AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE CHANGING
AND LIFE–SAVING PROGRAM FOR
YOUNG, DIVERSE AND AUTISTIC WOMEN*
The autistic author (self-diagnosed after her child's autism diagnosis) created, developed and delivered, ROARHEART™, a highly successful and liberating program (a project that began in 1998, delivered between 2010 - 2015) with astounding outcomes for young, diverse and autistic women aged 12 - 25 years.
Who bravely and courageously made the decision to entirely devote their life, putting their career, business or launching the program nationally on hold, to be their autistic, neurodivergent child's 24/7 Carer. First assisting their and their child's recovery due to the trauma from the education system to discover a ROARHEART™ approach to their young child's autistic/neurodivergent learning and living which made sense as the approach, without question, demonstrated it's extraordinary success with supporting and reconnecting traumatised, disengaged and struggling diverse young women.
Understanding the ROARHEART™ program provided opportunities where there were none. It was excruciating for the author not being able to launch the program after nearly 2 decades of dedicated and relentless work on the amazing project.
"... many adults find the journey to diagnosis difficult as there are NO public ASD diagnostic assessment teams for adults, there is a lack of awareness amongst health and allied health professionals, and there are NO targeted intervention therapies for adults with ASD."
The other facilitator of the program, late self-diagnosed autistic (after their child's autism diagnosis), are also assisting their child's recovery as a 24/7 Carer due to the trauma from the education system, as it is, and family violence. Their life too is 'on hold' to help save their's and their own child's life as well, fighting for government, emergency and professional assistance support for them both.
In the meantime, while the ROARHEART™ program is 'on hold' both the program developer and it's facilitator are learning how to be 'participants' and their children are the 'facilitators'. To learn how to support their children to LOVE, TRUST, REVEL and LEAD with their brilliant autism and neurodivergence by FOLLOWING THEIR CHILDREN'S INBUILT INEXPLICABLE INNER KNOWLEDGE – their intuition – in all matters concerning them, before taking the program to the world.
"My parent (also late self–diagnosed autistic/neurodivergent) remembered and shared with me, 2 days before putting this blurb together when she hugged a 150–year–old Morton Bay Fig Tree she heard these words...
Be less concerned with what you build and be more concerned about
TRULY LIFE CHANGING AND INSPIRING!
“When I first attended your group with grandma, I didn’t think it would impact me like it has...that something has lit up again. It lit up and it’s burning.”
– Young woman 16 yrs.
The ROARHEART™ program is a person centred holistic creative program for neurodiverse women 12 - 25 yrs identifying all the needs on the Social Model of Health. It is a non-clinical, self-management, self-lead structure with a non–mono approach where the young person’s needs are identified underpinning issues for the young person is addressed.
Twenty–five ROARHEART™ programs have been delivered over a period of five years.
The program’s aims were to provide opportunities linking and increasing participants’ engagement to learning and employment, mental health and other medical services, counselling, community events and organisations, peer support and volunteer work, leisure and recreational activities.
86% of participants disclosed family violence, sexual assault, self harm, addiction, eating disorders and being victims of bullying.
The program attracted and successfully supported many young women on the Autism Spectrum.
The program is based upon a book written by the author who survived undiagnosed autism, family violence, addiction, mental illness, eating disorders, poor body image, self-hate, depression, difficult relationships, financial insecurity, unemployment and struggles with day–to–day living who developed a new way of living to live a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life.
“I learnt heaps, especially from the sex education,
it helped me confront some of my own issues.”
– Young woman 15 yrs
“As a facilitator of the program I get to witness young women’s transformations from silent suffering, the pretending everything is ok to being reconnected with themselves, others and their community.
The author has taken self-recovery programs and biographical books to a whole new level exposing her most embarrassing and shameful experiences – “leaving nothing out” – to shine a loving light on our human complexities and vulnerabilities.”
The idea behind the ROARHEART™ program has always been about letting others experience the freedom from inner isolation. The book smashes through the lack of possible sharing and transparency in our society and in our homes around our humanness compounded by the pressure to be perfect and have everything together.
