Autism Spectrum Disorderctrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is often referred to as ASD. The symptoms associated with ASD appear early in a child's development. While no two people diagnosed with ASD will be the same, individuals with ASD will typically experience difficulties with the following:
Verbal and non-verbal communication
Social awareness and interaction
Activities and interests
Typically, ASD is identified before a child starts school and many children are now diagnosed from a very young age. Some of the signs may include:
failure to respond with appropriate social behaviours such as smiles or other facial expressions
poor language development
restricted or repetitive interests
lack of other forms of communication such as pointing and waving
Some children are not diagnosed until they are at school, with concern often raised by their teachers. Less commonly, a diagnosis may occur in late adolescence or adulthood. Those diagnosed at an older age are generally higher functioning and have less severe symptoms. However, they still experience social, communication and behaviour difficulties.
Assessment for ASD diagnosis and treatment
A diagnosis of ASD in children generally occurs after a thorough assessment by a team of health professionals. An assessment team is usually made up of a psychologist, a speech pathologist, and a paediatrician or child psychiatrist. A diagnosis in adults can be made by either a psychologist or psychiatrist experienced with ASD.
At Flourishing Minds, assessment typically involves two appointments (1, 5 – 2 hours in length). Parents are asked to attend the first appointment without the child so the psychologist can gain a thorough and candid understanding of the child’s developmental history and difficulties. The child is required to attend the following appointment where the psychologist would engage the child in various activities that elicit behaviours directly related to a diagnosis of ASD. This would be followed by a feedback session with the parents to discuss the findings and recommendations regarding the child’s difficulties. A comprehensive report will be provided to the parents, as well as paediatricians and teachers (if applicable).
ONGOING THERAPY AND SUPPORT
At Flourishing Minds, we offer ongoing individualised therapy intervention with the psychologist where the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Social Thinking and Son-Rise would be used to assist the child and their family with the development of their social deficits, verbal and nonverbal communication, interactive play skills and imagination.
Please call us on 03 9787 4550 to book an autism diagnostic assessment or to book an initial appointment under the Department of Social Services Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package. For information regarding this funding you can contact an Autism Advisor on 1300 424 499.