When Amy Gray, Owner and Director of Li'l Melodies and mother to Poppy, Harrison and Evelyn, created Marvelous Max, it was to bring about informed change in attitude towards children with Autism, but also to recognise the unique differences within us all. And to promote the celebration of these differences.
Beginning as a concept, the short animation was the big next step and has reached a world-wide audience with in excess of 41,000 viewers on YouTube. You could say - MARVELOUS! Well it is, but there is more. To support the application of the 3 minute animation, Amy created a package for teachers in the classroom which includes a lesson plan, some group and individual questions, and feedback forms for both teachers and students. In other words, Marvelous Max creates discussion. As if this wasn't 'marvelous' enough, the characters have now been preserved forever in an easy to read, beautifully illustrated book, provided free of charge to every school in Australia thanks to funding by the Luke Priddis Foundation and the Lions Club in Lugarno. Pack and Send Australia - Penrith, have ensured the books will stay in beautiful condition by storing the thousands of copies prior to delivery which they will do free of charge within Australia and abroad! People really do care.
So why is Max marvelous? To my mind, Max fills two gaps. First, the gap that is gaping with the lack of resources at child level that explain some of the typical and diverse traits displayed by children on the Autism Spectrum and at the same time celebrates ALL our differences, strengths and interests. In this capacity, it is pitched well with the images, and general situations that children can well imagine and would have experienced (particularly given the current statistic of at least 1 in every 100 people in Australia diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder).
And secondly, Max enables discussions within classrooms and families who may not otherwise know how to broach the subject, or even understand 'the spectrum' with an easy to navigate 'kit' of information. Without specific medical or psychological jargon; just plain talking.
Positively Growing provides Relax Kids classes for all children and in so much, naturally has children with and without Autism. The tool kit doesn't alter much, however, as all children will ultimately benefit from such things as routine, visuals, expectations and rules. The systemic nature of Relax Kids enables predictability and reduces anxieties. Having Marvelous Max on hand to share with parents who may not understand some mannerisms or how to be inclusive is such a wonderful extension and helpful aide.
Created in collaboration with Lil' Melodies, Luke Priddis Foundation, blue clay Creatives, Bidgeekids Occupational Therapy and Lions Lugarno, you can watch the youtube animation here:
Follow Marvelous Max on the fb page @marvelousmax.com.au and visit www.marvelousmax.com.au.
Marvelous Max is easy to understand, simple to use, and not at all scary. I would recommend it to teachers, parents and children, as a go to for information regarding not only Autism Spectrum Disorder, but all our unique differences. Thank you Amy. Marvelous!