Autism Spectrum Disorders


What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). These include classical Autism, Asperger’s and PDD-NOS (not otherwise specified), this can also be known as Atypical Autism.

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) which concentrates on three main areas of assessment; Communication, Social Interaction and Restrictive, repetitive & stereotypic behaviour patterns. Within each of these areas a number of specific indicators are used to measure both the type and severity of ASD:

   


Communication


  • Language not following normal pattern of development (e.g. delayed, unusual vocabulary, confusion of personal pronouns)
  • Echolalia (parroting words and phrases)
  • Inability to use language in play
  • Impairment in comprehension
  • Odd vocal tone and unusual voice patterns
  • Tendency to talk too much or too little
  • Literal interpretation of language
  • Reluctant to seek out others to have their needs met
  • Inflexible thinking


Social Interaction


  • Poor awareness of the social rules of conversation (e.g. unable to read facial expressions, poor use of gesture and pointing, poor awareness of personal space, lack of empathy, poor eye contact, turn taking)
  • Limited interest in interacting & playing with others (appears to be a “loner”)
  • Play is on their own terms
  • Inability to understand and express emotion
  • Difficulty in understanding peoples point of view
  • Limited imaginative play sequences


Restrictive, repetitive & stereotypic behaviour patterns


  • Fixation on specific objects or topics of interest (e.g. Thomas the Tank Engine, gadgets, spinning fans)
  • Attachment to particular objects (e.g. constantly carrying around one toy)
  • Repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. handing flapping, spinning, toe walking, lining up toys)
  • Inflexible routines or rituals (e.g. gets upset if routine is broken)
  • Over or under sensitivity to noise, taste, smell, light, textures and touch
  • Abnormally high or low pain threshold


What We Do for Children with ASD

Our aim at Lindfield Speech pathology is to help build a child’s communication and social skills so as to aid them in their understanding and interaction with the world. Our Speech Pathologists focus on improving and enhancing Communication, Language and Social Interaction. This is achieved through detailed ongoing assessments and individual weekly therapy sessions during which they work on developing expressive and receptive language skills, enhancing understanding and use of concepts (e.g. colours, size and prepositions) and improving use and understanding of social communication (e.g. turn taking, social cues, eye contact and play).

Our speech pathologists obtain information from parental reports, formal assessments and informal observations in order to generate individual goals for each child.

We strongly support parent involvement in therapy in order to help generalise skills into other settings outside of our clinic room. 

Funding at Lindfield Speech Pathology & Learning Centre for children with ASD

FaCHSIA: Lindfield Speech Pathology & Learning Centre is part of the Early Intervention Service Provider Panel for the Helping Children with Autism Package. Children eligible for this funding are able to claim at our centre. More information can be found at the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website.

Medicare: All Speech Pathologists in this centre are registered Medicare providers. There are a number of Medicare Schemes under which children may be eligible for partial reimbursement for Speech Pathology Services. These schemes require referral by a GP or Paediatrician. Further information is available through the Department of Health and Ageing, Enhanced Primary Care Program website.

Private Health Funds: A number of private health funds provide partial reimbursement for some speech pathology services. Individuals need to enquire with their health fund regarding reimbursement.

Professionals from a broad range of complementary disciplines work within the centre to provide services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. These include:

• Developmental Paediatricians
• Clinical Psychologists
Occupational Therapists

Contact us for more information.