Australia’s Only Regional Autism Learning Center Improves Lives For Children

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald June 01, 05:00 am
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Australia may only have one regional autism center dedicated to early learning and care for children with autism at the moment, but it has served its purpose well. Research has found that the children studying in the center and in its four satellite centers have improved in many different aspects of their lives.

The University of Tasmania Rural Clinical School investigated the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC) in Burnie. ABC.net.au reported that in over four years, most of the 98 children who attended the Burnie centre had better behavior, communication, language development and motor skills. The same was true for the two satellites in Devonport and the remaining ones located in Smithton and King Island.

ASELCC And Satellites Meeting Objective

"The ASELCC curriculum is designed to support and enhance the abilities of children with ASD to participate in childcare, early education, and interact with other young people. Our findings suggest these centres are meeting this important objective," said study co-author Miranda Stephens as per the Health Canal. Stephens is a Clinical Psychology Lecturer at the University of Tasmania Rural Clinical School.

Kathryn Fordyce, another author of the study was quoted by The Advocate as saying that even though Northwest Tasmania was a small community, it has been able to know more about autism through the help of the ASELCC. In this light, Fordyce, the manager of the ASELCC, said that the centre has helped not only the children with autism, but the community as well. 

Involving The Child, Family And Community

According to the centre's website, it caters to children with autism spectrum disorders who are aged zero to six. Early learning programs and specific support are given to the children while in a "long day care setting."

Sessions with children are of three types. The long morning session commences from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the day session is from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm while a full-time weekly session starts from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. on weekdays.

Programs for each child are developed in consultation with the family. The ASELCC also helps families and parents care for their children and also helps the local community be capable of providing support to children with autism and their families.

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