Early years

When a child is identified as Autistic, it’s important for parents and carers to find supports that help them understand and navigate the journey ahead.

Toddler boy, at a table holding a pen

Supports and services for young children

Early intervention means doing things as early as possible for young children. Services are programs of therapy and specialised support for children and families in the early years (from birth to school entry). These services focus on their individual developmental, health and support needs to reach their potential.

Early Childhood Early Intervention and the NDIS

Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding and support pathway for children aged  0 – 6 years who have a developmental delay or disability and their families/carers.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has appointed early childhood partners in each area of Victoria. The partners, called Local Area Coordinators (LACs), link families into early childhood early intervention services. They assist families in understanding the NDIS. Find your local area Co-ordinator.

It’s good to keep records of any communication with the NDIA or Local Area Coordinator (i.e. name, phone number, email address) and also take notes of the information they give. If you’re communicating by email or letter these may form the record.  You can also ask for information in writing to keep for your records.

For more information about ECEI, visit the NDIS website or call the NDIA on 1800 800 110.

Early Days are free workshops for parents and primary carers of children with an autism diagnosis.

Workshops are offered on the following topics:

  • My Child and Autism (Introductory Workshop)
  • Understanding Behavior
  • Encouraging Interaction
  • Tips for Everyday Skills
  • Progression to School
  • Helping my Child Cope with Change

Amaze holds regular Early Days workshops around Victoria. Find out more about Early Days here.

Support groups can be an invaluable resource especially for Autistic people, parents and carers, and other family members. They can provide a friendly, non-judgmental and open space to share challenges and triumphs. Read more about support groups.

Many organisations in Victoria offer support groups and informative workshops for parents:

  • EACH’s Family Relationship Support for Carers is a statewide service that supports family members caring for someone with a disability or autism. FRSC provides free counselling and ‘Future Planning’ services.
  • Asperger’s Victoria hosts support groups for its members, including groups for parents and carers.
  • Spectrum Journeys hosts two workshop series for parents, Parent Connect for Mums and Dads Connect
  • MyTime is a free support group for parents and carers of children with a disability (not autism-specific), developmental delay or chronic medical condition.
  • PlayConnect playgroups offer play activities suited to the needs of children aged 0-6 years on the autism spectrum where the parent/carer attends as well.  Siblings and other family members are welcome to attend.

  • Contact the Metro Access Officer or Rural Access Officer at your local Council for information on local services and support. Find your local council .
  • Carers Victoria offers advice and information, counselling and links to respite opportunities for family carers in Victoria
  • Find community services in your local area, including respite services.
  • Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC)  for people with a disability from non-English speaking backgrounds. Services include support, advocacy and respite services.

As awareness of autism grows, so do the number of specific treatments and approaches. Amaze recommends that you speak with your medical practitioner about therapies, and make decisions based on available evidence.

The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) is Australia’s first centre dedicated to autism research. It has a strong focus on research translation through the development of evidence-based tools, and collaborates with other autism research centres and institutes both in Australia and internationally.

Raising Children Network also has an excellent detailed guide to therapies.

Use the search tools below to find therapists near you.

Autistic individuals often have difficulty interpreting social situations and need support to understand them. Using a Social Story or a social script is a tool often used to support a positive outcome.

International autism expert, Carol Gray, pioneered Social Stories in 1991 and since then, the idea has evolved. They have been shown to be helpful to children, adolescents and adults as well as other people with social and communication delays.

Amaze supports businesses and community organisations to create their own social scripts to support Autistic people.

For more information

Contact the Amaze Autism Connect advisors on 1300 308 699, email [email protected] or use the webchat on this site. This service is open from 8am–7pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

You can also read more on the Resources and Useful Links pages of this site.

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