Representing the Autism Community

Representing the Autism Community
Allison & Shane Dix with Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia
WELCOME TO OUR BLOG. We aim to help educate the community about autism and to share with you our personal experiences. We have three beautiful and capable children on the autism spectrum who were all diagnosed in July 2007. We have been through a lot to help them get to where they are today but we still have a long way to go. We will do what we can to support them throughout their lives and to support other families who are also living with autism.

We believe that the initial journey doesn't need to be as difficult as what it is and so we will work hard to provide you with invaluable information and resources to make things that much easier for families and individuals living with autism.We hope that you enjoy our blog and look forward to reading your comments so we can provide you with what you are needing to know, or would like to know.

Happy Rainbows
Autism Global Network

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Matt Deighton's Speech at the Autism SA Awards Ceremony

When we attended the Autism SA Awards Ceremony that took place on Wednesday 27th May 2009, we had the pleasure of listening to Matt Deighton's (Editor of Messenger Community News) speech.

Matt's speech was so touching and completely resonated with Shane & I because we were going through the same experience as his family at the same time. It felt like he was telling our story! Being the parent of a child with autism is not in the least an easy journey because unfortunately there isn’t enough support for families like ours, but I do know that the situation will greatly improve in the not too distant future. This will happen in large part due to wonderful people like Matt who speak openly about the important issues associated with autism.

You can see our daughter singing at the rehearsal for the Awards Ceremonly by clicking the this link: We are still so proud of her. You can also see photos from the Awards Ceremony in earlier posts.

Here's Matt's speech.....

SITTING in the offices of Autism SA the other day, helping to judge these awards, it really made me reflect on how special the autism spectrum community is in South Australia.

Normally when I judge awards, they’re to do with the media. Pretenders and imposters are very easy to detect. Alas, I had no such luxury as I sat around the table with Karl, Hannah, Jessica and David.

Put bluntly, there was not a dud entry among them. All were incredible. All worthy. All deserving of recognition.

So, firstly, a hearty congratulations to all nominees – you are a credit to yourselves and you have done more than you will probably ever know to advance the cause of autism in your communities, and in this state.

Over the next few minutes, I’ll talk to you about how I see autism from the media’s perspective and touch briefly on my own personal experiences.

Firstly, I’ll preface this speech by saying how saddened I was to hear the respite centre in the Onkaparinga Hills burnt down earlier this week. Much of my speech is dedicated to the battle to have that centre built. What I will say now is that the Messenger will be there to support you as that centre is rebuilt.

As editor of Messenger Community News, I have enjoyed a fairly privileged perspective on autism. I see how autistic children and their parents are perceived by the wider community, I see the challenges they face and, so often, overcome.

I get to meet with people like Jon Martin, Karl Zander and Elizbaeth Davis, and pick their brains about what influence we in the media can have on the autism debate. And I would like to think our papers have the ability to help change community perceptions and influence public discussions – duties I treat with great care and respect.

Messenger first really entered the autism debate in 2004 when a plan by Autism SA and the Variety Club to establish a respite centre for autistic children and young adults in Seaford met with a hostile reaction from surrounding residents. At the time, I had little more than a working knowledge of autism.

But this made me angry. And I knew enough to know these children and their families did not deserve to be treated like pariahs.

Many would argue the role of the media is to be unbiased and report, fairly, both sides of an issue. Most of the time this is true. The exception is when we come up against an argument so wrong, so small-minded, so obscene that it demands we take a stand, fight against intolerance and fly the flag for the vulnerable and disadvantaged. So we picked a side.

Your side.

So, for the next five years, we delved into the issue, spoke to the families, got to know Jon and his team and wrote strong, heart-felt comment pieces in support of the children, their parents and families.

We followed Autism SA as it shelved its Seaford plan and then felt forced to abandon a second plan for a centre in Woodcroft in 2005, following a similarly outrageous community reaction.

In 2006 we wrote this: `` The ignorance about the disability and the ``not in my backyard'' attitude taken by many opponents is a sad reflection of the attitudes of some people living in the south. Australia is said to be the lucky country. But not everyone is born equal. Carers of autistic children should be supported by the southern community and recognised for the challenges they deal with on a daily basis in trying times - not written off as bad parents. The more we can understand about autism then the greater our tolerance and acceptance will be.

We celebrated as hard as anyone when the respite centre finally opened in the Onkaparinga Hills earlier this year. And we were equally stunned when we received the terrible news on Monday. However, this must not detract from the huge strides we have all taken.

