Early Connections Alliance Network named the winner of the Champions of Inclusion Excellence Award.

Winners: Early Connections Alliance Network has been named the winner of the Champions of Inclusion Excellence Award.

Winners: Early Connections Alliance Network has been named the winner of the Champions of Inclusion Excellence Award.

The Early Connections Alliance Network has been named the winner of the Champions of Inclusion Excellence Award.

The Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) Excellence Awards celebrate excellence, passion, vision and commitment to assist children with developmental delay or disability and their families to achieve their goals. 

Beth Todd, director Port Macquarie/Hastings and Caryn Maher, program manager Coffs Coast presented at the State Conference in Sydney about the unique formation of the Early Connections Alliance Network in 2016.

With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) five forward thinking early childhood intervention programs from Taree to Coffs saw the need to build stronger partnerships.

The teams worked collaboratively for 18 months to develop a strong and connected Early Childhood Intervention Network on the Mid North Coast resulting in the creation of the new Early Connections Alliance Network.

“We’re thrilled to receive this award which recognises our outstanding commitment to putting in place additional supports for children to participate meaningfully in their families, community and early childhood settings,” Beth Todd said.

Last year, Early Connections launched Accept Difference, a social awareness campaign advocating for a more inclusive community.

“Accept Difference began with a television commercial based on a family’s experience. The campaign focuses on promoting positive personal stories and examples of inclusion and received millions of views online.”

The Accept Difference commercial went global on social media and producer Nancy Sposato presented at the ECIA Conference about the impact of the campaign.

 “We’re delighted the campaign is shining a light on understanding disabilities and inclusive communities. Accepting that difference is part of being human is the message. Early intervention is crucial but inclusive communities throughout a person's life is essential.”

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