Autism Awareness Australia is calling for all Australians to shine a bright blue light on autism today for Light It Up Blue – a campaign which sees the Opera House, Empire State Building, Trafalgar Square, the Pyramids and other iconic landmarks around the world lit up blue for World Autism Awareness Day.
With autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affecting one in every 100 Australians, there are few people who don’t have a friend or family member impacted by autism.
In fact, autism is the most common developmental disorder in Australia, with more children diagnosed than childhood diabetes, cancer and AIDS combined.
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April is World Autism Awareness Month, and Paula Leadbitter from Condobolin has been shortlisted to win a national award for her services to autism at the 2014 Aspect National Recognition Awards in Sydney on Tuesday, April 8. I
Paula has been nominated for the Aspect National Recognition Awards in the category of ‘Above and Beyond’ for her work as Teaching Principal at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School.
Under Paula’s leadership, St Joseph’s recently hosted a community information seminar to raise awareness about autism.
The school is a centre of excellence in pastoral care practices for students with autism, where the proportionally large enrolment of these children brings great challenges.
Despite these and the competing challenges of her split administrator/teacher role, Paula always exudes calm, confidence and warmth.
With her particular passion for supporting the social engagement of students with autism, Paula has overseen the implementation of comprehensive range of playtime options, including “retreat room” and art based group social skills programs amongst many more.
She is also passionate about involving parents in the development of their children’s individualised support plans.
Paula inspires and leads the whole school community, with her deep compassion, focus on practical strategies, lateral problem solving and flexible support options to adapt to and meet the ever-changing needs of St Joseph’s students with autism.