Overall, I think Messenger’s coverage of autism has highlighted the true power of the media and shown how we can have a positive impact on behalf of our communities.

I would like to think it helped break down community stigmas about autism and revealed these children and adults as the wonderful, beautiful, often quirky, but unique people they are.

Today, Messenger’s relationship with Autism SA has reached a new level and we actively support Autism Awareness month. This is something I now view as an annual commitment.

And our campaigning journalism does not end with the opening of the respite centre. Today, the autism community continues to face major hurdles.

As our papers reported earlier this month, parents are being forced to wait more than a year to find out if their child has
autism and a further 12 months to access vital early intervention programs.

This is outrageous.

And, while there remains much focus on early intervention, the transition to school is equally problematic. There are too few special small classes in our state schools.

It is wrong that children who qualify for a place in a special small class can miss out due to long waiting lists and be forced to flounder in the mainstream system. It is wrong that there is no clear transition process from primary to secondary school. It is equally outrageous – on so many levels - that autistic children remain among the most bullied and persecuted in our school system.

So, yes, we have many important challenges to face. But judging on recent experiences, they are challenges we will face and win. In conclusion, reflecting on the campaign for the Autism SA respite centre, I think it also highlights that God is not without a sense of humour.

On the 7th of July, 2004, the very first story on the Autism SA battle appeared in Messenger newspapers. The very next day my first son, Zachary John, was born.

He is autistic.

Thank you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bill Shorten's Opening Address at APAC 09

Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services, was the Opening Address at the Acia Pacific Autism Confernce 09 (20-22 August). His Media Adviser has kindly provided me with a copy of the speech. I would like to share it with you, but have decided not to make my own comments because I don't want to influence your thoughts. I would love for you to tell me what you think, even if you live outside of Australia.

You will see in my post "Our Exciting Meeting with the PM, Kevin Rudd & Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten" that Shane & I were fortunate enough to have an unexpected meeting with Bill Shorten following our 20 minute one-on-one meeting with the Prime Minister on 28th July 2009. My good friend Helen Howson and I have been waiting for a mutually conventient time to meet with Bill since then in relation to a few matters, including the review for the National Disability Parking Permit Reform and funding opportunities for our playgroup. It has been extremely difficult to coordinate a meeting due to the distance issue, but we are hopeful it will happen soon.

Thursday, August 20th, 2009
Opening Address to the Asia Pacific Autism Conference in Sydney.

Good Morning, everyone.

I'm pleased to be here. I'm representing the Prime Minister who couldn't be here but he sends his best wishes to this conference. I too, like Aunty Sylvia, would like to acknowledge that we're meeting on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and I would like to pay my respects to their elders, both past and indeed present.

I would also like to acknowledge, representing the New South Wales Government, Mick Veitch, MLC, who's got a background in disability and impairment, both political experience and in a professional sense, so he's a very worthy representative here today. Adrian Ford and the work of Aspect, I'd like to acknowledge too.

Today's conference is a first for Australia. I understand that because we have representatives here from not only Australia but from Asia and the Pacific.

I was trying to think of a collective noun for people who care about autism, and I was trying to work out, is it a conference of people? And I thought, no, conference is too tame. Is it a protest of people? Possibly, because you should be. But perhaps it's almost an armada; an armada of love, an armada of emotion, and an armada of hope that we can make the world better in terms of the lives of people with autism. Fifteen hundred delegates is a great number.

I do understand after 20 months of being the Rudd Government spokesperson in disability, the intensity, the passion, the commitment and the love of people which motivates the big heart of the autism community.

I get that autism is a health issue where there is not enough quality information and not enough quality support. I get that autism is an isolating issue where there are too many families who feel isolated and disconnected. I get, in particular, that talking to parents of children with autism and young adults and adults with autism, just how similar your experiences are.

It is the grief and the shock that comes with a diagnosis of autism. The denial, the search for answers. I know that most here could earn a PhD in Google, trying to find out the best solutions and support. I understand it is the despair of trying to understand and managing what can be truly challenging behaviours.

I am embarrassed at the struggle that families in Australia have to undertake to find doctors, therapists and teachers with experience or, indeed, even with empathy for what it means to be autistic or to care for someone with autism.

Your conference and your community is rightfully seeking, persisting, calling for and demanding answers. I'm smart enough not to claim that we have all the answers but I do believe we have done some good things nationally since coming to office. But, of course as Adrian said, it is a beginning, it's not the end.

I think there have been things done, long overdue, in the autism field. A hundred and ninety million dollars does assist families and children with ASDs. It is the first proper package aimed at early intervention and providing help for children before they start school.

