You can remove the financial barriers to a child receiving an early diagnosis.
Once a child receives an autism diagnosis they are able to access early childhood therapy and support that is crucial to their long-term health and wellbeing.
Without a diagnosis, they can't access tailored, autism-specific educational support at our Aspect schools.
Without a diagnosis, the path forward is hidden, and for many Australian families, it is the fear and challenges that come from not knowing that create so many roadblocks on their journey.
Today, you can help remove the barriers.
Your charity donation will directly contribute towards an early autism diagnostic assessment for a family facing financial difficulty. For families like six-year-old Jack's, this gift is life-changing:
“You are giving a child and their family a gift. A gift of growth, support but most importantly a fighting chance of living to their full capability. To us, this is priceless." - Chey, Jack's mum.
Please donate now.
When he was little, Jack didn't speak.
He didn’t respond to pain in a typical way. He didn't answer to his name.
“He didn't really make eye contact,” said Jack’s mum, Chey. “You'd call his name and he wouldn't answer you. He just seemed very withdrawn from things. At family functions and birthday parties he'd want to sit by himself and be left alone.”
As well as his limited social skills, Jack had sensory sensitivities. He didn't like loud noises, the feeling of clothes or brushing his teeth. His parents, Chey and Matthew, didn't know what was wrong.
It wasn’t until Jack’s grandparents read a story in the newspaper about a little girl who was on the autism spectrum that everything clicked.
“It was like reading Jack on paper,” said Chey. “There were so many similarities.”
The next step was getting Jack a diagnosis.
Though it would have been free or low-cost to do so through the public system, they would have had to wait well over a year.
Instead, they paid to see a child psychologist and then a speech therapist to confirm the diagnosis. It was still a six-month long process and cost over $2,500 to get Jack’s diagnosis, but for Jack and his family the time saved was invaluable.
Early diagnosis meant Jack’s family could access programs like speech therapy and school readiness. For two years, Jack worked with different speech and occupational therapists to learn sign language and how to use a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). He also attended a special day care.
He made progress, but he was still non-verbal at age three. Chey knew mainstream school would not be able to offer Jack the support he needed. That’s when her sister-in-law told her about Aspect schools.
“I went for a walk through, and immediately, I could tell this school felt different. It felt safe, happy and loving. I knew we had found Jack’s safe space.”
Jack's parents enrolled him at an Aspect school right before he turned five.
The difference they noticed in Jack was enormous.
Just ten months after enrolling, around Halloween, Jack’s favorite holiday, he spoke his first word: “Ghost.” Two days later he said “Dad” and a day after that, “Mum.” You can imagine how incredibly moving this was for his parents.
What your tax-deductible donation means for families like Jack's
This year, Aspect is hoping to raise $150,000 before June 30 to sponsor 75 families like Jack’s who are currently facing long wait times for an assessment.
That's 75 families who will be able to access vital, life-changing support sooner. 75 families who will be able to start a new chapter in their lives, and it all begins with a diagnosis.
Research shows that when a child receives an early diagnosis, ideally before the age of three, they are more likely to demonstrate improved cognitive, developmental and adaptive functioning, enhanced language and social skills compared to children who are diagnosed later.
Every day counts.
Please donate now to ensure children like Jack don't get left behind.