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‘Embracing the amazing’ for Autism

Thursday 30 March 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Health, Local, National


‘Embracing the amazing’ for Autism
Autism Cook Islands families met up over the weekend at the Aumata Mini Golf in Arorangi. PC: AUTISM CIs. 23032709

For Autism Cook Islands (ACI) family networking is all about families coming together for fellowship in a fun and safe environment.

More than 16 families met for the first networking event this year at the Aumata Mini Golf in Arorangi on Sunday.

Vice President Tony Fe’ao welcomed the new members who have joined the organisation and also thanked the volunteers who help run their programmes and Papa Mata for hosting the team at Mini Golf.

“We have had nine new families join our programmes and as we promote more awareness and acceptance this number is growing,” said Fe’ao.

Next week on Thursday, April 6 is Blue Day, the theme is “Embrace the Amazing” so join in wearing something blue to show your support for Autism Cook Islands.

Gloria Rarere-Tinirau President of ACI says, “we would love organisations, businesses and schools to partner with us for our 5th Annual Blue Day and we would like to encourage colleagues, staff, and students to wear something blue on the day and make a donation towards Autism Cook Islands.”

Autism Cook Islands has continued to be active and provide support to families as much as possible, some highlights from last year are: the Autism Hub in Matavera - this marks the progression of the last five years and is a significant step up; the Lego Masters programme for Preschool, Primary and High Schools is still running and currently there are 24 family’s attending this course; and social development continues through swimming, badminton and Rippa-Rugby.

“We appreciate our partner organisations who make this possible – Cook Islands Aquatics Federation, Badminton Cook Islands & Cook Islands Rugby Union,” said Rarere-Tinirau.

The Transition Programme was also launched last year with parent’s/volunteers and coaches, hosting a successful cooking programme at the Hub and worksite visits to Avarua Bakery and Airport Aviation & Security.

Specialised resources were provided or children to address specific areas, including a one on one reading programme.

“We’ve received some great feedback from families of the positive changes in their children so far and are excited to be able to continue this work in 2023 and reach more children with the ongoing support of our community.

“We appreciate your continued support of Autism Cook Islands and our initiatives to bring out the best in all those with Autism living in the Cook Islands,” said Rarere-Tinirau.

Kat Jensen the Programme Manager said, “this year’s successful Term 1 programmes has had 26 family’s attend the Lego Masters and Swimming Programme.”

The upcoming school holidays programme/visits as part of the April Autism Awareness Month will include the Bedrock Sculpture Visit and Art Class, Airport Fire and Aviation Visit, Yoga with CISNOC and a Basic Vehicle Maintenance workshop.

For those who are keen to be a part of Blue Day please confirm via email to your interest and key contact person and an information pack will be sent out.

T-Shirts are available to be purchased today Thursday, please call Kat Jensen on phone 73141. A booth will be set up next week opposite the Police Station on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.