We have funded autism advisers across the country to assist families in that crucial post diagnosis stage to help access the services available to them. Because a website can never replace the capacity to talk to individuals to help us through these things.

According to my Department there have been over 35 autism advisers - I think that means there's 36 - recruited to support 4776 children and their families. It is correct to say that 3302 children across Australia have been accessing this early intervention funding. And the number of organisations and service providers able to provide funding under this system keeps increasing. There are 318 multidisciplinary organisations on the panel with 501 services located, I acknowledge, somewhat imperfectly across our country.

We are establishing and moving ahead with our six autism-specific early learning and care centres. Through their affiliations with universities and hospitals - and some of the eminent speakers you'll be hearing over the next number of days are involved in these projects - we will see not only long day care but more significantly a research and workforce training component which can deal or start to deal with some of the long term challenges.

Service providers at four of the six centres have been officially announced. The Adelaide centre is in fact now open and southwest Sydney will open early next year. We do have a website run by the Raising Children Network to provide more information to try and reduce the sense of isolation that people feel.

Now, these resources are important and it is important I put them on the record, not just because of the support they offer, but because they are a sign of hope that there can be the potential to offer parents and professionals and carers the support they require.

But, at this conference, it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge the amount of guilt that society transfers onto the shoulders of the parent with a child or an adult with a disability.
This added burden is wrong and ridiculous in our country.

If we saw the sort of discrimination and isolation which the autism community experiences; administered on basis of skin colour or gender, the law would come down in a very heavy fashion. But with an impairment or a condition such as autism - and not just autism, I might add - the ignorance of many in the community means that an enormous tyranny of guilt is transferred to parents which is unjustified and inhumane.

This belief that because the parent cannot control the child the parent must be at fault, without understanding the circumstances and the condition the child has, is tremendously isolating.
I think it is another challenge for parents and families already struggling with the physical, emotional, and very much the financial burden, of raising a child with special needs.

I have learned in the last 20 months that we simply do not have enough specialists or generalists who understand autism, and this is so important. We need the specialists who can look at the big picture, connect the dots, create the medical, educational and community solutions to the problems that are actually occurring in an almost identical fashion in all of the postcodes of Australia.

I lose count of the number of times that parents have told me of their children being misdiagnosed or simply sedated. Parents are continually dealing with the well meaning professionals who don't fully understand the complexity of autism.

I do not blame anyone individually. Dealing with autism does require specialist training, a lot of experience, and the recognition that every child is different. We are putting forward trained specialists for autism but so much more needs to be done. We are training more teachers how to understand autism but, again, I recognise that this doesn't even touch the sides of the challenge.

I do believe that a conference such as today is an important source in that continual search for knowledge about autism. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge there are major fundamental problems with the way that the support system works for ASDs in Australia.

I see the experience of a parent of a child with autism, and indeed the life of a person with autism, as a series of collisions where the system that should be supporting the parents in fact fails and betrays them time and time again.

You get the first collision at diagnosis when you search for the early intervention services which are still too rare, despite the best efforts of this Government. Then there is the collision to try and find a suitable primary school that will offer the right sort of support. To be honest, I believe that trying to find a good school is sometimes a lottery.

As this child gets older and moves from that oh-so-cute three and four year old to a much heavier child at 13 and 14, some of their challenging behaviour will require more support than they did when they were younger. Parents are still too often forced to be individual advocates for their child's right to a fair go from the school system. They are too often treated as trouble makers for simply seeking adequate support for their child. Emotionally squeezed for the simple act of loving their child. Then we arrive at another collision at secondary school followed by that next smash which is the post-world transition to work or to day care.

Now, I do know that things are getting better and it's a fine balancing act when you're a member of parliament to acknowledge what is being done, yet still be honest enough to acknowledge what is not being done. I do know things are getting better and in large part that's due to the energy of people in this room.

I do know, talking to families who lived in 1950s and '60s, where their autistic brother and sister was simply hidden, that at least, courtesy of a lot of the people in this room and a lot of the research and a lot of the love and energy, that autism is not hidden away as it once was.
But I do think that we have to know, in order to meet the needs of the ASD community, what the community is. There is not enough data out there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Letter Personally Presented to the Prime Minister of Australia Regarding Autism in Australia

This is the letter that was presented to the Prime Minister and Bill Shorten personally at our one on one meeting on 28th July 2009. Other copies were also given to the Prime Minister to give to the relevant Federal Ministers. In addition to the letter, we gave the Prime Minister a copy of the Rainbow Land Play Time newsletter and a copy of the petition lead by Helen Howson to include autism in the National review for disability parking permits. More information on the Disability Parking Permit review soon.

