Nelle Francis at yesterday’s seminar that helped parents with children suffering from autism and Asperger’s.
Nelle Francis at yesterday’s seminar that helped parents with children suffering from autism and Asperger’s. Georja Ryan

Parents find answers at workshop

THERE were laughs, tears and a peculiar collaboration of noise coming from the Coachman's Inn yesterday as parents, carers, teachers and specialists flocked to the motel for a workshop about dealing with children who have autism and Asperger's syndrome.

Nelle Frances, from Aspergerchild, brought her wisdom, experience and wealth of knowledge to the Rose City to present her Sensory Detective Workshop to those seeking answers.

The interactive workshop, derived from her own experiences with her Asperger's child, ran for six hours and Ms Frances said it included physical tasks to be completed by participants to put them in the shoes of an autistic child.

"The aim is to raise awareness, change (people's) minds from looking at these children as naughty and understanding it is a condition," Ms Frances said.

"People never get to network, so they feel isolated and forget there are others out there dealing with the same thing, so this workshop promotes a bit of comfort and a much better attitude for caring for these children," she said.

"Instead of an us versus them mentality, they can understand we're all on the same side."

Rebecca, mother of a 12-year-old son suffering from Asperger's syndrome, said she found the workshop extremely helpful.

"It's a recent diagnosis, so I needed answers to questions that haven't been provided to me," Rebecca said.

"You really believe what (Nelle) is saying as she is speaking from experience and is not textbook-learned," she said.

Rebecca said the challenges parents faced when raising a child with this syndrome were emotionally draining, and these answers could ease that pressure.

"I have gone through mental health issues with not being able to cope and a constant fear that I'm not doing enough, or it is too late," she said.

Ms Frances said her workshops dealt with how to cope with issues like this.

The passion oozing from her presentation is unmistakable.

"I used to do the workshops for free because I am that passionate about it, but now it is a business and we travel the country providing answers for people."



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