The program was designed by the specialist team at the Autism Association of WA and has helped hundreds of children with Autism take participate at their local cricket clubs over the 2019-20 season.

WACA CEO Christina Matthews said the Autism in Cricket resource has produced incredible outcomes for children with Autism and the local cricket community.

“Our partnership with the Autism Association of WA has enabled us to support children with Autism and their families at all levels of the game by ensuring a more inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for everyone,” she said.

“It’s fantastic to see the positive impact the first season of this recourse has had on cricket club coaches, volunteers and participants across the State.

“We look forward to building on our strong partnership with the Autism Association of WA to ensure our cricket family can provide great opportunities and support for children and adults with a disability.”

Program ambassador, Adam Gilchrist supported the program from its very beginning and said that he was happy to be involved, knowing that it would make a difference in the lives of so many children.

“Cricket is about so much more than just the individual – it’s about the satisfaction and joy of being part of a team and belonging,” Adam said.

“Sadly, for the thousands of children living with Autism, this is something they have been missing out on or might never know – but the Autism in Cricket program is starting to change that.”

CEO of Autism Association WA, Joan McKenna Kerr said that the organisation was honoured to win the Excellence in Innovation Award at the National Disability Services (NDS) WA Awards today, which recognises the commitment of the team to finding innovative ways to improve the lives of children with Autism.

“Autism in Cricket is really about breaking down barriers for kids with Autism when it comes to community participation through sport and giving them meaningful ways to be involved, whether they are playing the game, score-keeping or helping out at the cricket club,” Joan said.

“We set out to make it as easy as possible for coaches, volunteers, children and their families and to show that, by using the practical advice and tools available, it is not hard to take children with Autism off the sidelines and get them involved in the game.

“As a community we ALL have a part to play – once we have achieved awareness and understanding of Autism, then we can really start breaking down the barriers to participation.

“Through this much-loved Australian sport, we can show the world how we can create an inclusive community of all people and all disabilities, especially the hidden disabilities which need more recognition.”

Junior cricket clubs can register their interest for the Autism in Cricket program online at autismincricket.com.au