28 July 2009
The Hon Kevin Rudd PM
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister,

We sincerely thank you for the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what we are doing to enhance the lives of families living with autism in Australia and globally. We congratulate you on your election promise to provide better autism services and on its implementation, while at the same time putting autism on the political agenda.

In March 2009, I founded with my husband’s full support, an organisation called Autism Global Network. The organisation was established in honour of our three beautiful children, Kristie (10), Jacob (5) and Aaron (5), who were all diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum in July 2007.

While Australia’s official prevalence rate for autism is 1 in 160, which only reflects the rate for children aged between 6 and 12, more alarming figures exist globally. A recent Cambridge University study has found that as many as 1 in 64 children could have autism, due to many children going undiagnosed.

Social inclusion for the whole family is the foundation from which we base our work. As a family, we have personally chosen to embrace autism, to have a positive outlook and to focus on what the children can do, rather than their disability. Based on our own personal experience, we have come to learn that the children can’t achieve their full potential unless the whole family’s needs are supported.

Our Mission Statement for Autism Global Network accurately summarises what we strive to achieve for our families.

"Autism Global Network is an innovative and dynamic organisation that provides knowledge, support, care and understanding to people dealing with autism to enable enhanced opportunities for social inclusion and quality of life. With our drive and passion, we strive to advocate for the human rights of our families and promote community awareness and inclusion at every opportunity."

Our greatest personal achievements have been a direct result from a ‘team effort’ that is driven by us. Our support network comprises of us (parents), siblings, support groups, therapists, educators, and medical professionals. This success is almost impossible to achieve because a large percentage of families are already experiencing social exclusion at the time of diagnosis. In addition, many parents, especially the mothers, are suffering from depression due to the extreme behaviours and lifestyle that comes with raising a child on the autism spectrum.

The most significant difference that our Government’s could be making to parent’s very large stressors is to significantly improve the education system for our children with an autism spectrum disorder. The issues here are endless and of which ultimately leads to the children and their families being excluded from society in almost every way. Many children are being forced to be home schooled because they are not eligible for the special school system, mainstream schools can’t cope with their high level needs and there are simply no places available in the limited number of special units.

For our family, schooling is the most significant stressor and will continue to be for many years to come. The State Governments need to do much more to improve the existing education systems and the lives of families living with autism spectrum disorders. Our children deserve the human right to be given a chance of becoming functioning members of society, where they are employable and therefore pay taxes.

The saddest loss a family living with autism can face, besides the 80-90% divorce rate, is the loss of the family home as a direct result from the extreme medical and therapy bills necessary to give the child any chance of an independent life as an adult.Our deep belief is that it is possible families can be empowered to implement basic, but effective therapy principles into their everyday life at a much lower cost than the current system and therapy methods indicate. If we were to hire a therapist to provide our three children with the recommended 20 hours a week therapy each at an average cost of $50 an hour, our gross annual bill would be $156,000. In addition to this are educational expenses, medical professional consultations, therapy equipment and expensive medications.

Attached to this letter is a summary of the services we currently provide to families living with autism and a business model outlining our future plans. We are passionate about helping to improve the lives of families living with autism at a national and global level. We hope to achieve this in a proactive manner by working closely with the Federal Ministers for Education and Social Inclusion; Health; Families and Community Services; to achieve positive and cost effective outcomes. We invite your Ministers to contact us any time.

We also want to bring to your attention the wonderful support we have been given by Tony Zappia, Member for Makin. Tony is the chief patron of our Rainbow Land Play Time family support group where we currently run a playgroup for the whole family on a Saturday.

Thank you again for the great honour of meeting with you today and we very much look forward to more meetings in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Allison Dix
Autism Global Network

Our Exciting Meeting with the PM, Kevin Rudd & Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten

