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Autism Connect Early

About the ACE Programme



14th July 2019: ACE opens for enrolments on the Gold Coast. 


Autism Connect Early (ACE) Programme has been in development for a year now. 


Our partnership with The University of New England is one that will have a practical implication for early intervention programmes and will bring about societal change. 

The ACE Programme is focused on using the research evidence to develop innovative educational approaches for children with autism. To achieve this, we have partnered with The University of New England to embed continued review and evaluation across ACE activities so that we obtain an objective measure of how children are developing and growing. This partnership will allow ongoing research to be undertaken in an early childhood environment.  


The ACE Programme will be implemented into early learning centres all over Australia. The first centre to implement the programme has been operating for six months on the Gold Coast. Our aim is to be able to reach as many autistic children as possible and be able to provide them with affordable early intervention that has proven positive outcomes. Our journey has given us an increasing awareness of the struggles and the impediments faced by families who are anxious to provide for their children with effective education and therapeutic therapy, but whose efforts are being thwarted by confusion regarding best practice and financial restraints and a lack of facilities available to these children. My husband and I are compelled to do something that will give these children a chance to find their place in this world. 


Our early learning environments will have access to all the necessary therapies* required for successful early intervention. 

*Therapies – services that focus on supporting the child to acquire or enhance functional skills aimed at developing and maintaining their learning, participation, and wellbeing in the community.


Ashton's Place has developed an early intervention programme which we plan to implement in specific child care centres on the Gold Coast. It is named the ACE (Autism Connect Early) Programme. These child care centres will cater to children on the autism spectrum and will ensure that the programme content is relevant to the individual child.

Individual plans will be developed for each child using the Guidelines for Good Practice for children with autism.1

Ashton's Place plans to implement effective models of practice to ensure we have a programme that is relevant and one that meets the needs of the individual child and their families.

Research has identified that:


" one program will suit all children with autism and their families...there is growing
evidence that intensive developmental and combined programs are also effective."


(Guidelines for Good Practice, 2012)



As per the Guidelines for Good Practice, we can define key elements which are necessary for effective intervention. These include:

  • Autism-specific curriculum content focusing on attention, imitation, language, and social skills;

  • Highly-supportive teaching environments, which deal with the need for predictability and routine, and with challenging behaviours, obsessions, and ritual behaviours;

  • Support for children in their transition from the preschool programme;

  • Support for family members via partnerships with professionals involved in treatments;

  • Teachers who are appropriately trained to deliver these programmes; and

  • Clinical professionals who are appropriately trained to deliver quality programmes.

PLEASE NOTE: This information has been superceded by the latest findings from the CRC Guidelines 2022. For more information see


We have sought input from specially trained consultants, who provide the following input into the implementation of our 

ACE Programme:


With the support of industry trained professionals, including early intervention programme consultants, speech therapists, and occupational therapists, we will ensure that our programme provides:


  1. ​A staff training programme aimed at developing an environment that supports autistic children, including both physical aspects as well as programme ideas to provide adequate support;

  2. Environmental follow-up to ensure training session ideas have been implemented where possible and to welcome any further suggestions;

  3. Further training for identified staff, be it by smaller specific training sessions with industry professionals from proven early intervention models or further development of their qualifications through higher education;

  4. A staffing model that is effective in producing programmes that deliver positive outcomes for families and children; and

  5. Industry trained professionals will provide ongoing consultation with Ashton's Place to give advice and guidance on the implementation of the ACE Programme in the child care centres that have been identified for delivering the programme.

ACE Programme now taking enrolments

We are excited to announce that the ACE Programme is now taking enrolments. Ashton's Place has partnered with the University of New England and Imagine Childcare & Kindergarten Nerang to deliver a quality early intervention program for children on the autism spectrum. Our specially-trained educators will ensure content delivered is relevant to the individual child, and help these children grow in confidence and capability. For more information or to enrol, please download a copy of our ACE Programme Enrolment Form below:


Click here to download a copy of the ACE Programme Enrolment Form


Information sheets

Click on the links below to view and download:



1 Early Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: 'Guidelines for Good Practice' 2012, Margot Prior and Jacqueline Roberts


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Questions? Comments?
We would always love to hear from you.

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