Some Practical Ideas…

When I put the words ‘…how to help a family with…’ into the Google search engine it dropped down to eight suggestions to complete that sentence.  These were depression, cancer, alcoholism, drug addiction, bipolar disorder, mental illness, gambling addiction and schizophrenia. I was interested to see what the ideas were for helping families with some of these conditions.

They included things like clean their house, offer to help out with the other children, bring a meal, send cards and emails, call and ask how they are doing, be there to listen if they need to talk, don’t fade out over time, find out what the child likes and give them a gift, have a coffee with them, ask how you could help, keep offering your help even if they refuse at first. 

All these ideas are perfectly lovely and helpful for families who are raising a child with a disability.

When it comes to autism I really do think it’s nice to just ask Mom/Mum and Dad how they are, and how their child is doing.  If they have other children ask about them too.  If the parents want to talk about the topic of autism then they can, but if they don’t then they can just say how things are going with their child or children in general.  Either way, just listen and be interested. If appropriate, go ahead and offer some words of acknowledgement or validation that things have been and can be challenging. 

Tell Mom/Mum and Dad they are doing a good job.  Say something nice about their children.  Say something nice about their child with autism.  Be encouraging. Show compassion. Be a nice person. It does help.

Happy Autism Awareness…and Acceptance…Day.

If you want more info on this topic please refer to a wonderful article by Kymberly Grosso on the link below.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/autism-in-real-life/201101/10-things-you-can-do-help-family-affected-autism

My list of helpful autism related resources in W.A.

Today is about listing some of the help that’s available in WA for autism and disability in general.  I have a spunky four year old son with autism.  Hopefully this info helps your family or a family you know.

1. The first one is applying for the Centrelink Carers Allowance.  If eligible your family will receive a fortnightly allowance or a Health Care Card (or both).  The Health Care Card also entitles your family to other benefits.   ttp://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/carer-allowance

2. Check out the Disability Services Commission website and find your Local Area Co-ordinator (LAC).  Ask your LAC to direct you to respite services, government grants and other community based resources including support networks.  There are other resources listed on this website that may be useful for you too. http://www.disability.wa.gov.au/publication/lacsupport.html

3. Having a Companion Card means the carer of the child/person with the disability gets in for free (at participating organisations). The places I use my card in WA include Scitech, Caversham Wildlife Park, AQUA, and the movies.   http://www.wa.companioncard.asn.au/

4. There are rebates and concessions available on your Synergy account. These come via having a Centrelink Health Care Card.  You need to ask.  http://www.synergy.net.au/at_home/concessions_and_rebates.xhtml

5. If you want to meet people who are on a similar journey to yourself and your family then you could visit the Kilparrin drop in centre at PMH or check out their informative website.  Also Carers WA has support groups and affordable counselling available. http://www.kalparrin.org.au/ and http://www.carerswa.asn.au

6. Besides word of mouth, another way to find autism service providers is to call an Autism Association of WA Advisor.  I believe that they are not meant to tell you who to go to, but they can email you a list of service providers in your area.  Sometimes when the list is long, I choose three providers, give them a call and find which one I ‘click with’ best over the phone.

http://www.autism.org.au/services-we-provide/autism-advisor-program/default.aspx

7. Medicare entitlements.  It’s a drop in the ocean but it’s better than nothing.  What you are entitled to can be confusing and complicated. Plus it can be a moving target.  Having an informed GP, and an informed paediatrician is extremely useful. It always helps to be informed and keep up to date yourself.

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-medicare-health_pro-gp-pdf-allied-cnt.htm

8. I have been able to access for my child discounted nappies and a discounted mattress protector through the program below.

http://www.independenceaustralia.com/health-solutions/products-services/continence-aids-assistance-scheme/

Being informed has been a key for me.  Then I can ask for what I need and what my son needs with confidence.  Its not always been easy to find out what is out there, let alone fill in the paperwork!  Hopefully my list helps you or someone you know a little…