Next steps: where to start looking for help

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There are many places you can start, on the journey to find services and support.

You can start with Aboriginal services

If think your child might have special needs, you could start by talking to an Aboriginal service: your local Aboriginal health service, your Co-operative or another Aboriginal service, such as VACCA, VACCHO, VAEAI or Victorian Aboriginal Health Services. You can find contacts for health services on the VACCHO website.

Most of these types of services don’t have specialist staff that can directly help your child with their special needs. But they have knowledge of the system, and can tell you where you can go for that help. And they might also give you advocacy and case management, to guide you through the system.

Aboriginal services can also help your family with housing, income and other supports. It might be hard for parents or carers to look for extra help for their child, if they’re stressed about meeting the family’s basic needs. It’s important to reach out for help during hard times for all your family’s needs.

Or you can start with mainstream services

You can start by talking to your GP or another mainstream health service. You can also get information about disability services from your Maternal and Child Health Service, through the local council.

All of these mainstream services can refer you to an early childhood intervention service or disability service. Or you can go straight to see these services yourself.

Aboriginal children often have priority at these services. So depending on the service and where you live, you might not have to wait long to see someone. Children can also often get help at no cost.

Other places to find information and support

Playgroups, parenting groups and support groups are another good way to find out information, and get support for yourself. You can find them through your health service, VACCA or Carers Victoria.

You can also contact the Department of Human Services directly, including the Centrelink Indigenous Hotline.

Or you can contact an advocacy organisation like the Association for Children with a Disability. You are very welcome to ring our ACD Support workers for information and help.

There are also regional disability advocacy organisations, and organisations that help children with particular special needs, such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome.

More information

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