Autism (ASD) Assessment & Multisensory Learning Support in Sydney
Learning with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Who does Autism affect?
According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, one to two in every 100 Australians is on the autism spectrum. Autism often runs in families and family members may have similar traits.
People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) tend to have difficulties in two main areas – social communication and repetitive behaviour. These present differently at different ages. Although it’s often diagnosed in primary school or even preschool age children, it’s not considered until adolescence or even adulthood in some people. Girls with ASD are also more likely to present later than boys.
What is Autism?
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the processing of information particularly around social situations. It can affect people’s educational progress in many different ways regardless of how intelligent someone with ASD may be. It often comes together with ADHD, dyslexia, epilepsy, and so can be difficult to isolate in diagnosis while frequently being missed for many years. The educational system may provide extra help, but because of how varied people with autism present and because of the various other issues they may have, it is often not sufficiently fine-tuned for the individuals concerned. This is where targeted educational therapy can make a big difference.
The Multisensory Approach to Learning
We find that the multisensory learning approach is very effective for people with autism. There is a growing body of research and interest in applying this approach for students with autism all over the world.
There is a growing body of research into the usefulness of employing multisensory methods for people with autism, including Jaclyn Smith (“Multisensory Learning and its Effect on Students with Autism” (2019). Education Masters. Paper 367) and Amaal Mustafa (“Investigating the Effect of Multisensory Approach on Improving Emergent Literacy Skills in Children with Autism Disorder.” International Journal of Psycho-Educational Sciences Vol. 7, Issue (1), April –2018)
The following link is an example of how multisensory education is becoming increasingly recognised and implemented for students with Autism.
Multisensory Therapy/Tutoring for people with Autism/ASD
Mainstream education is geared toward the majority of society and often doesn’t engage students with autism and related conditions. The therapists and teachers at Neurosensory use an individualised approach that doesn’t see their special interests as a hindrance to learning but as a catalyst for their and our engagement and growth. Our approach is organic, creative, and structured.
By showing that we value their interests, we find that the self-esteem, confidence, and self-expression of our students grow.
How do our MSL therapists and tutors support students with autism?
They are encouraged to:
- Establish a routine for each lesson
- Integrate a student’s interests into lessons and encourage creativity
- Avoid using sarcasm and common sayings
- Anticipate where subtle social cues may make it hard to understand fiction
- Give the students choices within the lesson
- Create an environment of trust so that the student can ask any question, no matter how obvious it may seem
- Encourage the student to take a break if they’re overwhelmed-perhaps a 5-minute table tennis game, a run around the garden or mini basketball game
Autism/ASD Therapy and Tutoring Options
We offer two options when it comes to helping people with autism, ensuring that primary, secondary, TAFE and university students and beyond are able to access the support offered by Neurosensory.
In-Person Therapy/ Tutoring and Learning Support
In-person tutoring involves the creation of a welcoming learning environment that is more relaxed than a school classroom. Our therapists understand the importance of routine for those with autism and also how hard it is for them to change ingrained but less effective habits.
Our rooms have many engaging hands-on materials which go beyond paper and pen learning. Schooling is stressful for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. The Neurosensory approach takes away the stigma of failure and replaces it with a can-do attitude. It recognises concentration limits and the need for short breaks with movement to refresh the mind. Our approach allows for more interactivity and creativity in the lesson, which can help students to better retain skills and information.
Online Therapy/Tutoring and Learning Support
We understand that not everyone is able to attend in-person tutoring and therapy due to location, lack of transportation and other commitments. Our therapists are skilled at providing structure and variety in their sessions. We appreciate that learning is not merely a mechanical process but is based on building personal relationships. We treat everyone who comes to our services as a ‘whole person’, building social awareness and language development seamlessly into the sessions. Our online autism tutoring option ensures that students with ASD and other disorders can still access appropriate interventions from the comfort of their home.
If you or a loved one require some learning assistance as a result of an autism diagnosis, our autism tutors are ready and waiting to help.
Autism Assessments For Both Adults & Children
Diagnosing autism can be challenging, as there is no single medical test. Instead, it is diagnosed through the observation of behavioural symptoms. Many high-functioning people with autism mask their symptoms in everyday life as they try to fit in with the expectations of society. Girls and women in particular often miss early diagnosis and treatment as a result of their skill in masking.
Neurosensory can provide screening assessments and refer to psychologists, paediatricians and psychiatrists if we consider that there could be a possible autism diagnosis. Some assessments we use as a guide include the Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL2) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Other professionals may use assessments such as ADOS-2 There are new assessments being developed as some of the older ones miss out on diagnosing more ‘high-functioning’ people who are skilled at masking symptoms but find themselves facing many obstacles in their lives.
We stress that we cannot formally diagnose people, but we can refer them to someone who can if our assessment reveals a possible diagnosis.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are concerned about a loved one’s development or even yourself, your GP may be able to help with an initial consultation or you may already be in touch with a paediatrician or psychologist. They can refer you to a team of experts who will be involved in the autism assessment. These professionals include: paediatricians, speech pathologists, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Alternatively, you can book a consultation with us at Neurosensory. We can discuss the issues that are causing concern, offer screening and a preliminary report and we can refer you to the appropriate providers for diagnosis if required.
During a child or adult ASD assessment, you may be asked to undergo:
- Interviews (with yourself, your child, and/or with other primary carers)
- Review of developmental history
- Observation of your (or your child’s) interaction with others
- Diagnostic assessments (including TOPL-2 and SRS)
Yes. The faster autism is detected, the easier the person’s life will be. It can also provide a greater sense of self-esteem and understanding, giving them a sense of identity that they previously lacked. A diagnosis can also open up an easier way for families to receive financial help and support.
Although autism can be detected in some children at 18 months of age or even younger, the average age for diagnosis is around three years old. Children who have a family history, such as a sibling or parent, with autism, tend to be assessed earlier rather than later.
Some warning signs of autism include: not responding to their name, not playing ‘pretend’ games, avoiding eye contact, difficulty understanding emotions, getting upset by minor changes, obsessive interests, avoiding or resisting physical contact, flapping the hands or rocking the body, hyperactivity, impulsivity, short attention span, unusual sleeping and eating habits, and low to no social skills.
Keep in mind that some people have many signs of autism, whereas others only have a few.
People with autism are often good at learning by heart, which is also known as rote memory. In fact, many people with ASD can remember large chunks of information, like conversations from a movie. The multisensory approach has also proven to be highly successful.
Encouragement and Nurturing through Autism Learning Support
Studies and research have shown that people with autism often display attributes like strong long-memory skills, precise and detail-oriented, strong adherence to the rules, independent thinking, intensive focus (when their interests are involved), and they be better at thinking in a visual way. We seek to encourage and nurture these attributes through ASD adapted tutoring, as they’re what makes you special and unique.
NDIS Funding for Autism
Some students with Autism may be eligible for NDIS funding. We have several students who have been able to fund Neurosensory services through their NDIS plan. We can assist people with their NDIS application process.
Please enquire if you have anything else you’d like to ask about this.
Are you ready to explore the possibilities of multisensory learning?
At Neurosensory, we help students deal with the challenges that education and schooling can present for people with ASD, particularly when it comes to things like organisation, breaks in routine, differing expectations and understanding what their teachers may be saying. The multisensory approach helps link abstract concepts to tangible & visual models. This is especially important for people who struggle with processing the nuances of language like many of those with autism do. The goal of the Neurosensory team is to empower students of all ages to build learning and study habits that serve them all through life – not just at school, as they can assist with social abilities, too.