COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Jaymi Haaf and her family wouldn't be where they are today without the support of the South Burnett autism group.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Jaymi Haaf and her family wouldn't be where they are today without the support of the South Burnett autism group. Claudia Williams

Making life easier for children with autism

JAYMI Haaf and her family wouldn't be in the position they are today if it weren't for the South Burnett Autism Support group.

Miss Haaf moved from Caboolture to Nanango to join the group and her four kids have come in leaps and bounds since.

Her oldest daughter, Paige, is now excelling as a Year 3 student at Nanango State School and her daughter Ariel is in Year 2.

The girls would not be in school if it weren't for the support from fellow parents and carers in the group and their children.

"Paige used to melt down every 20 minutes, you couldn't look at her, you couldn't speak to her and she would just scream because everything was so overwhelming,” she said.

"Coming out here she finally learnt that not everything is so full on and once we broke that down we worked on the social barriers and she has got more ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) children to play with and now you can't walk past her school without kids saying hi to her.

"It is incredible and it is all down to the support of the group.”

The South Burnett Autism support group meets on the second Friday of every month at SBcare at 7pm.

"It is great for the parents because we need that time to vent and know that we are not alone and for the children it is brilliant because ASD children will get along with ASD children and build their social circle,” Miss Haaf said.

The group also delivers pamphlets with information about autism to doctors in the South Burnett to get the word out about the group for families who need support.

Miss Haaf hopes it assists families when their children are first diagnosed because she knows first hand how difficult it can be.

"I spent three years trying to get someone to believe me that Paige was autistic,” Miss Haaf said.

"After all that battling they sit you down and say they are autistic on this diagnosis go and let Centrelink know and you have no idea who to contact or what you do next.”

The group is also a valuable resource with a library of books to assist parents and informs members about upcoming courses but the group requires funding to continue to inform and support the community.

"Without fundraisers we wouldn't have the books that we need and we wouldn't be able to go to the courses that we do,” Miss Haaf said.

The Kingaroy Rotary Club will be holding a bare foot fund raiser in support of the group at the Kingaroy Bowls Club on Sunday, September 16 from noon to 4pm.

Teams of four must be nominated before the day.

For more information phone Wayne Bushell on 0432 355 166.