AUTISM West are starting two new social groups in Rockingham and Baldivis in February.
The groups are for participants with autism aged 10 to 18 years.
Autism West programs and volunteers co-ordinator Trudi-Anne Gribble said the local disability service provider runs a variety of social groups.
“Our Social Groups are developed, planned, and facilitated with active involvement of group members and Autism West staff, who are professionally trained and experienced in autism,” she said.
“Centred around individual interests, the groups are a place where you can come and have fun, develop new friendships, and learn new skills.
“Therefore, we encourage the participants to make the decisions on what they would like to do as a group.
“This way, they learn about each other while exploring things they are actually interested in.”
Ms Gribble said members would develop social skills, learn about technology, build friendships and develop leadership skills.
Other benefits include building resilience and having fun.
“The aim of the support groups is to provide a safe and engaging social environment which include person-centred, and skills-based activities,” she said.
“Attending the program increases participant’s motivation and engagement, collaborating together to work together as a team, and helps individuals achieve objectives identified and builds individuals self-esteem and confidence.”
“At the support groups, the participants will be able to engage in activities such as team building group challenges, technology, art and craft, gaming and going on excursions.
“The groups will include special interests such as Lego robotics, coding, visual arts, digital media, graphic design and dance.”
Ms Gribble said there was a need for support groups because many individuals with autism are vulnerable and at risk of bullying, or isolation and can struggle with mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
“Having access to support groups, where they can connect and engage, can help participants to cope with many of these issues,” she said.
“The groups also provide respite and downtime for other family members, allowing them to have time alone, or concentrate on other family member’s needs.”
Autism West is also looking for volunteers who may be studying technology, or coding, allied health subjects or certificates in disability to assist at the weekly groups.
Funding is available through NDIS or CRCC for qualifying applicants.
To enrol email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9431 2684.