Useful Links for Parents and Caregivers
We list for your convenience information about several organisations that can assist families of children with disabilities. Inclusion of Organisations and Services on this list does not infer endorsement by Riverside ESC.
4families is a free service that provides whatever support families and carers need, linking them to a variety of services to reduce family stress and enable children and young people to reach their full potential. If you live in Mandurah or Rockingham you can get free support through the 4families service, which is part of Relationships Australia.
Families can self-refer using this form: 4families Referral Form
4families can provide:
- counselling and emotional support
- information and referrals
- home-based family support
- workshops, seminars and groups
- community development activities
- support for grandparents and carers
Accessibility in Mandurah: The City of Mandurah is committed to working with the community and service providers to make Mandurah accessible and enjoyable for all. The information provided here encourages people of all abilities whether residents or visitors to enjoy and participate in the Mandurah lifestyle.
- Tel: (08) 9550 3777 (Community Development office)
The Activ Library is a major library for the disability sector in WA. The library is part funded by the Disability Services Commission and has a vast collection of books, journals, training materials, selected websites and audiovisual resources. The collection has a strong focus on intellectual disability and also features resources related to other disabilities, developmental delay and learning difficulties.
Location: 327 Cambridge Street, Wembley WA 6014
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 4:00pm
Tel: (08) 9387 0458
The Activ Library also provides an online Parent Portal - a starting point for parents and carers to gain access to quality information on intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders.
The Autism Association of Western Australia is dedicated to serving the needs and interests of people with Autism and their families. We do so by providing services based on peer reviewed research in the field of Autism; and by providing support that makes a positive difference to the lives of people with Autism.
See DDWA below for a link to the 20148 Autism handbook.
Tel: (08) 9489 8900
Country Callers: 1800 636 427
Cahoots is a Western Australia-based NDIS provider that organises and delivers exciting and rewarding programs and camps for kids and young people living with a disability. Programs and camps throughout the year, catering to children and young people of all abilities between the ages of 5 and 30.
- Website: www.cahoots.org.au for dates and details of upcoming activities.
Cerebral palsy is the most common type of physical disability in childhood. It affects just over 2 children in 1,000 live births. While a number of factors may contribute to Cerebral palsy, difficulties during very late pregnancy, during birth, or shortly after birth are all known as “birth injury” and are major cause of the disorder.
Cerebral Palsy Australia is the national peak body of organisations that work with people with cerebral palsy and people with similar disabilities and their carers. On the website are links to several useful resources: http://cpaustralia.com.au/learning-center/
Tel: FREECALL 1800 771 663
Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury
The mission of CerebralPalsySymptoms.com is to provide the public with accurate and up to date information on the many aspects of cerebral palsy and other birth injury complications.
Information on communicable diseases is available from the WA Department of Health, or by clicking here. Although prepared for teachers and health professionals, parents/carers will find useful information in a downloadable Communicable Disease Guidelines.
This collection of information draws upon United States sources and may not reflect thinking and practices in Australia. The information therein is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment but may assist parents and carers to build confidence with raising children, from newborns through to teens, and to address concerns that often arise.
This site from the United States has useful tips about creating a home environment to suit the needs of your child. Some aspects of the site are U.S.-specific but it is a site worth visiting.
New resources from ‘beyondblue’ and researchers from Monash University and the University of Melbourne, aimed at helping parents reduce the risk of their school-aged children developing depression.
Click here: How to reduce your child’s risk of depression and clinical anxiety - Strategies for parents of primary-school aged children.
DDWA is a not-for-profit organisation and the peak advocacy organisation in WA for people with intellectual and other developmental disability and their families. DDWA welcomes membership from people who have an interest in advancing the rights and needs of people with disability and their families.
DDWA works to create lasting positive change by:
- supporting people with developmental disability and their families to have a strong voice
- partnering with others to develop more connected and inclusive communities, and
- influencing government and other decision makers
There is a wealth of information on the DDWA website including information booklets and more on their Resource page. Of particular interest to parents of our community will be Personalised learning support plans used in education: A GUIDE FOR FAMILIES.
