Closure of Early Days
20 Dec 2022
Early Days Workshops will no longer be available in 2023 following the cessation of funding for this program on 31 December 2022.
The Early Days free workshops and tailored supports for parents and other family members of young autistic children, and those with concerns for their child, had been an integral part of the national autism support landscape since 2011.
Funded by the Department of Social Services through the former Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package, the initial workshops were developed over 12 years ago by the Parenting Research Centre. Following evaluation by La Trobe University, the state and territory-based autism associations were contracted in 2011 to deliver Early Days workshops in their respective regions/states. This enabled customisation of information and facilitated connections to local supports for participating families. These connections expanded in recent years to NDIS supports and ECEC partners.
As well as delivering the workshops in Queensland, Autism Queensland also hosted the national facilitator of the program.
Across the life of the program more than 30,000 parents, carers and other family members attended approximately 4000 face to face workshops and webinars delivered across Australia. In Queensland, it was accessed by approximately 6100 parents who attended over 1300 workshops.
Evaluations undertaken twice yearly have consistently and overwhelmingly demonstrated positive feedback and program outcomes with parents reporting that the workshop provided among many things, practical ideas, assisted with goal planning and a valuable opportunity to connect with other parents and carers.
Early Days was one of the last HCWA-funded programs to continue operating following the closure of the Autism Advisor Program and Early Intervention Indigenous Liaison Officer Program in recent years.
Funding has also ceased for the PlayConnect Playgroups, however Autism Queensland was successful in securing funding for a new program that will see work with state and territory Playgroup partners and other State Autism Associations to deliver an exciting new playgroup service for young children and parents of children with disabilities and developmental concerns.
Visit the Department of Social Services website.