Northcott and Nepean Community and Neighbourhood Services have been holding Family Fun Afternoons once a month during school term for children with special needs and their families.
“We started at the Koolyangarra Centre over three years ago, and moved last year to Braddock Public School. This partnership between our services is such a positive example of working together in the community at a place where families gather as part of their daily life. We have found that families appreciate the low key, casual approach of the afternoons where we have activities for children with special needs and their siblings” said Sue Butler from Northcott.
While the children are engaged the parents and carers are able to have a cuppa and connect with each other. There is always a family support worker available if needed. Not only are these afternoons important to the children but they are also equally important to the parents and carers
The importance of peer support extends beyond people with an intellectual disability to those who support and care for them. Peer support plays a critical role in building resilience. Overseas research demonstrates that families consistently value peer support over support provided by professionals. The National Disability Strategy should therefore recognise the valuable role of peer support in building resilient individuals and families1.
“We hope that in some small way we are making a positive difference to the lives of the children and their families” said Sue.
To find out more about the Family Fun Afternoons call Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre on 4729 0442 or Northcott Early Links on 4724 4600.
1 Disability and Carers, Australian Government, Department of Social Services, November 2014.