Mother leads change in her community

Jaki French and a group from her Indigenous community

Jaki French (pictured here holding a certificate) is a Kamilaroi woman and mother to a young man with autism. She, and others in her community, have been a driving force behind the development of many new resources for Aboriginal families of school aged students with autism.

Mrs French has been passionate about being involved with Positive Partnerships. She believes it is crucial that parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and community Elders talk about, and take action to support, children with diverse learning needs.

In an open letter to Aboriginal families who attend Positive Partnerships get togethers, she says ‘before [my son] came along, many Aboriginal people in my community weren’t aware of what autism actually is and how it affects people. I believe that the whole community has a special responsibility to [these] children … and their families’.

‘Step up and do whatever you have to do to take care of these special kids’, concludes Mrs French.

‘Finding out about Kevin’ is a special storytelling resource that was released on World Autism Awareness Day (April 2, 2014) at a special event in Kamilaroi Country (Moree, NSW) in recognition of Mrs French’s incredible contribution to the production. A sequel, 'Understanding Kevin', and a related video, 'A Mother's Story' (based on the words Mrs French wrote in her original open letter for Aboriginal families), have also since been released.

All the videos can be viewed here.