SASI's Swonnell House in Mentone is the only autism specific (including Asperger Syndrome) respite facility in Victoria where short term overnight care can be provided for children from all over Victoria aged between five to 18 years.
This five bed respite house offers a warm and homely environment. For some parents and carers it provides regular respite and relief on a rotational basis, enabling them to enjoy a break from the demands of caring for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Others find it useful on special occasions. Whether the child is at Swonnell for a few hours, a day or overnight, all parents and carers are comforted knowing the child is receiving high quality care from experienced staff within an enjoyable and supportive environment.
The focus at Swonnell is to ensure children have a great time. Respite children enjoy a variety of in-house and community-based activities, with staff actively encouraging all children to participate to their full potential. Special weekend sleepovers for girls and boys are popular.
SASI provides on-going support and training to our staff to ensure the quality of care provided is of the highest standard and that care and support strategies utilised are current.
Generally the house is staffed at a ratio of one staff person to two children, however there is some capacity to provide 1:1 support if required. Funding for 1:1 respite care can be negotiated with case managers.
Prior to a child being accepted for respite care, an assessment is undertaken by SASI staff to gather detailed information on the child in order to maintain a positive behaviour management approach that is consistent with the one taken by family, schools and other services. Where necessary SASI will develop, or contribute to the development of, a Behaviour Support Plan, and attend case meetings.
Swonnell House operates year round, excluding Christmas day, offering five respite beds each night.
"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, 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."
Matthew and Aaron’s mum, Helen
When Cohen stays at Swonnell House I get the chance to enjoy some personal time and take a break form the stress of being a carer.
Cohen’s mum, Jenni
"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, and a break for 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."
Jarrod’s mum, Sue
To get up to date information on the fee schedule, please email or ring SASI on (03) 9773 6044.