As WA faces the imminent closure of Noah’s Ark in Morley, currently the only specialist toy and resource library catering specifically for children with special needs, a tiny Wheatbelt town has stepped in to start its own.
Tiny Seeds, operated by the Wongan Hills Therapy Group, will become the state’s only special needs resource library in operation after January 31, 2018.
The resource library was officially launched in Wongan Hills on Sunday, December 3.
Tiny Seeds was the brainchild of Heydi de Waal, a mother to two children with special needs.
When her son Christian was diagnosed with autism six years ago, the diagnosis led her and her family on a journey which they never anticipated.
Realising that all the services her son required were based in the metropolitan area, Heydi began making the onerous five hour return journey to Perth, sometimes weekly, just to take her son to therapy sessions, often with his younger brother in tow, and having to miss days of school to do so.
It didn’t take long for the pressure to mount, forcing the family to think of alternatives.
The Wongan Hills Therapy Group started five years ago when Heydi met another mum in a similar situation, and they decided to do something about the lack of resources and support for regional families.
Apart from running a regular weekly therapy program at the local school, with a team of trained volunteers, the group successfully lobbied for a private visiting therapy service, and began purchasing specialist resources to loan to families so mums could use them at home to work on therapy goals with their child.
Tiny Seeds now contains over 500 high-quality resources for any family, therapist, tutor, support worker, playgroup, school or childcare centre to borrow.
Borrowing is available on-demand and will not be restricted to a specific time each week.
The loan period is also long so that families can come from hundreds of kilometres away and not be under pressure to return items in a fortnight.
The entire catalogue can also be viewed online with information sheets about each item available to download.
For further information on the Wongan Hills Therapy Group, contact Heydi on 0499 968 401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.