Children with autism and their families will find a welcoming place at Mageda Charrouf’s Sesame Kids child care centre.
While the centre welcomes children of all abilities, Ms Charrouf wanted to establish an autism-friendly centre to support autistic children and their families after being discriminated against while trying to find child care for her autistic son,.
Staff have been trained on supporting children on the autism spectrum, there are sensory rooms and quiet spaces for children who need a break, and the centre will allow children to undergo their intervention program while at the centre.
“One of the biggest factors for parents with children diagnosed with ASD is the number of vital appointments children need to attend as part of their intervention schedule,” Ms Charrouf said.
“If a child needs assistance with early intervention, they can have that service provided here at the centre rather than working families being disrupted and having to take time off.”
Currently just over 10 per cent of children enrolled at the centre are on the autism spectrum.
“My goal is to reach out to families that have children on the ASD spectrum so they feel they have a place they can bring their children.”
The centre provides childcare and a government approved kindergarten program, alongside the special needs learning environment tailored to accommodate children with ASD.
Learning programs are designed to equip children with the social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills they need.
Ms Charrouf wants to offer care, love and understanding to not just the children in her care, but to build a support network for parents.
“When my own son was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months, I felt very isolated and I had to work out how to help him and get him the best support available in our community,” Ms Charrouf said.
“In my experience, children with ASD are not socially accepted in our community and I want to change this by providing a centre that does not discriminate against children with ASD but welcomes them.
“There’s a demand for people that understand children on the spectrum.”
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