Goodstart to partner with AAWA to become autism champions
Goodstart Early Learning have announced that their teachers and educators are set to become autism champions under what the organisation has termed “a unique partnership and collaboration with the Autism Association of Western Australia (AAWA)”
The project aims to upskill educators to ensure they have the capacity and capability to work with confidence with all children, and particularly those children who are living with autism spectrum disorder, or are in the process of being diagnosed.
In order to work within the partnerships, Goodstart educators will participate in three intensive training days, followed up by six months of specialist consultation, reflection and support, conducted by AAWA.
Goodstart’s WA state manager, Todd Dawson, said the state had “jumped at the chance” to create the partnership.
“The training will allow our teachers and educators to extend the options in early learning and care for children who may have autism, and their families, or those going through the diagnosis process,” Mr Dawson said.
Mr Dawson said the partnership will provide parents with confidence in transitioning their children into early learning, with Goodstart educators imparting a sense of understanding about the needs of children with autism, and the support required by families.
Director of therapy and clinical services for AAWA, Tasha Alach, said the organisation was excited to be expanding awareness of autism through the partnership with Goodstart, saying “this leading initiative will create enhanced inclusion of children with autism and related disabilities across mainstream early childhood education and care”
Ms Alach said the partnership would also support early identification of autistic traits, and provide support to parents to link into diagnostic and intervention pathways, adding “We are really looking forward to the future opportunities this strong partnership will create for children with autism and their families.”
Across the Goodstart network in WA, 26 “champions” have been selected, with two representatives at each site from 13 centres in the network. The program is due to be rolled out in May 2019.