mother and daughter at home with modern decor


Warragul mother-of-two Janelle Moxey knows life could have been a lot harder if she hadn’t done Triple P’s Stepping Stones program in the early days of raising her son.

Diagnosed with severe autism from the age of two, son Harrison – now 12 and a student at Warragul & District Specialist School - is also non-verbal, so communication and behaviour management were always going to be a challenge.

Janelle and husband Anthony decided early on they would do everything they could to give Harrison the chance to reach his full potential, including accessing specialist support and becoming more informed about parenting a child with special needs.

“Signing up to do a Stepping Stones program when Harrison was little really helped a lot, because it made us feel more confident about managing his behaviour by putting in place rules, routines and boundaries that matched where he was at developmentally,” Mrs Moxey said.

“The positive parenting strategies we learnt all those years ago continue to make a huge difference to our family life.” 

For parents of children with a disability, the extra demands of parenting a child with special needs can intensify at holiday time, when schedules change and support systems can be reduced. But a new, free program in the Latrobe Valley is set to make a difference.

Latrobe City Council and the shires of Baw Baw and Wellington have banded together to host a series of free Triple P – Positive Parenting Program seminars in the lead-up to Christmas for parents of children with special needs aged 2 to 12.

Triple P’s Stepping Stones seminars are specifically for parents of children with a disability and/or developmental delay including Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  

The seminars focus on showing parents how to encourage children to reach their potential, giving practical, step-by-step tips on how to change challenging behaviour into positive behaviour.

Parents, grandparents and carers can register to attend here.

Triple P’s Professor Matt Sanders said children with a disability experience higher rates of emotional and behavioural problems, which can be very challenging for parents to manage.

Mrs Moxey said while it can be mentally draining to have to constantly monitor where Harrison is and to repeat instructions over and over, she found having good routines in place and planning ahead really helped keep the stress levels down.

“Just like any family, some days are better than others, but overall I feel we have a good system in place at home which gives Harrison the support, nurturing and structure he needs,” she said.


Seminar details:

Stepping Stones – Changing problem behaviour into positive behaviour

Tuesday, 4th December, 10:30am12:00pm

Maffra Neighbourhood House, 48 Kent Street, Maffra


Wednesday, 5th December, 9:30am11:00am

Latrobe Special Developmental School, Hickox Street, Traralgon


Monday, 10th December, 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Yarram Community Hub Meeting Room, 156 Grant Street, Yarram


Wednesday, 12th December, 9:30am11:00am

Comfort Inn Drouin, 275 Princes Way, Drouin