St Anthony’s Family Care has a long history of working with children and young people to achieve their greatest potential in life. Through our disability services, we work with many individuals and support them to work towards achieving personal goals in various aspects of their lives.

I would like to introduce to you two brothers who have had a long association with St Anthony’s Family Care. David and Chris* have a two-year age difference and both have autism.

David’s journey with St Anthony’s began in 2009 when he joined the Figtree preschool program at the age of four. Prior to finding St Anthony’s, David’s parents had tried numerous facilities, only to witness their son becoming increasingly upset and distressed.

However, when the family came across St Anthony’s through a referral from a friend, they found that David quickly settled into the new environment and his anxiety reduced and over time disappeared. David even started looking forward to attending the centre and spending time playing and learning alongside his peers.

As David got older and left Figtree Early Learning Centre, his parents commenced accessing St Anthony’s Disability Services. Over the years, David regularly accesses various programs offered by the service include school holiday programs where he can enjoy time out playing with friends, participating in new activities and visiting lots of places across Sydney.

On a regular basis, David accesses the St Anthony’s Short Term Accommodation program. As part of the major site redevelopment which St Anthony’s completed in 2022, three new purpose-built houses were built to enable children and young adults to experience time away from their family home. The opportunity to spend time away from home offers both the individual and the family many benefits.

The workers at St Anthony’s Disability Services have a deep understanding of David’s specific needs and interests and work closely with him to further develop existing skills and teach him new ones.

Today, at the age of 18, David continues to benefit from St Anthony’s service, and everyone has witnessed vast improvement in both his social skills and independence. David’s mother shared that they “have tried many short-term accommodation facilities but David would become upset, but then we he comes to St Anthony’s he is calm and he looks forward to attending”.

With David preparing to leave school at the end of the year, his family have decided to transition him to St Anthony’s new Forge Day Program, a program specifically for young school leavers which focuses on further enhancing life skills.

David’s young brother, Chris, has also had a long association with St Anthony’s, but his personality is different and so are his interests and goals.

Chris is an energetic person with a huge passion for outdoor activities and loves spending time exploring the beauty of nature, with walks in the bush and along beaches. Chris accesses St Anthony’s Community Access service twice a week, in addition to vacation care services and short-term accommodation. The workers at St Anthony’s have always embraced Chris’s passion for the outdoors, encouraging his independence and ensuring his physical activities remain a fundamental part of his routine.

For David and Chris’ family, the long partnership with St Anthony’s has always been a great support offering stability, reassurance and understanding as the boys have grown and their needs and the needs of the family changed.

As David leaves school, we look forward to continuing to be part of his life as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.

If you’d like to find out more about the work of St Anthony’s Family Care, you can visit

Rand Mtashar
Executive Manager, Disability Services
St Anthony’s Family Care

* Name changed for privacy reasons