Firstchance is a not for profit organisation which operates both Early Childhood Intervention and School Aged Programs. Firstchance runs its quality programs with a combination of government grants, parent fees and money raised through fundraising activities.
All Firstchance programs have a family-centred approach to the provision of services.
We operate according to the folowing philosophy:
At Firstchance we believe that each family is the expert on their child and that every child, young person and family come with their own strengths, capabilities and diversity.
We recognise the value of working together with families and other services in supporting families to achieve their goals and aspirations.
We value the importance of building, supporting and fostering relationships and for families to connect with each other and their communities.
Our programs are therefore based on current research and innovative approaches that support children and young people to learn through play, experiences, interactions and their environment.
We acknowledge and respect the traditional owners of the land on which we provide services to families and communities.
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Early Childhood Intervention Program
Firstchance has been operating a quality early childhood intervention program at the Special Education Centre at the University of Newcastle since 1978. The program caters for the needs of infants and young children (aged 0 – 6 years) with disabilities and their families.
Families from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens can access programs which are conducted in:
- the Special Education Centre on the campus of the University of Newcastle
- Salamander Bay
- Raymond Terrace
- family homes (where families meet the Home Base program criteria)
- local preschools or child care centres (upon referral)
The early childhood intervention program aims to provide for the developmental, social and educational needs of children (from birth to school entry) who have a diagnosed disability or whose development is delayed or is considered to be at risk of delay. Children who require support with their social and emotional development may also be eligible for inclusion.
School Aged Programs
Firstchance offers two School Aged Programs:
Strengthening Families is a school aged program that supports families of children and young people with a disability (6-18 years) living in the Lake Macquarie area. The primary aim is to support the family unit including the parents/carers, siblings and the young person with a disability so that they develop the skills and confidence to advocate for their family to ensure their rights are respected. We offer the following services:
- Parent Training workshops Regular Newsletters
- Support via home visits
Strengthening Families assists families with their decision making at key transition times, helps prepare for planning meetings at school or with other service providers and links families with support networks.
Teen Time offers vacation care and after school hours care at the Lakeside Special School for young people with a disability. Referrals are through NSW Family and Community Services - Ageing Disability & Home Care on 4978 6100.
For more information on any of Firstchance's activities, call us on 02 4921 6277.
We are proud to have Natasha Beyersdorf as our Patron.
"Firstchance really lives up to its name, giving young people with disabilities the best possible start to life.
As the mother of a special needs child, I understand how vital it is for youngsters and their families to have dedicated and targeted support.
It's life changing.
I'm honoured to be a patron for Firstchance and look forward to helping the organisation grow its services and profile into the future".