Comprehensive Assessment for Autism (ASD) & Multisensory Learning Support in Belmore
Learning with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Who is Impacted by Autism?
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 may 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.
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the processing of information particularly around social situations. It may 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 may make a big difference.
Enhancing Learning for Individuals with Autism/ASD Through a Multisensory Approach
The usefulness of the multisensory approach for individuals with autism is undeniable. It has garnered considerable research attention and interest across the globe, especially in its utilisation for students with autism.
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.
Enhancing Learning and Development with Multisensory Therapy/Tutoring for Autism/ASD
Mainstream education is primarily directed towards the majority, which may not adequately engage students with autism and related conditions. However, at Neurosensory, our therapists and teachers adopt an individualised approach that appreciates the unique strengths and interests of each student. We view their special interests not as hindrances, but as catalysts for engagement and growth. Our approach encompasses organic, creative, and structured elements to create a dynamic and effective learning environment.
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
- Incorporate the student’s passions into the curriculum and foster imagination
- Stay away from sarcasm and commonly used phrases
- Prepare for instances where subtle social cues may pose challenges in comprehending fiction
- Provide options for the students during the session
- Foster a safe and trusting environment for the student to ask any question, regardless of its apparent simplicity
- Motivate the student to take a break when feeling overwhelmed-maybe engage in a 5-minute table tennis game, a quick run around the garden, or a mini basketball game
Choosing the Right Therapy and Tutoring Options for Autism/ASD
At Neurosensory, we provide two options to assist individuals with autism, ensuring that support is accessible to primary, secondary, TAFE, university students, and beyond.
The Benefits of In-Person Therapy/Tutoring and Learning Support
In the realm of in-person tutoring, our focus is on cultivating a nurturing learning environment that is more laid-back in comparison to a conventional school classroom. Our therapists appreciate the importance of routine for individuals with autism and also understand the formidable task of altering well-established yet less optimal habits.
Our learning rooms are equipped with a diverse array of hands-on materials that transcend traditional paper and pen learning methods. We understand the challenges that students with learning difficulties and disabilities face in a school environment. At Neurosensory, our approach aims to eradicate the notion of failure and instil a can-do attitude. We recognise the importance of accommodating concentration limits and incorporating short breaks with movement to invigorate the mind. Through interactive and creative lessons, our approach promotes better retention of skills and information among our students.
Embracing Online Platforms for Therapy/Tutoring and Learning Support
At Neurosensory, we acknowledge that not everyone can access in-person tutoring and therapy due to factors like geographical distance, transportation challenges, and prior obligations. Our therapists excel in providing structured and varied sessions. We understand that the learning experience is more than just a mechanical procedure; it thrives on the foundation of personal connections.
Every person who utilises our services is treated as a ‘whole person,’ and we seamlessly incorporate social awareness and language development into our sessions. Through our online ASD option, students with autism and other disorders can receive appropriate interventions from the comfort of their homes.
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.
Evaluating Autism in Children and Adults
The diagnosis of autism can be challenging, as there is no definitive medical test to rely on. Instead, a diagnosis is made by observing behavioural symptoms. Many individuals with autism camouflage their symptoms in everyday life as they strive to meet societal norms. This is particularly common among girls and women, often resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment.
At Neurosensory, we offer screening assessments and have the ability to refer individuals to psychologists, paediatricians, and psychiatrists if there is a potential autism diagnosis. Some of the assessments we utilise as a guide include the Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL2) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Other professionals may administer assessments such as ADOS-2. Recognising the limitations of certain assessments in diagnosing individuals who are ‘highly functioning’ but face significant challenges due to masking symptoms, new assessments are currently being developed.
Please note that we do not have the capacity to offer formal diagnosis. However, if our assessment suggests a potential diagnosis, we can assist individuals in obtaining referrals to professionals who are qualified to provide formal evaluations.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
If you have concerns about the development of a loved one or yourself, it is advisable to consult your GP for an initial assessment or seek guidance from a paediatrician or psychologist. They can refer you to a team of experts who focus on autism assessment, including paediatricians, speech pathologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
If you prefer, you can arrange a consultation with us at Neurosensory. During the consultation, we can delve into the concerns you have, conduct screening assessments, provide a preliminary report, and direct you to the appropriate professionals for a formal diagnosis if deemed necessary.
During a child or adult ASD assessment, you may be asked to undergo:
- Conversations (with yourself, your child, and/or with other main caregivers)
- Examination of developmental background
- Watching your (or your child’s) social interactions
- Assessment for diagnosis (including TOPL-2 and SRS)
Absolutely. Detecting autism at an early stage paves the way for a more manageable life for the individual in many cases. Furthermore, it may enhance their self-esteem and self-awareness, providing them with a newfound sense of identity. A diagnosis may also facilitate easier access to financial assistance and support for families.
While it is possible to detect autism in some children as early as 18 months or even earlier, the average age for diagnosis is typically around three years old. Children with a family history of autism, such as a sibling or parent, are often assessed at a younger age.
Several signs may indicate the presence of autism, including: not responding to their name, not participating in imaginative play, avoiding eye contact, experiencing difficulties with understanding emotions, becoming upset by minor changes, developing intense and obsessive interests, avoiding or resisting physical contact, engaging in repetitive movements like hand flapping or body rocking, displaying hyperactivity and impulsivity, having a short attention span, exhibiting unusual sleep and eating patterns, and demonstrating minimal to no social skills.
It is important to note that while some individuals may exhibit numerous signs of autism, others may only display a few.
Individuals with autism often exhibit strong abilities in learning by heart, also known as rote memory. Many individuals with ASD can retain extensive amounts of information, such as conversations from movies. The multisensory approach has been found to be highly effective as well.
Based in Campsie, we are just around the corner from Belfield, Belmore, Ashbury, Canterbury, Croydon Park, Clemton Park, Earlwood, Ashfield and Hurlstone Park.
Promoting Encouragement and Nurturing in Autism Learning
Research and studies have indicated that individuals with autism frequently exhibit attributes such as strong long-term memory skills, precision and attention to detail, adherence to rules, independent thinking, intensive focus (especially when engaged in their interests), and proficiency in visual thinking. At Neurosensory, we aim to foster and cultivate these attributes through our ASD-adapted tutoring, as we recognise and value the uniqueness and special qualities they bring.
What Support Can be Accessed Through the NDIS for Individuals with Autism?
NDIS funding is available for some students with autism. We have supported several students in obtaining NDIS funding for Neurosensory services. Moreover, we offer assistance with the NDIS application process.
If there’s anything else you’d like to inquire about concerning this topic, feel free to reach out. I’m here to offer assistance and address any concerns you may have!
Are You Open to Exploring the Benefits of Multisensory Learning?
At Neurosensory, we provide support to students in overcoming the challenges they may face in education and schooling as individuals with ASD, particularly in areas such as organisation, disruptions to routine, different expectations, and understanding teacher communication. Our multisensory approach enhances the connection between abstract concepts and tangible, visual models.
This is especially crucial for individuals who experience difficulties in grasping the subtleties of language, which is common among individuals with autism. The aim of the Neurosensory team is to empower students of all ages to cultivate learning and study habits that transcend the school setting, as these habits can also enhance social abilities.