Autism event to stream live in Bendigo

Bendigo’s autism community has been invited to tune in to the 2012 Victorian Autism Conference.

Amaze, formerly Autism Victoria, will host the Melbourne conference which will be shown via live stream at All Seasons Bendigo tomorrow and Friday.

The conference will cover the four streams of early childhood, primary school years, adolescence and adulthood.

It will include presentations by Asperger’s syndrome experts Tony Atwood, Carol Gray and Sue Larkey.

Self-taught pianist Jonathan Petty, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and born without sight, will also perform and share his story.

Amaze chief executive and Support and Advocacy for Austism Spectrum Individuals and Families (SAAIF) chairman Murray Dawson-Smith said the conference was an important opportunity for those touched by autism.

“Bringing people together for an event such as this has so many unexpected benefits,” he said.

“Families and professionals have the opportunity to meet others, share experiences and build networks as well as learn from excellent speakers.”

Bendigo parents of children with autism told the Advertiser in March that services were in short supply and families were not getting the support they needed.

Amaze, along with Gippsland mother Bronwyn Davis, launched SAAIF to help central Victorians living with autism.

Since its inception in March, the group has established a diverse board of representatives and is aiming to introduce an advocacy network in early 2013.

Ms Davis lives in Yarragon and said technologies such as live-streaming had allowed SAAIF to extend its services to a wider audience.

“Regardless of where they are, families and carers will have access to that one-on-one support as well,” she said.

Ms Davis said the group would hold an exhibition at the Victorian Autism Conference in Traralgon this week to launch its new website.

“We will be asking people to join up and share with us their personal experiences with autism to create a more personalised service that meets the needs of individuals rather than being a passive site that just delivers passive information,” she said.

“It’s only a first-hand experience that can bring about that kind of understanding. We want to draw from their expertise to collectively help the entire community.”

To reserve a place at the All Seasons Bendigo live stream, phone 5454 6000 or book online at amaze.org.au/vac

For more information on SAAIF, visit saaif.org.au

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