Camp autism is a not-for-profit NGO that organises weekend camps and activities for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. Based in West Australia, it is however not confined to any one area, with members from all over the country. Camp Autism was founded in 2008 by Mary and Bryan West, themselves parents of autistic children, under the banner of the Burdekin Community Church. The organisation has since grown in leaps and bounds and eventually disassociated itself with the church. It was incorporated in July of 2012.
The Camp Autism Vision
Camp Autism’s vision is to achieve awareness in greater Australia on what autism is and how society can help diagnosed individuals go about their daily lives. It envisions autistic children fulfilling their potential through the support of their families.
Camp Autism encourages families with members suffering from any of the following disabilities to join:
- Asperger’s syndrome, Sensory processing disorder
- ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and PDD NOS
- Fragile X, DiGeorge Syndrome or Williams Syndrome
- Sanfilippo Syndrome (mps3-mucopolysaccharidosis)
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Rett's Disorder, Bi Polar Disorder, OCD
- Anxiety Disorder, Select Mutism
- Dysgraphia, Heller's Disease
- Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
- Developmental Apraxia of Speech
- Lactic Acidosis, Prosopagnosia
- Conduct Disorder; among others
The activities that Camp Autism hosts are usually outdoors and range from kayaking to sand engineering. These camps and events are planned and executed by volunteer parents of autistic children.
Camp Autism plans family events with the aim of promoting the values of:
- Instilling life skills
From its inception in 2008, Camp Autism has purposed to build relationships between families affected by autism, fostering a sense of belonging and togetherness to overcome the challenges they face and to share valuable information and experiences.
Camp autism also hopes to give families with autistic members a relaxing weekend free from the stigmas faced in everyday life.
Although Camp Autism does not have much in the way of professional advice for families with autistic children, it has enjoyed substantial success through the family events, camps, and parties convened throughout the year. These camps provide a chance to network, a chance to share information between parents raising children having autistic challenges. The social outlook of the camps is also fostering friendship between the children, with no fear of stigmatisation as everybody at Camp Autism is aware of the disorder. Perhaps most importantly, these camps are a chance to relax and take a break from the rigours of caring for autistic individuals in day to day life. Listed below is a sample of the events planned for 2015:
- May 16th 2015 - Medieval day at Bli - Bli castle
- May 2015 - Fishing day at Tinaroo dam
- August 8th 2015 - Family fun day in Cooktown
- November 2015 - Picnic at New Farm Park
Supporting Camp Autism
As the organisation has grown, it became necessary to create a board of members to provide effective leadership and management of finances. The board is composed of elected parent members. Furthermore, since Camp Autism is a non-governmental organisation, it raises its funds through donations and fundraising events held throughout the year.
Over the years several sponsors have also assisted the noble the cause including:
- Parties Kids remember
- Mantra bunbury hotel; among others