Zac’s a happy kid who loves swimming & soccer. He’s come a long way since his parents felt scared about his autism diagnosis
Moving house can be a stressful experience for any family.
For the Klassens, the transition from Sydney to Melbourne came with the added concern about how their children would settle into an unfamiliar environment.
Parents Christy and Damien were acutely aware that 12-year-old autistic son Zac, who attends Yarraville Special Development School, would need extra support if he were to feel happy and secure in his new home.
“It is a challenging time,” Christy explains.
“I needed information about speech (pathology), occupational therapy, sport, family associations, what to do in Melbourne in relation to the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).
“When we were making the move to Melbourne I was told to contact Amaze and I gained all the information I needed.
“The information provided (by Amaze’s Autism Information Advisors) was fantastic and the people I spoke to were just lovely. They were really encouraging and I never felt alone.
“Zac is now very social, very happy, loves swimming and soccer. He loves going to the beach, the sand and water. He’s very textural. He also really enjoys singing, dancing and playing drums.
“Because of Amaze’s support, we (Christy’s employer, Employment Office Melbourne), have chosen Amaze for our Tour de Office fundraiser.”
“We chose Amaze,” Christy’s workmate Joseph Buttigieg adds, “because most of us have been touched in some way _ a relative or friend _ by autism.
“My grand daughter has been diagnosed and Zac is on the spectrum so doing this for Amaze seemed like a good fit for us”.
For the working week beginning October 22, there are 80, 30-minute stationary bike-riding slots in the Employment Office. Each person who registers creates a web page and seeks sponsorhips for their ride.
Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie visited the Employment Office to support the fundraising effort.
The Klassens have come a long way since Zac was diagnosed as a toddler.
They recall feeling worried that he was neither walking nor talking as expected and began searching for answers to why he wasn’t hitting milestones.
“It was a bit scary,” Christy says.
“You begin to ask yourself, what have I done wrong as a mother. Damien was the more settled one, wanting to focus on what we could do to help Zac.
“We became very proactive.”