Strengthening Parent Support Program
Gateways Strengthening Parent Support program is a free service which Gateways delivers in the Geelong region. It is 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.
Please refer to our COVID-19 Current Services Update page for a regularly updated list of available services, including Gateways Online programs.
- 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.
Gateways Parent Support Groups:
Down Syndrome Parent and Carers Group
Our Parent Support / Coffee Group meets on the first Thursday of the month during school term from 10.00-11.30am. Come along for a cuppa and meet other families in the area who have a child with Down syndrome. It meets at Gateways Support Services in Geelong West. For more information contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.
NDIS Parent Connect
This is a group with an NDIS focus. It is for parents and carers who have a child aged 0-18 who are receiving NDIS funding or planning on entering the scheme. The group is facilitated by Carolyn McDiarmid in conjunction with Association for Children with a Disability and will now take place on the 1st Tuesday of the month during term from 10.00am-11.30am. It meets at Gateways Support Services, Geelong West. For more information contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.
ADHD & ADD Parent Support Group – This group is for parents and carers of children with ADHD/ADD aged up to 12 years. It is facilitated by Carolyn McDiarmid and is a good opportunity to meet with other parents and carers. The meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month during term from 10.00-11.30am. For more information contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.
Autism & Aspergers Parent Information and Support Group – This group is for parents and carers with a child aged 0-18 with Asperger syndrome or ASD. It is facilitated by Veronica Graff who is a parent and health care professional and takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of the month during term from 10.00-11.30am. For more information contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.
Healthy Mums Walking Group – Our new Parent Support Group is aimed at mums caring for a child with a disability taking some time to focus on their own health. This is a gentle walking group that will be meeting at the Waterfront Carousel, 1 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong, on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 9.30am, rain, hail or shine. Dress appropriately. For more information contact Carolyn McDiarmid at Gateways.
Other Geelong Support Groups:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
Down Syndrome Parents and Carers Group– 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Klein on 0434 649 363 or email email@example.com 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. www.grow.org.au
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 Nelson.firstname.lastname@example.org
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.