My name is Jackie Caputi-Smith and I am a mother of four children aged 8,5,3, and 8 months. My eldest child Mitchell Smith has been formally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As Mitchell was our first child we weren't quite sure of certain milestones and preferred to think that he would develop all in his own time. It wasn't until Mitchell tried to attend formal education that we were suggested to see State Child Development Centre, and it wasn't until some 3 years later were we finally given a diagnosis. During this time, of questions, trying to seek help and not getting any, many tears and many years did we come across "Friends of Autism".
I had made several phone calls and after driving past the building one day decide to make one more. They have been our Families absolute lifeline, from showing us how to deal with difficult times, to providing us with all the resources required to see the right people in Perth to actually receive a formal diagnosis. Dee Marlow actually gave me her son's appt in order for me to receive this diagnosis as there was such a long waiting list to see Dr Peter Chauvel. The support and therefore now friendship has been our guiding light. They have provided me respite when I had nowhere else to turn and supported me when other friends and family have turned away because it was all too difficult.
They have helped us through many difficult times. We have used their resources for approximately 3 years now and still continue to. Mitchell attends weekly social skills groups which have helped him immensely, Dee Marlow has personally picked my son up after school to attend these sessions. He has also received Occupational Therapy services at a highly discounted rate. And I also believe that he is breaking new ground discovering himself and his world in an environment that is friendly and safe. FOA has also helped myself in attending Morning tea's, hearing other people's stories of survival, and also attending a self-help programme for mothers that went over a period of 6 weeks.
I don't know where my child or my family would be now if it wasn't for friends of autism, they have filled in many blanks that all other govt assisted companies have not even come close to. My recommendation of them couldn't be greater and words of praise couldn't be higher. They will always be a very important part of our life.
I am writing this email as I wish to say a big thank you to the friends of Autism for their support.
I needed to talk to a support person/group and I am sorry to say that is not always available, when a person on the internet recommended Friends of Autism and felt they may be able to help my family.
I contacted Jackie Twigg and was very happy with the time she took to answer my questions, She invited me to pop in and have a look at what was on offer, I was amazed at the resources and her knowledge, it was more than helpful. I spoke to her regarding my 4yo daughter who was attending Kindy and was struggling. The school had a program called Boardmaker but the teacher didn't know how to use it so my Daughter had no visual support as well as no aide time .
Jackie recommended that I ask the teacher for a schedule of my daughter's day and return to her and she will do the charts etc using board maker. I was amazed at the results it was perfect and the teachers were very impressed, Jackie returned it to me in 2 days.
Friends of Autism have so many resources which help our children I hope and pray that more families find out about these wonderful services as I can highly recommend them.
Many families struggle so hard to find helpful services. Many just talk about things but never really do anything, I have to say they did all that was asked and more.
Eileen Mc Laughlin
On behalf of my husband and I, I would like to share the appreciation we have for the outstanding support and assistance we received from Friends Of Autism.
My son of almost 3 years old was diagnosed with an Autistic disorder last year and since the testing period, we found alot of hardship.
After 4 months of private therapy, life for our family was going from bad to worse. I finally got in touch with our LAC officer who suggested Friends Of Autism.
Since making that phone call to Jackie, we have never looked back. We were helped out with materials for Liam's therapy which helped free up so much time not having to make them ourself.
With Jackie's helpful advice and strategies, we were able to quickly conquer some of Liam's distressful behaviours (or at least understand them).
We were also welcomed to a 6 week workshop run by Friends of Autism that gave us so much more insight to world of autism and tools to help deal with different behaviours and issues.
We are so grateful to Jackie and the Friends of Autism. They have so much to offer, and we hope they get the opportunity to provide more assistance and relief to many more families.
Karen & Mark Lewis
To Whom It May Concern,
Friends of Autism has helped me by firstly believing me that there was something wrong with my son when others did not and by supplying practical advice on what to do and where to go to get my son assessed.
They have also helped me to understand more about my son's life through their parent training sessions and the books that I have been able to borrow from their library.
Their toy library is also a fantastic place as it opens his mind to other activities and also includes games that teach him how about every day life.