DDWA has released their updated guide -- "Autism Parent's Handbook: Perth & WA - 2018 Edition" -- your essential guide to services and support in Western Australia. To download your copy or to obtain a hard copy version (postage applies), go to ddwa.org.au/autism-parents-handbook-2018/. This resource book is also available from DDWA at City West Lotteries House, 2 Delhi Street, West Perth, or from Kalparrin at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Directions provides relationship-based, personalised and individually tailored support to people throughout Perth metropolitan area and south into the Peel region.
Directions also operates "Teenspirit Mandurah" which offers school holiday programs. See example here - April 2019.
- Website: https://www.directions.asn.au/
- Tel.: (08) 9262 4900
The Disability Services Commission (DSC)'s vision for WA is that people with disability are valued, welcomed and included in their local communities, using Local Area Coordinators (LACs). LACs have local knowledge and can help people with a disability plan for and achieve a good life. They also assist people to plan, organise and access supports and services as well as provide information as needed.
Finding an LAC in your area
Details about how to find an LAC in your area are available on the Commission's website - go to the LAC webpage.
Offering family and community programs which enables the support of people with Down syndrome and their families. DSWA started a South Metro Playgroup at Warnbro for Term 2, 2018. Click here for more information.
Tel: (08) 9368 4002
Toll free: 1800 623544
Equal Footingball is a community-minded initiative to ensure that people with intellectual or physical (or both) disabilities have similar opportunities and access to football for fun, social participation and elite development compared to fully able-bodied players.
Expressions of Interest and inquiries - email Belinda: email@example.com
Tel: (08) 9422 6900 (Football West)
As a Midlands, UK legal firm Wright Hassall aims to provide informative guidelines that are helpful to a broad community. Specifically, the company has prepared a well researched Guide to Birth Injuries that is backed up with supporting information and case studies. The context in which the information is presented is solicitous in nature but nevertheless may be useful as a resource for Australian parents.
The West Australian Immunisation Schedule is available on the WA Public Health website (Healthy WA) here.
Inclusion WA is a dynamic organisation dedicated to enriching the lives of all people who may be disadvantaged, disconnected from society or living with a disability. We achieve this by facilitating inclusion in sport, recreation and community life.
INKA is a not for profit, family run holiday / respite stay in a farm style environment for teenagers and adults with autism spectrum and down syndrome.
Contact: Margaret and Todd Jarvis
Tel: (08) 9316 3230
Mob: 0424 646 983
Kalparrin make a positive difference to the lives and families and carers of children with special needs through the provision of practical and emotional support.
Tel: (08) 9340 8094
Toll Free: 1800 066 413
Location : PMH Subiaco, Perth
“Because every WA kid deserves a fair go”
Active kids learn better and are physically and mentally healthier. KidSport, a partnership between the Department of Sport and recreation and the City of Mandurah, makes it possible for eligible WA children to participate in community sport and recreation, no matter their financial circumstances. The process for accessing KidSport is simple!
Applicants must have a valid Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card. Applications can be made online from November 14, 2016 (use DSR weblink below).
Funding will cover the cost of fees to join the nominated sport or recreation club (this may include other related costs as identified by the club), up to a maximum $200 per child.
Tel: (08) 9492 9911 - DSR
Tel: (08) 9550 3888 - City of Mandurah
KidsMatter is an Australian mental health and wellbeing initiative set in primary schools and in early childhood education and care services. It’s not a program, but a framework that helps these places take care of all their mental health needs by focusing on:
- creating positive school and early childhood communities
- teaching children skills for good social and emotional development
- working together with families
- recognising and getting help for children with mental health problems.
KidsMatter is funded by the Australian Government and beyondblue, and is a partnership between education and health sectors.
