In the first podcast of the series I talk with Claire Gilmour and Francine McNabb from STEPS Autism Treehouse based on the Sunshine Coast of QLD, Australia. STEPS Autism Treehouse was born following Claire’s son’s diagnosis of autism and the daunting feeling of not knowing where to turn for services and support. Its evolution has seen the development of a community of like-minded people who are able to provide support, access to relevant resources and knowledge of programs and specialists in the local area. Throughout the podcast, Claire and Francine share their personal stories of having children on the autism spectrum, discussing the diagnostic process, the joys and challenges.
5 Rapid Fire Questions:
1. What is one habit parents can implement today?
- Develop a clear routine.
- Use visuals for morning routine.
- For non-verbal children – learn some basic sign language.
- For older children – pick your battles.
2. What do people never ask you that you wish they did?
Claire would like people to connect with her child and for people to ask “what can I do to enter into your child’s world?”
3. What book would you recommend all parents read?
The Autism Discussion Page by Bill Nason
Welcome To Holland by Emily Kingsley
4. What is one of your top 3 unfinished bucket list items?
Francine would like to see her children to make some firm connections in their schooling.
Both Claire and Francine would like their children to develop confidence and self esteem, and be happy, positive and polite!
5. If you could only offer one piece of advice to parents, what would it be?
Claire: Don’t be too hard on yourself……You do have this path in mind that this is going to happen, but you might get your diagnosis and veer off to a whole ‘nother path, but who’s not to say that that’s not a better path? It’s not always doom and gloom. And it can be positive and rewarding and exciting and different to what you had planned.
Francine: …Just take the advice, use what it’s good for your child out of it and dispose of the rest.
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So….until next fortnight, I encourage you to open your mind, respect the differences and above all believe that YOU can make a difference from homebase!
With love and hope,
*You should always seek a health practitioner’s advice before starting any new health practice.