Monday, February 29th, 2016

Hundreds are signing up to ‘save the day’ for those with autism, as they prepare to don capes and their undies on the outside, becoming superheros for the Irabina Superhero Fun Run in Melbourne on 3 April.

Chief Executive Officer of Irabina Autism Services, Debra Goldfinch, said most kids love a superhero – but for those with autism, these fearless characters with special powers can become an important way to cope with an acute sensitivity to the chaos of our everyday world.

“Everybody needs a superhero sometimes. The world can be a confusing place and if you have autism, it’s even more confusing”, Ms Goldfinch said.

“For those living with autism, their superheros usually come in the form of parents, families, carers and friends. 

"This April, we’re giving all Victorians the chance to become a superhero and show their support for people living with autism”, she said.  

The fun run kicks off World Autism Month and is supported by Australian artist Tim Sharp, who has autism, as the event’s ambassador. Also known as Laser Beak Man, Mr Sharp’s paintings are all focused singularly on this superhero he has created to help him manage his own autism and bravely face the world.

In its second year, Ms Goldfinch said the event is anything but your typical fun run – it’s a day for families, carers and friends to celebrate the extraordinary abilities of people living with Autism while raising awareness in the community.

“The money raised will help Irabina to transform the lives of people and families with Autism through the delivery of specialist programs and services”, said Debra Goldfinch.

“The fun run isn’t about how fast you run or the time you complete it in. It’s a chance for everyone to come together to celebrate and support the unique abilities of our 400-plus children and families who live with Autism”, she said.

Early birds, who sign-up to the fun run by 9 March, will go into the draw to win one of four village cinema vouchers, where movie-goers have the option of attending sensory friendly films for children on the autism spectrum. All participants also go in the draw to win a signed Laser Beak Man print, donated by the artist.

The event is open to all with children under five years free to join.

To find out more about the Irabina Superhero Fun Run, please visit

What: Irabina Superhero 4km & 8km Fun Run

Where: The Tan Track, Pillars of Wisdom, Lawn 9, Melbourne Botanic Gardens

When: Sunday April 3, 2016, from 8am


Photo opp: Children aged 5 & 6 with autism, dressed as superheros at Eureka tower.

Interview opp: Ms Goldfinch and Tim Sharp are available for further comment

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About Irabina

Irabina is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping families adapt to the challenges of living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The centre has delivered expert support and education services for almost 50 years. Our expert team of therapists, psychologists and specialist educators help families and individuals connect and communicate with the world around them. While there is no known cure for Autism, there is an enormous amount that can be done to help those on the Autism Spectrum and the families that support them.


About Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a pervasive developmental condition, which is characterised by deficits in the following two areas:

  • Impaired communication and social interaction
  • Restricted interests and repetitive behaviours

1 in 50 people are now diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It affects four times as many boys as girls. Many individuals with autism experience sensory differences and difficulties. They may be under-sensitive or over-sensitive to any of the five senses.

The word ‘spectrum’ is used because no two people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are exactly alike. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability and most people with autism will require varying degrees of support throughout their lifetime.

“To know one child with Autism is to know one child with Autism” – Anon.

Each child will vary in the combination and severity of the behaviours he/she displays and so may seem quite different even when compared to siblings with autism. The term ‘high functioning’ is not a diagnostic term; rather, it is often used to describe someone who has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder but is not as severely affected in their autism and cognition.

Claudia Piscitelli
P: 03 9416 0046
M: 0431 431 882


fun run, autism, disability, parenting



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