A Message From AEIOU:
The autism community AEIOU supports is among the most vulnerable: often isolated, misunderstood, and facing challenges and fears for the future.
This year marks AEIOU Foundation’s 18th year, and with sincere thanks to our community, in that time, we have supported thousands of children and their families and have been particularly welcomed in regional centres where services and offerings are limited.
We recently released details from an exciting Data Linkage Project, which unearths key insights describing the developmental gains children make in our service. In addition to quantifying the impacts of our unique program of support for children and families, this data has potential to inform advocacy and future policy decisions affecting our community.
With thanks to supporters who have made it possible, we now boast a digital data library of more than 900 children with autism aged 2-6 – the largest data set on this cohort in the country.
This ‘real world’ data shows:
- On average, children are diagnosed at 2 years and 11 months old.
- One in three families at AEIOU is Culturally and Linguistically Diverse.
- Almost 8% of the cohort identify as First Nations.
- Around half of all families (47%) come to AEIOU after attempting mainstream childcare, with all finding this unsuccessful.
- Only 17% of children are toilet trained when they start at AEIOU. On leaving the service, 81% of children are fully toilet trained.
- Children at AEIOU make significant gains at rates over and above that of a typically developing child.
More than an academic study, our data library is a live, working repository unlike any other in Australia. It outlines demographic information, clinical assessments, details on child goals, and parental wellbeing. It highlights the importance of continued investment in early intervention services. It presents opportunities to work with government and other stakeholders to leverage this rich longitudinal research for the benefit of autistic children and their families.
What does this mean?
Just imagine … the journey from initial diagnosis to enrolment at an AEIOU centre can be overwhelming and daunting. It is a challenging and complex journey with many decisions to consider.
Children just like Pietra and Malu, twin sisters who both attend AEIOU. They like to hold hands and play ‘Row Your Boat’. They love ’Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, and are beginning to use their imagination. Their mother, Yara Morales, says AEIOU has changed her whole life.
Fast forward and Yara says her family’s life has been transformed. “I see the way the team at AEIOU is with the children. It is completely different. Not only does the team help the girls; they help me. They create activities so I can play with them, games that are fun, but which help with their cognitive skills. I have so much support, I really feel it. I don’t know if they know just how much they help people,” Yara says.
Children just like Pietra and Malu have the best chance of developing vital life skills if they access early intervention when they’re aged 2 – 6 years. Autism is not rare. There is no known cause and no cure. The need for AEIOU’s life-changing, autism-specific, early intervention therapy and specialist childcare is urgent.
Funds raised help children, just like Pietra and Malu, providing access to vital educational support resources across our centres and is instrumental to our continuity of support and care for hundreds of children annually.
To learn more about how your support impacts children with autism and their families, reach out to the fundraising team at aeiou.org.au/support-aeiou or 07 3320 7500.