The establishment of AEIOU Foundation was inspired by the experiences of James and Louise Morton, after their son was diagnosed with autism. Their experience with autism began shortly after Andrew’s first birthday. It was at this time his behaviour changed; he would cry continuously and at times, his behaviour escalated to severe head banging. He did not try to attempt baby talk and was silent except for the word 'mum'
Andrew was diagnosed with autistic disorder at the age of two, and Louise and James sought the best possible educational program to support his needs. They discovered an early intervention pilot program run by Education Queensland. After securing a placement, within a short period of time, Andrew’s behaviour improved, and by learning to communicate with pictures, he became less frustrated.
Gone was the head banging and screaming if the family went out. Now he cried if they left without him. The Morton’s could now begin to interact like other families. Within 18 months in the program, Andrew began to put sentences together, he learned the alphabet and could count to 20. He played with his siblings and loved parks, McDonalds and indoor playgrounds just like other children. Andrew started at a regular kindergarten and enjoyed the experience. To further his educational development, Andrew still required ongoing therapy from his early intervention teachers.
However, in 2003, the early intervention centre was closed. There was no other service of its kind offered anywhere in Queensland and as a result The Morton’s were forced to continue Andrew’s therapy in their own home. Dissatisfied with the fact that Andrew, and thousands of children like him, had no opportunity to attend an early intervention facility that was dedicated solely to children with Autism they decided to develop a service that would provide the same level of care to children like Andrew.
In November 2003, James and Louise, together with Andrew's therapist Rebecca Allen, developed the concept for AEIOU.
In February 2005, the first AEIOU centre was opened in Moorooka, Queensland. The centre was dedicated solely to an intensive early intervention learning program for children with an autism diagnosis.
Today, AEIOU operates from eight locations across Queensland and one in South Australia. It is managed by a Board of Directors and the program is delivered by a transdisciplinary team.
Andrew is now in his late teens, and James and Louise Morton continue to advocate for change and better access to evidence-based early intervention. James Morton is an AEIOU Foundation Board Director, and Louise Morton chairs the Lynn Wright Memorial Fund, which was established to provide financial assistance to families who may otherwise be unable to attend AEIOU Foundation’s program.