- Website: www.kidsmatter.edu.au/families
The Manta Rays Swim Team is a Special Swimming Club for children with Special Needs. We train at the Mandurah Aquatic Recreation Centre (MARC) in Mandurah on Wednesdays at 3.30 - 4.30 pm.
Our members’ ages range from 7 to 18. Our Coaches hold an assessment for new members but final membership is subject to Coaches discretion (decision based upon assesment of Duty of Care).
The program is run by adult volunteers. New volunteers are always welcomed.
Tel: 0437 561 336 Alice
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mantaraysswim/
This site from the United States lists important considerations for moving house for a family of a child with a disability. There are plenty of usefulo tips.
- Website: Click here
NDS is the national industry association for disability services, representing 700 non-government organisations. Collectively, our members operate several thousand services for Australians with all types of disability. NDS's members range in size from small support groups to large multi-service organisations, and are located in every State and Territory across Australia.
Tel: (08) 9242 5544
Location: Unit 1, 59 Walters Drive, OSBORNE PARK WA 6017
Play 2 Talk supports and encourages families that include children with additional needs and their neurotypical siblings to get out the door and come together to play. Monthly get-togethers and events are available for families seeking to overcome those often invisible social barriers that limit opportunities for meaningful and playful engagement. Find out about Play 2 Talk by contacting founders Amber and Nicole at:
On the Raising Children website, parents will find reliable and evidence-based information and resources to support them in the day-to-day work of raising children and looking after their own needs. The website is growing all the time and covers a broad range of up-to-date parenting topics.
- Website: raisingchildren.net.au
Amongst the many useful topics are:
- School Age school_age
- Pre-Teens pre-teens
- Children with Disabilities children_with_disability
- Children with Autism children_with_autism_landing
Riding for the Disabled Western Australia (RDAWA) is a not-for-profit organisation which is dedicated to providing therapeutic and recreational benefits through equestrian activities to people with disabilities.
Tel: (08) 9531 1822
Location: Fairbridge, Pinjarra
The SATS program, delivered in the Peel region by Rocky Bay Inc., is funded by the Disability Services Commission to provide comprehensive therapy services to school age children. We will meet with you to talk about your goals for your child and what you would like them to be able to do and what support you would like. We will then plan together how to achieve your goals.
The team works in partnership with families and children, six to 18 years old, with a range of disabilities to support their development. Services may include speech pathology, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy.
Therapists partner with families to provide support to children to maximise their independence and participation in the community.
Tel: (08) 6399 4111
Post: PO BOX 53 Mosman Park WA 6912
Sensory Friendly Flicks for children and their families who have Autism, Sensory Processing difficulties and other disabilities in Perth, Australia.
Sesame Workshop created Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, a U.S. initiative aimed at communities with children ages 2 to 5. Developed with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism, See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to overcome common challenges and simplify everyday activities. At the same time, the project fosters an affirming narrative around autism for all families and kids. Australian families will find useful information.
The government-sponsord Student Wellbeing Hub website provides information and resources for students, teachers and parents to assist in the creation and maintenance of a safe and welcoming school environment.
The Hub brings together many of the most highly experienced child, youth and adult focused clinicians in Western Australia. There unique group practice includes paediatricians, clinical psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers and occupational therapists. They work with parents and families in diagnosing and managing children and adolescents with developmental and behavioural difficulties as well as mild to moderate mental health concerns in children, adolescents and adults.
Tel: 08 9557 5942
- Website: www.thehubwa.com.au
Vision Australia is a partnership between people who are blind, sighted or have low vision. We are united by our passion that people who are blind or have low vision will have access to and fully participate in every part of life they choose.
Tel: 1300 84 74 66
XYY Australia has grown out of an Australian famiy's search to understand more about their son and to share what they have learned with others. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, XYY syndrome occurs in 1 out of every 1,000 boys. The website engages the inquirer with real life stories, articles about XYY Syndrome, access to hard-to-find resources and much more.
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