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Connecting with other families

Two mums with young children haveing a chat at playgroup.

Connecting with other families

Getting to know other families with children with disability is a great way to build your information and support network.

Every family with a child with disability has travelled a unique journey, full of joys and challenges.

Connecting with other families who share similar experiences and who ‘get it’ can become a valuable source of emotional support and an important part of looking after yourself. Together you can share information and ideas, celebrate the joys and see how others approach challenges.

There are many ways to connect, so choose what works for you. You could meet in person, connect online or through a disability-specific group or association. Some groups provide information while others may offer emotional support or fun activities. It’s worth exploring what these groups have to offer as you navigate your child and family’s journey.

Joining a peer support group can help you feel more confident, capable and less isolated. Many families say it helps to smooth the road ahead and can lead to meaningful relationships throughout their child’s life.

There are also many opportunities to meet other families in your local community through groups, libraries, events and activities which are open to everyone.

Playgroups

Playgroups are a great way for parents and children to come together and have some fun. Playgroups are inclusive of all children. There are also a number of disability-specific playgroups, including PlayConnect for children with autism and playgroups with Auslan interpreters.

Find local playgroups

MyTime groups

MyTime is for parents and carers of children with a disability, developmental delay or chronic medical condition. It’s a place where you can unwind and talk about your experiences. It’s a world away from appointments and therapy. A Play Helper is there to play with preschool children.

Find your local MyTime group

Autism support groups

There are lots of autism support groups, some are online other meet face to face.

Find an autism support group

Strengthening Parent Support Coordinators

Strengthening Parent Support Coordinators across Victoria help families with children with disability connect with each other and provide information about local services and support. Contact the Coordinator near you for information about connecting with other families in your local area.

Melbourne

Eastern suburbs
Michelle Emery Evans
Phone 0438 646 744
Email michelle.emeryevans@anglicarevic.org.au

South Eastern suburbs
Christina Mastoris
Phone 0481 906 103
Email cmastoris@moira.org.au

Northern suburbs
Thea Calzoni/Lisa Peterson
Phone 0417 331 681
Email tcalzoni@mcm.org.au

Western suburbs
Claire Murphy
Phone 9680 8444
Email spsp@mackillop.org.au

Regional Victoria

Mansfield, Benalla, Murrindindi
Liz Klein
Phone 0497 483 319
Email coordinator@inspiredcarers.org.au

Shepparton, Strathbogie, Mitchell, Moira, Wangaratta
Nicole O’Brien
Phone 5831 7157
Email manager@inspiredcarers.org.au

Wodonga, Wangaratta, Alpine, Towong, Indigo
Katrina Redcliffe
Phone 02 6024 1809
Email katrina@leapcentre.com.au

Bendigo, Loddon Mallee, Mildura
Ellen Kelly
Phone 5222 5499
Email ellen@riac.org.au

Gippsland
Phone 0430 209 641
Email p2pg@noahsarkinc.org.au

Ballarat, Central Highlands
Rebecca Paton
Phone 5329 1361
Email rpaton@pinarc.org.au

Geelong, Barwon
Carolyn McDiarmid
Phone 5221 2984
Email carolyn.mcdiarmid@gateways.com.au

Horsham and Wimmera
Clare Kempton
Phone 5362 4042 or 0427 633 458
Email clare.kempton@vt.uniting.org

Warrnambool
Judi Mutsaers
Phone 5561 8111
Email jmutsaers@mpower.org.au

Disability-specific organisations (A to Z)

ADHD – Parents for ADHD Advocacy
Angelman Syndrome Association Australia
Autism – Amaze
Autism – Yellow Ladybugs
Cerebral Palsy – CP Connect
Cri Du Chat Support Group
Deaf Children Australia
Dyslexia Victoria Support
Down Syndrome Victoria
Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorder
Epilepsy Foundation
Fragile X Association of Australia
Genetic Support Network Victoria
Heads Together for ABI – Acquired brain injury
Kabuki Syndrome – Supporting Aussie Kids with Kabuki Syndrome (SAKKS)
Muscular Dystrophy Australia
Prada Willi Syndrome Australia
Rett Syndrome Association
Siblings Australia
SPELD – Learning disabilities
SWAN – Syndromes Without a Name
Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia
Very Special Kids – Life threatening illness
Vision Australia
Vision Resource Centre

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