Children on the autism spectrum and their families met up in Belair National Park earlier this winter for a day of outdoor play and cubby house building, thanks to Nature Play SA, National Parks SA and Autism SA’s Autism Friendly initiative.
Cubby Town is an event organised by Nature Play SA annually to encourage children to spend more time playing outdoors in an unstructured environment. The event was run Thursday and Friday of July for the general public with over 3000 people expected to attend each day. It was the first time however that an autism friendly session of the event was held for children on the autism spectrum. Around 100 people joined in the outdoor fun, building cubby houses made out of branches, pieces of tarp and ropes.
“We would never have been able to attend the general public event”, said Jodie, who was there with her two children who are both on the autism spectrum. “They are easily overwhelmed by loud noises and big crowd, she explained. That’s why this is a perfect event for families like us.” She went on adding that running smaller-scale editions of such events is a great way for organisations to be more inclusive.
Shauna, who was there with son Buddy, who is on the spectrum, and daughter Sky, agreed: “I’m surprised to see how well the children are coping with everything. They are having so much fun.”
Events such as Nature Play SA’ Cubby Town is only one of the initiatives arising from Autism SA to enable capacity building in the community that supports participation and inclusion of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. The Autism Friendly Charter is a framework for mainstream businesses and recreational organisations to create and maintain an autism friendly environment.
Nature Park SA and National Parks SA attended Autism SA’s Autism Friendly Charter and are now a signatory to the charter.
More information about the Autism friendly Charter or the signatories can be found here.
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