ABOUT ASHTON'S PLACE
The following information is from personal experience and is not intended to treat or diagnose.
Please be sure to do your own research and make decisions based on your own experiences.
Our Son, Ashton, was diagnosed with Autism
when he was two years old
It was a six-month process to receive the confirmed diagnosis. Then began the options.
"Early intervention is the key."
These were the words we heard repeatedly. Yes, there was help in setting us in the right direction, but then what? We wanted more: more information! More answers!
We were told that 15 to 25 hours of intensive intervention each week is needed for a positive outcome. Ashton may need speech therapy, occupational therapy, and psychologists.
We just had to do it; there was no thought that we could not or would not. We needed to ensure Ashton was on the best pathway he could be on. He needed to find HIS 'place' in the world. Luckily, we were financially able to make these decisions and put these interventions into place quickly -- where many families do not have the money, time, and support to do this.
My heart is heavy when I think of the struggles for the families in the local ASD community. My husband and I are compelled to do something that will give these children a chance to find their place in this world.
Ashton's Place supports children with autism. The foundation does this by providing:
Funding for research into evidence-based early intervention;
Funding for the development of Autism Connect Early (ACE) Programme, an evidence-based early intervention programme based on gradual and meaningful inclusion; and
Support and funding for professionals that guide programme implementation and train staff.
Ashton's place was conceived
SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY
Our community here on the Gold Coast needs support and access to funds to ensure families can provide the best resources and early intervention services for their children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ashton's Place is a foundation that will help support these local families and offer funding for further research which is needed. It requires combined effort, and needs government, community, and business involvement at all levels to achieve our goals.
Ashton's Place Limited has been endorsed as a Health Promotion Charity (HPC) and as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). This endorsement will aid in our fundraising efforts to help spread awarenessness of autism and assist families in need of support.
"What do we have in common as parents and carers of autistic children? Well, probably concern and worry for a start, about how they might do or might get along 'out there'. Certainly, the feeling of loving your child is so much you'd probably go to the world's end and back, if it would help them to be okay. A deep wish to support them in finding their own way in life, in achieving inner equilibrium and resilience, and in becoming self-confident -- and the strong desire that through these things, the chance will be gained for their gifts to shine through and be appreciated fully, both by themselves and others."
Katy Elphinstone, author
To set up a foundation and charity that could help all families choose a pathway of intervention that suited them and their child without the financial burden and stress;
To ensure there were funds available for further research into this basically unknown disorder, labelled as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder);
To set up an early childhood facility that would be the first of many, catering to and supporting these children and their families; and
To hold three to four prestigious charity events each year to raise the money to help these families.
Financially, our goal for FY 2018/2019 is for us to raise $250,000.
These funds will be used to help provide individual sessions for children on the spectrum in speech therapy, physiotherapy, and psychiatrist sessions. These are normally $130 per session --- which regular families just cannot afford.
If the charity was to allocate $200,000 in the first year of 2019/2020, then the charity could fund one session a week for a child on the spectrum for 40 weeks of the year, which would equate to $5,200 p.a.. This would mean we could then fund 38 local Gold Coast children for one year. Along with this, the charity would allocate $50,000 per year for research and reporting the results of the children that the charity is helping.
Our son was diagnosed
At the time of diagnosis, our son couldn't tell you he was hungry, thirsty, tired, or sad. He couldn't tell you if he was hot or cold or even if he was happy. Ashton couldn't look at us, recognise us, or even his twin sister.
And so we were told Ashton had an autism disorder.