autism1

Parents may notice that a child is having difficulties with adjusting to the routines of daily life, communicating, or relating with their peers. They may experience sudden emotional meltdowns. In this case, an assessment may be done to check for an autism spectrum disorder. This needs to be done carefully as a number of other conditions can mimic autism or Asperger’s Disorder at first sight.

Assessment for autism spectrum conditions take a bit of time as the information gathering needs to be thorough. At present there is no single test which can confirm the condition and so a combination of getting to know and observing the child, taking a very thorough history, speaking with the parents and child’s teacher, and completing standardised tests, will be done. However this is carried out in a way which will not disturb or distress the child in any way – they will mainly notice some extra chatting and play!

A paediatrician or psychiatrist can refer a child aged between 7 and 14 years for:

  • Up to four assessment sessions from a psychologist (or other allied health disciplines) to help achieve a diagnosis or to contribute to a management plan.
  • Up to 20 lifetime sessions may be accessed from a psychologist for a child who has registered prior to the age of 13, and for children who are under 15 years old.

NDIS Early Intervention

Children may also gain assessment sessions under NDIS Early Intervention.

Help for children through their development

Once diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder or an Autism Spectrum Disorder, children may benefit from monitoring and the use of appropriate help at times when they need it. For example, sometimes a child’s social skills may fall behind those of their peers, causing isolation. Alternatively, significant changes such as the move to High School can be a cause of stress. At these times families may either access HCWA funding to support sessions for the child, or use rebates through their health fund or Medicare.

Please call the clinic to book an Assessment, to discuss sessions under ndis, or to arrange a group of sessions for a child’s current particular difficulty.

ADHD

Sometimes children have trouble settling or concentrating on tasks. They may tear around and not listen. They may lose their temper quickly or have full-blown tantrums. Some mums say to us, “I could never take my child to a café!”

Parents may worry that their child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, many other conditions overlap with this one. Some children are just active! Careful screening and assessment are necessary to establish whether the child is acting out of emotional upset, is just energetic, or whether they may be experiencing a real condition which prevents them from settling.

Children with ADHD often do very well later in life as they can harness their high energy levels into work or activities that they love! While they are at school, carefully measured medications and/or psychological strategies can assist them and their teachers to adapt to the cycles of their boredom and excess energy.