Autism (ASD) Assessment Services & Multisensory Learning Support in Canterbury
Learning with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Who Does Autism (ASD) Affect?
According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, it is reported that one to two in every 100 Australians are on the autism spectrum. Autism tends to run in families, with family members often exhibiting similar traits.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often affects individuals in two main areas – social communication and repetitive behaviour. The manifestation of these challenges may differ depending on the age. While the diagnosis is often made in primary school or even preschool-aged children, it may be recognised only during adolescence or even adulthood in some cases. It is noteworthy that girls with ASD tend to be diagnosed later than boys.
Autism, as a developmental disorder, impacts information processing, especially in social situations. It may have diverse effects on a person’s educational advancement, irrespective of their intelligence level. Often, autism is accompanied by conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, and epilepsy, making diagnosis sometimes challenging and oftentimes delayed. While the educational system may offer additional support, it may not be sufficiently tailored to the individual needs of those with autism due to the variability in presentation and associated issues. This is where targeted educational therapy may play a vital role.
Harnessing the Power of Multisensory Learning for Autism/ASD
The multisensory approach has proven to be highly successful for individuals with autism. This approach is gaining increasing attention and research interest globally, specifically in its application 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.
The Benefits of Multisensory Therapy/Tutoring for 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.
When we demonstrate our support for their interests, we witness the development of self-esteem, confidence, and self-expression in our students.
Empowering Students with Autism: The Approach of our MSL Therapists and Tutors
We promote the following encouragement for them to:
- Establish a routine for each lesson
- Integrate a student’s interests into lessons and encourage creativity
- Refrain from using sarcasm and popular expressions
- Foresee scenarios where subtle social hints may complicate the understanding of fictional stories
- Allow the students to make choices within the lesson
- Cultivate a trusting setting where the student feels empowered to ask any question, regardless of how straightforward the answer may appear
- Inspire the student to take a break when facing overwhelm-perhaps engaging in a 5-minute table tennis game, a brief run around the garden, or a 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.
Embracing Online Platforms for 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 ASD option ensures that students with autism and other disorders can still access appropriate interventions from the comfort of their home.
In the event that you or a loved one require learning support following an autism diagnosis, our team of autism tutors is ready and enthusiastic about helping.
Assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adults
Diagnosing autism may present challenges as there is no specific medical test available. Instead, diagnosis is based on the observation of behavioural symptoms. Many individuals with autism mask their symptoms in order to conform to societal expectations. This is especially true for girls and women, who often go undiagnosed and untreated due to their adeptness at masking.
Neurosensory provides screening assessments and can make referrals to psychologists, paediatricians, and psychiatrists if there is a potential autism diagnosis. As a guide, we employ assessments such as the Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL2) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Other professionals may utilise assessments like ADOS-2. It is important to note that new assessments are being developed to account for the fact that some of the older assessments may not identify individuals who are ‘highly functioning’ yet face considerable obstacles in their lives due to masking symptoms.
We want to emphasise that we do not have the authority to provide formal diagnoses. However, if our assessment indicates a potential diagnosis, we can refer individuals to qualified professionals who can conduct 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)
- Assessment of developmental timeline
- Monitoring your (or your child’s) communication with others
- Diagnostic tests (including TOPL-2 and SRS)
Yes. The faster autism is detected, the easier the person’s life may be. It may also provide a greater sense of self-esteem and understanding, giving them a sense of identity that they may have previously lacked. A diagnosis may also open up an easier way for families to receive financial help and support.
Although it is feasible to identify autism in certain children as early as 18 months or even earlier, the typical age for diagnosis is around three years old. Children with a family history of autism, such as a sibling or parent, are more likely to undergo assessment at an earlier stage.
There are several signs of autism to be aware of, including: not responding to their name, not engaging in pretend play, avoiding eye contact, difficulty understanding emotions, becoming upset by minor changes, developing obsessive interests, avoiding or resisting physical contact, engaging in repetitive behaviours like hand flapping or body rocking, displaying hyperactivity and impulsivity, having a short attention span, exhibiting unusual sleeping and eating habits, and demonstrating limited or no social skills.
Remember that the signs of autism can vary from person to person, with some individuals showing multiple indicators while others may only exhibit 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.
Fostering Encouragement and Nurturing in 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 may 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
Certain students with autism may qualify for NDIS funding. We have had numerous students who have successfully funded Neurosensory services through their NDIS plans. Additionally, we can provide 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 Ready to Explore the Possibilities 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.