AEIOU Bundaberg is expanding its early intervention service for children with autism and will soon be able to accept more enrolments, reducing current waiting times.
The extension includes a new room catering for up to eight more children and a new play area with shade sail made possible by a Bundaberg Regional Council community grant.
AEIOU Bundaberg service manager Amanda Rogers said the decision to expand was made when last year they had about 14 families on their waiting list.
“At the moment we have capacity to help about 16 families in the region for children who have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder),” Amanda said.
“We run a full-time early intervention program for those children aged between two and six years old.
“Another eight families in the region will now be able to get help for their children with autism in that really crucial early intervention stage before they go to school.
“We just wanted to try and help as many families in the region as we could.”
With AEIOU expanding into a second room Amanda said it would provide more targeted learning opportunities for students.
“We will set it up as two distinct classrooms and we will split the kids who come in to the service by their skill sets so that we will have them in different areas,” she said.
“They will be able to do a lot of more natural learning by being able to split in to these two different groups.”
Shade sail sponsored by Council community grant
Amanda said they were thrilled to receive of one of Council’s community grants which had enabled them to add another outdoor play space.
“It’s fenced, it’s turfed and has a beautiful new shade sail on it which makes it sun safe as well for the kids which is very important.
“It also allows us to be able to separate some of the kids to work on particular skills that those kids need to work on that the others might not.
“We can work on them in a really controlled environment and then be able to introduce that skill in to the wider group.
Mayor Jack Dempsey visited the facility to view the expansions which are set to open soon.
“It is certainly great to see the new extensions going on here at the centre,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“The AEIOU centre is a godsend for families and young people with autism to be able to assist with their education platforms but also the social outcomes that they’re achieving here.
“I just want to say a big thank you for all of the work that they do with young children here in Bundaberg.”
Amanda said the facility had been in the region for just over five years and they were looking forward to expanding the service which could be “life changing”.
“It’s amazing to see the kids when they come in to our service and then when they leave and they go off to school and we’re very, very proud of them,” she said.
“We see the skills that the kids learn here and it just makes the world of difference to them.
“Toilet training, speech, communication, social skills, play skills – everything that is really important in childhood.
“I love watching it.”