup QLD Toy Libraries in the Far North Region are: PCYC, 91-97 McNamara Street, Manunda Lions Park, Corner of Robert Street & Louise Street, Atherton


ARC toy library and Resource Centre Children and young people (aged 0 to 18) who have a disability can use the Toy Library and Resource Centre. Parents, therapists, teachers, carers and any professional working with children and young people who have a disability. Adults with a disability may use the service, where appropriate. Please contact us to enquire. Offering stocks toys and education resources across the following learning areas:       

Fine motor development Gross motor development Sensory awareness and stimulation Social skills Thinking and problem solving skills Numeracy and literacy development Speech and language development

An educational advisor is on hand to help you choose, or you are welcome to browse the shelves in your own time. Mobile service to regional areas of Far North Queensland also available. Access to the ARC Toy Library and Resource is via payment of a yearly membership fee. Please contact ARC for current membership rates. Tel: (07) 4046 3600 Email: Web: Facebook: Address: 92 Little St, Manunda 4870


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Magazines, Books and Journals __________________________________________________________ Australia's first magazine for parents, carers and professionals creating positive outcomes for children with special needs. Source Kids is a free publication. Website: Facebook: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (JKP) Independent UK based publisher specialising in autism. Website: Footprint Books Australian publisher and supplier of JKP and other autism books. Website: Autism Aspergers Digest American bi-monthly magazine created to meet the needs of teachers, therapists and family members who face the challenge of autism. Website:

Fantastic Resource! - Special Needs Toy Guide E-Book To help you find the right the right toy for your child with special needs Friendship Circle has launched a new e-book called Toys: A comprehensive guide to finding the right toy for your child with special needs. The purpose of this e-book is to narrow down the field of infinite toys to those which successfully target special interests and emerging skills. Here you’ll find tried-and-true toys and activities recommended by experienced therapists and parents – yes, even toys for children who refuse to play with toys, or children who prefer to spend hours each day watching objects spin. Download at


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Understanding the spectrum – a comic strip explanation Credit to Author Rebecca Burgess and permission to be shared.


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

Help-lines __________________________________________________________ Autism Advisory and Support Service (Australia wide) Tel: 1300 222 777 - 24 hour Autism Hotline eHeadspace Online chat and telephone support at eHeadspace Web: Cairns details: Carers Advisory Service Tel: 1800 242 636 - This service is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm Web: Parenting Qld Line Tel: 1300 30 1300 - 7 days a week, between 8am and 10pm. Web: MensLine Australia Tel: 1300 789 978 - 24 hours, 7 days Web: Child safety service centres Tel: 1300 684 062 - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of usual business hours, the Child Safety After Hours Service Centre: Telephone: (07) 3235 9999 Freecall:1800 177 135 (Queensland only) Web: Kids Helpline Tel: 1800 55 1800 - (free call except from some mobile phones) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25 years. Web: Beyond Blue Tel: 1300 224 636 - Information and referral for depression and anxiety. Web: Lifeline Crisis Support Line Tel: 13 11 14 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week The Family Relationship Advice Line Tel: 1800 050 321 - 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday, and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday (local time), except national public holidays. No call is considered trivial!


Cairns, Qld • Autism Parents’ Handbook

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Publication of this handbook was proudly supported by Jacqui Little, resources extraordinaire and facebook group creator and other admins from Resources for Special Needs - Australia

Our grateful thanks for helping this Cairns Autism Parents Handbook reach the Far North Queensland families and health and education professionals supporting families affected by autism.


Cairns Autism Parents Handbook 2016 Edition