Allison Dix, Kevin Rudd, PM & Shane Dix

Our one on one meeting with the Prime Minister after the Cabinet Meeting/Public Forum was a once in a lifetime experience. We were very lucky to have been chosen for a meeting and were very excited to have the opportunity to represent the autism community.The PM was very warm and made us feel comfortable talking to him about what we want to see happen in the future to improve autism services and to get better outcomes. He was very attentive and had genuine concern for our personal situation having three children on the autism Spectrum. Kristie who has Asperger’s Syndrome is 10 and our twin sons, Jacob and Aaron, who have autism spectrum disorder, just turned 5.What impressed me the most was that every Minister was committed to following up on the issues raised at the Cabinet meeting. The same applied when we met with the PM. He acknowledged the issues we raised about the Helping Children with Autism package, including therapy not being accessible enough to the children and the very long waiting lists. The PM then invited Bill Shorten, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, to have a separate meeting with us where he recognised that there is a lot more that can be done to help families by providing more services. We were extremely grateful because we were given a lot more time than the allocated 10 minutes and were appreciative of the time taken to listen to our concerns.My personal view is that having autism on the political agenda and The Helping Children with Autism Package was a major win for families like mine at the last election. Through the family business ‘Autism Global Network’, we would love to work with the Government in an advocacy role to get more much needed services for families living with autism.

Bill Shorten brought to our attention that he is working to make early intervention funding more flexible and to add more providers to the list. I was told that FaHCSIA has been pursuing this for a while, especially with regard to getting more providers on the panel.I was also given assurances from Bill Shorten that he will help the Rainbow Land Play Time (Playgroup for families living with autism and development delay) committee explore ways to apply for funding through the proper processes because he recognises that the playgroup model is a good idea but hasn’t received any funding to date because it doesn’t fit existing criteria. Funding for children with autism over the age of seven is a significant issue for a lot of families, but I believe the Government has certainly recognised that it is a problem and that this issue is being looked into.Because of the time constraints, the Helping Children with Autism Package was the only issue we had time to discuss. We hope to discuss the significant issues around education for children with special needs with the Government in the not too distant future.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Cost of Autism....Too Many Families Have More Than One Child With Autism. Watch this CBS News Story on Autism June 21, 2009

This link is a story about a family with three children diagnosed with autism, which is too close to home for us. What really saddens me is that this is becoming way too common. I know that some people think that people who have children with autism must have had something wrong with them to produce children with such defects and so don’t worry about people like us. But let me tell you…. it CAN happen to anyone! The statistics are real, the ratio’s are growing substantially, the pain is real and lonely and the cost is astronomical! I don't even keep track of what we pay for our kids' therapy because it would be too devastating.

All we do is try to mainly focus on the benefits and results they are getting from our therapy of choice and worry about how to pay the bills later. We are lucky, however, because we don't have a mortgage and currently own our house outright. I shudder to think what it would have been like should we have had a mortgage, especially given the fact we are on the pension because Shane suffers chronic and debilitating migraines and I had to leave my career in Human Resource Management to care for the kids and manage their therapy, etc, etc, etc.

Even though this story applies to American health insurance, the situation is not much better here in Australia. Our kids need hours of therapy (40 hours of one-on-one therapy a week they say), which we would exhaust all our insurance and Medicare benefits in just weeks if we paid someone to do this. My family's only choice was that I leave my respectfully paying job to do the therapy myself. All I get for the 40 hours of therapy x 3 (=120 hours) each week is approx $275 AU. On average, it costs $100 AU an hour for a therapist. Therefore, my time is worth $12,000 per week and a staggering and unbelievable $624,000 AU a year. WOW..... IF ONLY!

Heartbreaking to know that families are doing work worth this kind of money only to lose their homes and everything they have. I can't tell you how much this situation saddens me. God Bless all the families who are facing this type of crisis and God Bless all families & individuals living with ASD. Allison xxx

RIP Michael Jackson

You were a unique individual of which your talents and contribution to this world should be celebrated by all - no matter what your personal struggles were..... Thanks for the music, the memories and the entertainment. You will never be forgotten xxx

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our Beautiful Babies.....

The other night at Affordable Organics Fruit & Veg (Adelaide, SA), Aaron (nearly 5 with ASD) said as clear as anything "Anna, here's the soap". I was so proud because not only did he say these words clearly, but he put it all together by himself after I gave him the instruction to 'give them to Anna'. It must have been the magic work Christine Beal, who is one of our fantastic therapists, did with him on Saturday. Well done little man.

Anna,who is the proprietor of Affordable Organics and her staff have been such a wonderful support for our family. Even though Jacob and Aaron don't eat vegetables and only eat minute amounts of fruit, Anna allows them to experience the textures and smells of the food so that they feel more comfortable with it. She is also very understanding when it comes to their special needs. As menioned above, their favourite thing to do is to sellect the different coloured soaps from the soap stand. Thanks to Anna & her staff for your continued support and understanding and for making this shopping experience fun and safe for them.

