Intuition wins through

Adult holding a child's hand

When her son Thomas Smith reached 14 months, Tania Snare began to suspect he had autism spectrum disorder. It wasn’t until he was five years old however, that Thomas was diagnosed and the quest for additional support began.

The Snare-Smiths' journey to diagnosis was fraught with uncertainty. Like many parents of children with autism, Tania spent years attaining confirmation of what she inherently knew - that Thomas’ behaviour did not stem from a lack of discipline. Yet without information or strategies, Tania felt powerless to help her son.

Her search for support began when, after diagnosis, a determined Tania asked “where do I seek help and educate myself so I can support Thomas on this lifetime journey?”

This fell into her lap, in the form of a flyer advertising a free Positive Partnerships parent and carer workshop.

“I remember walking into the workshop feeling very nervous, where I was greeted by the very friendly Positive Partnerships team,” says Tania. “I instantly felt at ease as everyone at this workshop was in the same boat as me.”

Camaraderie, optimism and a sense of pride were the markers of the two-day workshop. “We all had mutual admiration and respect for each other as we are on the autism spectrum journey together,” she recalls.

Tania’s experience with Positive Partnerships has been heartening, providing her the support and empowerment she so desperately sought.

“I can now voice and express my concerns for Thomas and myself,” says Tania, who adds “communication skills in working with Thomas’ school and the general public” among her list of key takeaways.

Tania and her partner Dion have since witnessed Thomas achieve significant milestones, including “improvements in academic, behaviour and communication within the classroom and outside school activities.”

Perhaps though the most rewarding outcome for the Smith family are the subtle signs of progress in Thomas, which for parents of children with Autism are deeply encouraging. Among these are “being invited to birthday parties, attending eisteddfod and walking with his arms around his friends” says Tania of Thomas, proudly.