Gateways Strengthening Parent Support Coordinator is here to work with, and provide information and support to parents and carers of children with a disability or additional needs.

Parent Support Groups

Our Parent Support Groups provide peer support for parents and carers of children and teenagers with disabilities

Our Parent Support Worker can also help link families to Parent Support Groups operating in their area. Many families enjoy meeting others facing similar challenges for ideas and support. Gateways run a number of Parent Support Groups in the Geelong Area which are outlined below:

Gateways Parent Support Groups:

ADHD & ADD Parent Support Group – This group is for parents who have children with ADHD/ADD aged from birth up to the end of primary school. It meets at Gateways Support Services in Geelong West on the second Thursday of the month, 10-11.30am, excluding school holidays. The facilitator is Carolyn McDiarmid, Gateways Parent Support Worker. For more information contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.

Autism & Aspergers Parent Support Group –  This group is held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month (excluding school holidays) from 10am – 11.30am. A parent support group facilitated by a parent, Veronica, who understands the issues involved. This is a great opportunity to connect with other parents and discuss topics of interest. For more information, contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.

Gateways MyTime Group –This peer support group is for parents and carers who care for a child (0-16) with a disability or chronic medical condition. The aim is for carers to have the opportunity to talk with other carers in a supportive environment with the assistance of a facilitator.  A play helper is there to care for children (under school age) in an adjoining room. The group meets on Friday mornings from 10am  – 11.30am at Norlane Community Centre in Gerbera Avenue, Norlane.   For dates & more information, contact Carol Fogg at Gateways.

NDIS Parent Connect –This is a general disability parent support group with a focus on NDIS for parents and carers of a child 0-18. The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 11.00am – 12.30pm at Gateways Support Services. For more information, contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.

Other Geelong Support Groups are listed below:

Autism Awareness Walk Geelong

The community come together for the Autism Walk Geelong to raise awareness of Autism.

Bethany Kinship Care Service Support Groups – Kinship Care is where a relative or close friend has primary care of a child who cannot live with their parents. 1300 557 611

BRAINS – A support, information and advocacy group for carers who have a family member / child with an acquired brain injury (ABI). Meets monthly in Newcomb. Contact Jen on  0429 040 534 or Vanda on 5257 3404.

The Treehouse Autism Family Support Service – An open house support group where everyone is welcome. The Treehouse office is located upstairs at 62A Ryrie St, Geelong. Contact Lisa on 0419 506 519. The Treehouse is volunteer based and runs various support and social groups for kids and adults.

Barwon Valley Parent Support – Please contact Sonya Gregorio, Wellbeing Officer at the school for details  on 5243 1813.

Bellarine Parents Network – This network is for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder on the Bellarine Peninsula. It aims to share resources, ideas, stories, have fun and meet others in similar situations. This group is currently not running, however to express interest in joining the group at a later stage, contact Dyanne on 5251 3581 or email

City of Greater Geelong Supported Playgroups – There are a number of groups that run at various locations around Geelong. They are a facilitated playgroup for children with additional needs. Please contact Sue Ellis for locations and further details at COGG on 52724781 or

Down Syndrome Family Network Group – a warm and welcoming group for parents and carers of children with Down syndrome (with a focus on younger children). There are various catch-ups over the year. Contact Julie Penfold on 0407 886 954 or email or Sarah Klein on 0434 649 363 or email for dates and more information.

Epilepsy Support Group – A monthly group for parents and carers of children who are living with epilepsy, located at 7/265 Pakington St, Newtown. Call 5223 1769 for dates.

Grow Caregivers Group – This group is for people caring for someone with mental health issues. It runs twice per month in Geelong on the second and fourth Wednesday from 1-3pm at Salvation Army. Contact Kiran on 0448 051 540 or 1800 558 268 for more information.

Lara Coffee Group – this group is for parents of children with various disabilities and meets to have a coffee and a chat in a friendly, informal setting at Xpresso Café in Lara, monthly on a Friday during school term. Contact Aileen Wiesebrock for dates on 5282 3414.

Nelson Park Parent Group – This group is for parents and carers of students attending the school and meets at Nelson Park Special School. Contact Stacey Maxwell, Student Well Being Officer on 5278 3620 or email

Early Days Workshop – Promoting the development of children on the autism spectrum. Early days workshops are for parents and carers of children 0-6 with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or who are currently undergoing a diagnosis. Amaze (Autism Victoria) facilitates these workshops in Victoria 1300 307 909.

Geelong Parent Network – support group available for families with adult children with disabilities. Meets 3rd Wednesday of the month 10am. This is an informal group made up of members who are family carers of people with intellectual disabilities in the Geelong Region. Contact Dot on 5244 4622.

Strengthening Parent Support Program

Gateways Strengthening Parent Support program is a free service designed to empower and support families in caring for your child with a disability or additional need

Our Strengthening Parent Support Coordinator is available to give emotional and practical help and advice to  parents, carers and family members. They can:

  • Provide information and support via telephone, email or face to face
  • Link you to advocacy services to provide support at planning meetings
  • Organise guest speakers and information sessions relating to parenting and disability
  • Provide support via disability specific parent support groups
  • Support you to access Gateways resource library of books and DVDs
  • Provide informative updates via our monthly parent support newsletter
  • Will respect your privacy and confidentiality at all times
  • Provide community education to professionals, service providers, students and the general community regarding issues for families of children with a disability

For more information about this free service contact Gateways Strengthening Parent Support Coordinator via Contact Us or call 5221 2984.

Autism Training

Gateways are acknowledged as the specialist provider of services to children and adults with autism in the Barwon region, with a particular focus on people with complex needs including challenging behaviour

Our skilled and knowledgeable staff are available to provide information and training to parents, carers and family members.

We provide training to parents, carers and family members of individuals who have an NDIS plan with the following NDIS supports:

  • Parenting Training Relating to Disability
    (NDIS reference number 15 007)
  • Training for Carers
    (NDIS reference number 15 008)

Gateways Autism education and training program will:

  • Provide a minimum 5 hour comprehensive and personalised ‘Understanding Autism’ training program based on your needs
  • Work individually with you and your family to learn more about autism
  • Help you to develop practical tools and strategies for you to use
  • Show you how to create and use social scripts

For more information please contact Gateways Respite, Recreation & Family Support Manager  via Contact Us or call 5221 2984.