240+ Attend the Inaugural STEPS Sunshine Coast Autism Seminar


A crowd of approximately 240 people attended the inaugural STEPS Sunshine Coast Autism Seminar on Friday at the Maroochy RSL where they accessed the most up to date autism information, support services and resources all gathered under one roof.

Through the collaboration of STEPS Autism Treehouse and presenting partner Eloff & Andrews Clinical Psychology (E&A), the Seminar presented a wealth of information for families living with autism and offered a unique professional development opportunity for carers, educators, occupational therapists and psychologists all of whom were in attendance.

STEPS CEO Kerry Staines said it was fantastic to see so many from the community attend, with people from as far away as Lismore travelling to the Sunshine Coast for this event.

“It clearly shows there is a need for world-class autism resources locally, and it’s through events like this that STEPS Autism Treehouse can connect Sunshine Coast families, children and young people living with autism and provide support to our community with access to resources and education,” Kerry said.

E&A’s Managing Director Karra Eloff said their dedicated autism team supports hundreds of individuals and families on the Sunshine Coast adjusting to a diagnosis of autism.

“These families and the other professionals that support them in our community deserve access to world-class resources and support. We were excited to bring this to the Coast alongside STEPS through the Autism Seminar,” Karra said.

World-renowned autism specialist Professor Tony Attwood presented on key and timely topics such as identifying the distinctive learning style of children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and focussing on cognitive abilities for better learning, creating ASD friendly classrooms, strategies to reduce challenging behaviours and ways to reduce bullying and teasing.

Emceed by Claire Quarrell, the Seminar featured a panel of industry experts with global knowledge who were ready and primed to answer audience queries through an App called ‘Pigeonhole Live.’ Along with Professor Attwood, the panel consisted of Dr Johann Eloff of Eloff & Andrews Clinical Psychology, Dr Lisa Bridle from the Community Resource Unit, and Sara Thomas from STEPS’ Behaviour Support team. More than 71 questions were submitted by the engaged audience, proving once again there is a demand for information from local families living with autism and the professionals who support them.

In attendance were an array of exhibitors with a vast array of information, educational resources and support services on offer including National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planners, Eloff and Andrew Clinical Psychology, Chatter-Boxes Speech Pathology, Happy Eaters Feeding Clinic, All About Autism, Stripes Special Needs Resources, Bushkids, Montrose and Enhanced Health and Fitness.

Kerry said the success of the seminar was due to many in the community. “We’re incredibly grateful to Eloff & Andrews Clinical Psychology who made the event possible along with the Maroochy RSL for their sponsorship and hospitality,” she said.

“A big thank you to our speakers, experts and exhibitors, but mostly, we are thankful for everyone who bought a ticket and carved time out of their busy schedules to attend and make the day the success that it was.”

After the success of the inaugural seminar, STEPS aims to expand this event into a two day, autism conference in 2020 where participants can access the most up to date information and research and put the Sunshine Coast on the map as a place where people living with autism can access resources, life skills programs, social events and world-class knowledge.

“We’re continuing to listen to the community, evolving and growing our services so we can fill the gaps and meet the needs of families locally,” Kerry said.

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