Autistic Children’s Residential Respite
SASI’s Swonnell House in Mentone offers short-term overnight care for children aged between five and 18 years. This warm five-bed home is the only autism-specific (including Asperger Syndrome) respite facility in Victoria.
A break for carers
Some parents and carers enjoy regular respite and relief on a rotational basis, while their children spend time at this cosy home. During this time carers can relax and enjoy a well-deserved break from the demands of caring for a child with ASD. Other carers find it useful to use children’s residential respite on special occasions.
Focused fun for the kids
The focus at Swonnell is to ensure children have a great time. Respite children enjoy a variety of in-house and community-based activities. Staff encourage children to fully participate in all activities. Special weekend sleepovers for girls and boys are popular.
SASI staff receive ongoing support and training. This ensures the care provided is of the highest standard and that their support strategies are up-to-date.
Secure and safe
Swonnell house is generally staffed at a ratio of one staff member to two children. However, 1:1 support can be provided if required. Funding for 1:1 respite care can be negotiated with case managers.
SASI staff conduct an assessment of each child before respite care is offered. This allows staff to stay consistent with the positive behaviour management adopted by family, schools and other services. Where necessary SASI develops (or contributes to) the development of a Behaviour Support Plan and attends case meetings.
Swonnell House operates year round, excluding Christmas Day, offering five respite beds each night.
Matthew and Aaron’s mum
Mathew says he loves going to Swonnell House because of the playground and to meet new friends. Aaron enjoys feeding and holding the guinea pigs and going on the bus trips – especially to McDonalds! I just enjoy seeing my boys happy and engaged. They’re experiencing new activities and forming new friendships. Their confidence, social skills and independence has improved since starting at Swonnell House and they look forward to their visits.
When Cohen stays at Swonnell House I get the chance to enjoy some personal time and take a break from the stress of being a carer.
Jarrod likes sleeping at Swonnell House and going out on the bus. ‘I have a TV in my room and I can watch the Hot Seat. My favourite things are playing in the backyard and listening to the radio in the kitchen.’ He is always happy to go to Swonnell House. It’s a social opportunity for him, like a sleepover at a friend’s house. He also gets a break from the rest of the family. Some things are easier to do without Jarrod and it gives us time to focus on our other son Nathan.