jessica-ducrou-tallulah-and-zoe-webster-at-byron-shire-early-intervention-serviceAll children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and many other children suffer from sensory dysfunction, which arises from the brain’s inability to arrange information received from the environment for an appropriate functional behaviour.

“This results in children being extremely sensitive to particular sensations like loud noises, soft touch and specific smells,” said Zoe Webster from the Byron Shire Early Intervention Service. “They will often react very strongly by screaming uncontrollably or not being able to stop running or hitting.”

The service is receiving resources to run an evidence-based music therapy program to assist children with sensory dysfunction through the Splendour in the Grass 2009 Community Grants Program.

“This will make an incredible difference to our service,” said Zoe, whose team works with 35 children under six years of age in the Byron Shire identified as having the highest priority of needs.

“The money means that we can establish a specialised service that we have not had the capacity to do previously. It will also enable these families to increase their connections within the community.”

Splendour also put the Byron Shire Early Intervention Service in touch with Belinda Tucquet from Hummingbird Music Therapy, who is now donating her time to support the service.

Each year Splendour organisers select community groups as beneficiaries of funds raised through a $2 contribution from every event ticket sold.

This year $35,000 is being distributed between five not-for-profit groups. These are Byron Community and Cultural Centre ($15,420), Byron Bay Rural Fire Brigade ($7500), The Uncle Project ($5000), Rainforest Rescue ($5000) and Byron Shire Early Intervention Service ($1480).

Since 2002 Splendour has given $230,000 to community groups. Priority is given to groups located close to the event site or those with a Byron Shire wide service.

“The grants are one way we can give something back to our host community,” said Splendour organiser Jessica Ducrou.

“We also give lots of Splendour tickets to community groups for their own fundraising purposes like raffles or auctions.”

The Byron Bay Rural Fire Brigade received 37 initial applications from Year 9 and 10 Byron High School students for a 10-week fire program assisted by Splendour Community Grants 2009.

“We were expecting five applications and would have been thrilled with 10, but 19 have commenced the program,” said Stuart Amos, Brigade president.

“This is an incredible outcome for us and has prompted us to look at commencing a Cadet Brigade at the Suffolk Park station.”

PICTURE: Jessica Ducrou, and Tallulah and Zoe Webster at the Byron Shire Early Intervention Service.