the girl with a shaggy hairstyle was julie lewis who is also known as the chairperson of puzzle house

Julie Lewis - Chairperson

I left school and attended Newcastle Teachers College ( now Newcastle University) with the intention of becoming a teacher of Special Education. However, I left before completing my course, married and had 3 wonderful children who became the main focus of my life.

In the year 2000 my husband and I successfully completed a foster parenting course and over the last 12 years we have fostered approximately 20 children, all very special in their own way.

Two of these children stayed on with us in our long term care. Both children were eventually diagnosed with severe developmental delay, autism and epilepsy .

In 2007, with a group of like-minded mums, I approached Lake Macquarie Council and successfully had a Quiet Zone incorporated into Stage 2 of the Speers Point Children’s Variety Park. This area is within the parameter of the main park and gives children with special needs a place to go to calm and settle themselves when the chaos, noise and general busyness of the main park becomes too much for them to deal with.

In 2010-2011 I was one of a group of parents who successfully opposed the closure of Lakeside Special School. The school has now moved into new premises in Gateshead West and is going from strength to strength.

In 2009 till the current day and after an extremely difficult family holiday, I embarked on a project to form an association and raise funds to build a purpose- built holiday house for children with autism and their families