Page 2606 - Week 07 - Thursday, 18 June 2009

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disorders and other speech impediments. Autism Asperger ACT says that the benefits of blowing bubbles can include the improvement of oral motor skills, exercising and strengthening eye muscles by watching bubbles float away, attention skills, hand-eye coordination and relaxation. In addition to these benefits of blowing bubbles, Bubble Day has a special symbolism in that many sufferers of autism spectrum disorders feel like they are living in a bubble.

The aim of Bubble Day is to break out of this bubble and seeks to develop a better understanding in the community about ASDs and the specific needs of children with ASDs and the needs of families. It is also to help develop the social skills of those suffering from disorders. There are some simple things that children can do at school and in the community to help children with ASDs. For example, someone with a disorder, if they are distressed, might forget to ask for help. This day is all about telling students that if they are aware someone is suffering from a disorder and is in distress, they need to tell their teacher to ensure that that person can be looked after.

The schools I visited organised a range of activities to promote Bubble Day and awareness amongst their student body. Each of these schools had a unique approach to Bubble Day but with a common outcome—a better awareness and understanding about autism spectrum disorders. I enjoyed visiting Melba preschool and learning of the proactive ways staff are engaging with students. The students all benefit from the strong parent body and very committed staff. My visit to Weetangera primary school was very informative about the modern techniques used to teach all students about autism spectrum disorders. The school is a leader in building a positive and inclusive culture about the disorder. I found my visit to the Cranleigh school a pleasure, as the work that is undertaken there is an absolute inspiration. The dedication of the teachers, assistants, administrators, parents, friends and students is exceptional.

I would like to thank Robin Tobler, the convener of the fundraising subcommittee at Autism Asperger ACT, for coordinating my visits to the schools for these events. I was very touched by the hospitality I received at the schools. Thank you to all the teachers and school communities involved in this year’s Bubble Day, and I look forward to many more bubble days to come.

Canberra BusinessPoint

Estimates 2009-2010—Select Committee

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (4.19): I have two matters I want to raise. Firstly, I want to share with people the Canberra BusinessPoint gala dinner and awards night that occurred last week. These awards are a fitting tribute to another successful year of Canberra BusinessPoint and an opportunity provided to the Canberra community. It is particularly encouraging to see that so many businesses have taken advantage of a range of services offered by the Canberra BusinessPoint team at Deloitte Growth Solutions. There was an overwhelming number of nominees and entries in this year’s awards. There were awards across five categories.

I think it is fitting for Canberra business to be recognised so I would like to make note of the winners across five categories. The Wise Academy took out the business plan award, mHITs Ltd took out the innovation and commercialisation award, Virids E3

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