I experienced being transformed by her honesty and completely raw and uncensored words. I found myself crying one minute and laughing the next “there was nowhere to hide”. I feel, this book could have been written by any girl, anywhere.
The profound program empowers young women (& non-binaries) to share and disclose those things they too struggle with in their own lives in a creative, non-judgmental and safe space.
Coming from a professional counselling back ground the difference I find in both the book and it’s program is the approach, its where the magic lies, it’s not about teaching – it’s about sharing and why the program has been so successful.”
“Reducing violence against women"
Participant before the program, was being repeatedly sexually assaulted by a family member. Having disclosed for the first time in a group session she had the support and courage to tell her mother and together they reported the crime to the police and the person was arrested. She is now safe and protected
“Communities are safe and free from violence”
Participant who was unemployed and disengaged from education experiencing physical abuse by a parent, sexually assaulted as a child and by an ex partner – returned to education, became a peer support person, an active volunteer in the community, found independent living, started her own photography business and fostering a child.
“Services meet the needs of women and their children”
Participant, experienced family violence throughout her childhood, including sexual assault, become homeless and despairing having been financially providing for her drug addicted parent and four younger siblings – during the program she received prenatal and housing support by the auspice agency of the program, became a successful business woman and mother of twins, living together with her partner.
“Increasing the voice of women in the community”
Participant, at risk of leaving education and survivor of family violence, family displaced for safety – never spoken in public before the program spoke to three service clubs, up to 50 members (mainly male attendees) about her positive experiences of the ROARHEART™ program and being a key speaker for a Family Violence Prevention Network project for the White Ribbon Day Event sharing her experience of surviving family violence and an advocate to reduce family violence and violence at school.
“Addresses the broader determinants of health”
A survivor of sexual assault (sex trafficking), suffered from depression, anxiety and other complex issues was unable to leave the house – who, after experiencing the program became a ROARHEART™ program peer support person, returned to education, became an active volunteer for her community, attended community activities, sought support from sexual assault services, and received 2 offers from local Universities where she is now studying and pursuing a career she’s passionate about.
ROARHEART™ PROGRAM STATISTICS
"MOST DON'T TALK" - 86% DO IN THIS PROGRAM!
THE PERCENTAGE OF DISCLOSURES
- INTERNAL ASSESSMENT -
86% Disclosed at least once: sexual assault, family violence, self harm, bullying, homelessness, disordered eating/poor body image
34% Disclosed Sexual assault
41% Experienced Family violence
56% Experienced bullying at school
54% Eating disorders/Disordered Eating/Poor Body Image
39% Mental Health issues
23% Experienced Suicide attempts/planning
59% Self-harm (pulling hair, cutting, substance abuse, eating disorders)
ENGAGEMENT - EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT
46% Engaged to mental health services (Internal assessment)
15% Increase to returning to education (Internal assessment)
31% Increase to education participation (Internal assessment)
ENGAGEMENT - INTERNAL ASSESSMENT
49% Engaged with a supporting Auspice Agency Support Worker
22% Started employment
51% Engaged with the programs Secret Facebook page
27% Stayed engaged with the program's fortnightly youth lead group
54% Stayed engaged with the program after the 12 week program
55% Engaged with community events and activities
22% Became peer support persons for the programs
23% Connected with other community services
27% Volunteered in their community
79% Felt more satisfied with themselves
88% Felt more active
84% Felt increased comfort in their relationships
84% Felt healthier
Vulnerable groups recognised by the Government vulnerable to Family Violence who participated in the ROARHEART™ program 2014
26% Had a Disability
5% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
2 % Disclosed Sexuality/LGBTI
34% Mental Health issues
100% Live rural
17% Homeless/temporarily homeless
“Yes having the opportunity to learn about health, relationships, everything that was talked about helped me realise that I’m no different to everyone else.
I use to think I was ugly and that no one liked me.
I actually feel good about myself, no one is better than me.
I’m perfect in my own way.
I like myself a lot more and realise who I am”
– 19 yrs, single mum