About Spectrum Connect

What do Spectrum Connect do?

Spectrum Connect Inc is a not-for-profit association who are dedicated to providing opportunities for Autistic kids to build social networks and try new experiences in safe environments. By creating spaces that are supportive of the needs of Autistic kids, we take some of the stress out of negotiating social situations. With some of those stresses reduced, the kids are freed to have fun in the space and learn their own tools for navigating relationships.

Importantly, we are NOT here to "teach" social skills, to encourage kids to mask their impulses or to pretend to be something they aren't. We feel strongly that script repetition or training to act like their neurotypical peers is, at best limiting, and at worst a cause of future trauma. These groups are specifically intended for the kids to develop their own skills, manners and coping mechanisms.

What are our organisation's mission and objectives?


Improve the overall well-being of Australian Autistic youth through providing Autism-informed events and activities that prioritise safety, advocacy, and empowerment.


1) Create safe supported spaces where Autistic individuals can connect, thrive, and celebrate their identity. Carers and family members are welcome and supported also.
2) Improve wellbeing of Autistic youth by integrating therapeutic processes with accessible recreational activities. Ensure that the individual’s unique challenges are addressed while promoting physical, mental, and emotional health.
3) Empower Autistic individuals to form meaningful connections with peers, fostering confidence, resilience, and a sense of belonging. We provide resources to support carers in facilitating these relationships.
4) Offer a variety of safe and supportive event options for Autistic children to explore diverse experiences. By encouraging them to try new things without fear of failure, we promote the development of dedicated interests and essential life skills.
5) Ensuring Autistic individuals feel secure, respected, and valued. Support carers in recognising opportunities to promote self-determination and navigate challenges.
6) Actively listen to and collaborate with Autistic individuals, elevating their voices and those of marginalised groups. We involve carers in supporting and advocating for Autistic voices.

By pursuing these objectives, we aim to relieve the challenges faced by Autistic youth and their carers, promoting well-being and inclusivity. 

How do Kids Club meetings work?

Spectrum Connect Kid’s Clubs are hosted in locations around Adelaide that are selected for specific requirements that relate to the needs of Autistic and ND youth. The spaces must be able to be divided into multiple areas, have appropriate lighting, have sound absorbing surfaces, are safe distances from main roads and can have entry points always observed.

Each week the groups provide a different primary activity. This serves multiple purposes. Primarily it removes the focus of the child from the group being a space specifically for socialising (which can be an anxiety inducing perspective for many children, particularly those with peer-based trauma), and places the focus on the shared activity. This in turn fosters a shared set of experiences for the children to create bonds and build relationships. Additionally, the weekly changing activity can provide continued novelty to the group participant, incentive to those who are reluctant to take a risk on social groups and opportunities for the children to try activities in a non-judgmental space where they are free to fail without consequence.

The nature of the focal entertainment is intended to provide opportunities for Autistic children to develop their gross and fine motor skills with activities that are supportive and likely to result in success. Sporting activities are structured to avoid situations that are frequently triggering (win/loss, being picked last, complicated rules) and instead prioritise reward for participation and being willing to try. Crafting activities are selected to appeal to the interests of the kids but with awareness of the broad range of skill levels represented. Past craft activities have included tasks such as customising skateboards, acrylic paint pouring on bear sculptures and building wooden model airplanes to name a few. These tasks have fostered creative expression while also supporting the participants to use spray paints, scissors, mixing skills, gluing and much more.

Beyond the primary focus we have the division of additional areas within the meeting space. Each venue has a separate quiet area for sensory regulation, a high energy area for proprioception regulation, board games and art supplies to provide low demand alternatives to the primary activity and encourage cooperative play and an outdoor space for sporting and high impact play. The meetings also have snacks provided, with awareness of supporting various dietary needs, supplied for interoception regulation. 

How do we tailor the program to support the needs of individual participants?

When members enroll in the Kids Club, the parents/carers are asked to complete two intake forms. The first is a basic enrolment form which addresses basic goals and consent requests. The second is a Behaviour Support Document to provide insight into the needs of the individual child including medical needs (co-occurring diagnoses, allergy awareness etc) as well as more specific advice on the strengths and challenges of the child. This document forms the basis of the initial support plan which is reviewed and updated regularly by the team leadership. This is additional to the attendance and progress reports generated at the end of each term.

Each week the team leadership review attendance lists with an eye to preparing for the week’s event. They identify the goals, strengths, and weaknesses of each participant enrolled for that week, looking for opportunities to increase engagement and reduce potential barriers. The team leadership then communicate with the hosting team to ensure that the children are supported according to their individual needs rather than assuming a one-size-all approach would be appropriate.

Who hosts the Kids Club meetings?

Spectrum Connect was founded by Kathryn and Mathew Grey who are children’s event planners and entertainers who have been working in child focused events since 2005. Over the years they have hosted events for groups such as Ronald McDonald House, Camp Quality, Cystic Fibrosis Camp NSW, Starlight Foundation, Aspect, Adelaide Fringe Festival, MS Foundation, Adelaide Festival Centre and many more.

Mathew and Kathryn are also the parents of an Autistic child, and they self-identify as members of the Neurodiverse community.

Consulting on the development of the program is a Behavioural Therapist and Developmental Educator, who regularly consults on group activities and periodically conducts site inspections on group meetings, providing feedback on participant behaviours as well as the physical set up of group spaces.

The weekly meetings are hosted at a three to one ratio of staff who are hired for a diverse range of experiences. Over half the team are neurodiverse, with the majority of those diagnosed as Autistic. The remainder of the team are comprised of students who are studying relevant degrees in the fields of youth work, social work, or psychiatry.

What are the benefits of our Kids Club program?

Participants engaged in the Spectrum Connect Kid’s Clubs Program have demonstrated significant increases in self confidence in social engagements. We have documented multiple cases of youth who have had significant anxiety-based behaviours who, after spending time attending a regular kids club as part of their broader range of supports, have gone on to have improved attendance at school and increased community engagements. Feedback from members has included improvement in the following areas.
• Emotional regulation
• Conflict resolution
• Social participation
• Confidence in engaging in community events (sports, art classes, drama classes)
• Communication skills
• Relationship building

Spectrum Connect Youth Group meeting rules

• No one has to do anything they don’t want to do.
• Everyone is welcome to use any items provided and be in any part of the space. This means you can use the items provided but also means you shouldn’t try to stop other members sharing the items with you. The privacy tents are the only exception to this rule.
• If someone is in the privacy tent please give them space. Only enter if they invite you.
• Each week there is a different activity. You don’t have to participate but we do ask you to try to listen to the introduction and explanation before you decide.
• Respect your fellow members and the staff. This means giving people space, no unwanted touching or crowding, no physical roughness, no name calling. Talk to others the way you would like them to talk to you.
• Respect the areas and use them for what they are for. The quiet area is for sitting and low energy, relaxing space. The Burn Off area is for energetic activities. The Creative and play space is for board games, drawing and other medium activities.
• Listen to your body. If you feel like you need a break, take a break. If you need to get up and jump, get up and jump in the Burn Off Area. If you are hungry you are welcome to eat. Do what you need to do to feel comfortable and centered.
• Do not walk out of the building without an adult. If you need to walk away from people you can go to the tents or the playground. 

The group rules are always open to discussion. If you would like a rule explained you are absolutely welcome to ask and to talk to the team about suggested changes. But until that conversation has happened you are asked to follow the rules.


Some pictures from our trial program which was run in November of 2020 or from our school holiday program run in 2019.

No pictures are shared of any children without having express permission.