Tonight we took all three children to their aqua physio sessions with Child's Play, and they all did wonderfully well. It is so beautiful to see their gorgeous little faces light up and their confidence grow as they so very much enjoy their time in the water. We luv you all soooo much and love watching you love your special swimming lessons. XXX

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Real Feel Good Story

Watch this video as an example of what our children who have autism are capable of when given a chance by someone who believes in them. ENJOY...


Thursday, June 4, 2009

RIP Dr Chris O'Brien

RIP Dr Chris O'Brien. You were a true inspiration to Australia & your legacy will live on forever. We have lost a great, wonderful, brilliant & loving man. You will be grately missed. Love Autism Global Network XXX

Kristie and her Family at the Autism SA Awards Ceremony

Kristie's family: Shane (Dad), Elaine (Grandma) & Allison (Mum)

Autism SA Awards Ceremony

From left: David Palmer - Autism SA's Number 1 Ambassador; Jessica Bostock - Autism SA's Community Relations Coordinator.
David and Jessica are a couple of wonderful Autism SA staff that made Kristie feel so comfortable to be at the Awards Ceremony. Thank you so much for encouraging and supporting her.

Teachers Support Kristie at the Autism SA Awards Night

Blow are Kristie's school educators from St Joseph's Primary School, Tranmere.
From left: Mrs Deegan - Kristie's Yr 5 teacher; Mrs Dudzinski - Senior Educator; Mrs Heaney - SSO & OSHC Coordinator.
Thank you Kathy, Anne and Melanie for coming to watch and support Kristie. It meant more to us and the autism community than you will ever realise.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kristie Dressed by Noushke, Adelaide (AutismSA Awards Ceremony)

Kristie was kindly dressed by Deanna Bellini of Noushke (Adelaide, South Australia). Deanna opened her store especially for Kristie and made her feel like the princess that she is. Thanks so much Noushke for making Kristie feel confident in the beautiful clothing she was so lucky to have for the night. xxx (Kristie is picutred here with Deanna and her beau, Zaik)

Kristie Dix, who has Asperger's Syndrome Performs Solo

Although Kristie has Asperger's Syndrome (a social disorder on the autism spectrum), she mustered up all her courage to perform her solo rendition of 'A Thousand Miles' by Vanessa Carlton at the Autism SA's Awards Ceremony held on Wednesday 27th June 2009.

Kristie was really nervous about singing solo in front of a large crowd at an official function for the very first time. The courage it took for her to follow her dreams of becoming a singer and to put all her fears and insecurities aside to make them come true, made this a truly inspirational and heartfelt moment for all who watched her.

To ease her into her rehearsal, she held her Mum's hand for the first practice, let her sit on the edge of the stage for the second, and then allowed her to sit at a table for the third. The video of Kristie on YouTube is her third practice at the rehearsal.

Welcome to Autism Global Network's Blog

Our Story

Autism Global Network was born in March 2009 as a result of the struggles and triumphs we have experienced as a family since our three beautiful children were all diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum in July 2007. Kristie, who was 8 at the time, was diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome. Our identical twin sons, Jacob and Aaron, were diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
We quickly realised that little was known by the community and the medical profession about autism and other related conditions. Sadly, this meant that there wasn’t much available in terms of services to help us and so we decided to embrace autism and do everything we could to give all of our children the opportunity to be the best that they can be.We are very proud to say that through team work as a family in combination with everyone in our support network,the children have made inspirational progress.
We dedicate this website to the families across the globe that are living with ASD and the many other related conditions, some of which include: ADD, ADHD, PDD-NOS, dyslexia and epilepsy. Our goal is to share the knowledge and experience that we, along with other families and professionals have gainedas a global network. We hope that the sharing of information and experiences will unite everyone to create a more powerful support network and make life that bit easier for families living with these conditions.
We do not plan to rest on our laurels and will keep researching and learning as much as we can to help save you the time and effort required to do this. Although we can’t be in your homes helping out with the housework, therapy, medical regimes, diet/cooking processes and emotional issues that is a part of your everyday life, we can be here to share our experiences with you and hopefully save you time by providing a NETWORK of quality information, advice and support.
All the best for your own personal journey.
Love Shane, Allison, Kristie, Jacob and Aaron Dix
(South Australia, Australia)

About Us...

"Autism Global Network is an innovative and dynamic organisation that provides knowledge, support, care and understanding to people dealing with autism to enable enhanced opportunities for social inclusion and quality of life. With our drive and passion, we strive to advocate for the human rights of our families and promote community awareness and inclusion at every opportunity."