Autism (ASD) Assessment Services & Multisensory Learning Support in Earlwood
Exploring Learning Approaches for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Who Does Autism (ASD) Affect?
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne states that approximately one to two in every 100 Australians are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It is common for autism to have a familial pattern, with family members often sharing similar traits.
People diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) commonly experience difficulties in two key areas – social communication and repetitive behaviour. These difficulties may manifest differently at different stages of life. While it is often identified during primary school or even preschool years, it may not be recognised until adolescence or even adulthood in some individuals. Additionally, girls with ASD are more likely to receive a diagnosis later than boys.
Autism is a developmental disorder that influences information processing, particularly in social contexts. It may have various effects on educational progress, regardless of a person’s level of intelligence. Autism often co-occurs with conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, and epilepsy, which may complicate diagnosis and lead to delays. Although the educational system may provide additional assistance, it may not be finely tuned to address the specific needs of individuals with autism due to the wide range of presentations and associated challenges. This is where targeted educational therapy may have a significant impact.
The Multisensory Approach to Learning With Autism/ASD
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.
Multisensory Therapy/Tutoring for People with Autism/ASD
Mainstream education often fails to effectively engage students with autism and related conditions, as it is primarily designed for the majority. At Neurosensory, our therapists and teachers take an individualised approach that recognises the value of their special interests in fostering engagement and facilitating growth. Our approach combines organic, creative, and structured elements to provide a holistic learning experience.
By demonstrating our appreciation for their interests, we observe an increase in the self-esteem, confidence, and self-expression of our students.
Supporting Students with Autism: The role of our MSL Therapists and Tutors
Our approach involves encouraging them to:
- Create a consistent schedule for every class
- Incorporate the student’s passions into the curriculum and foster imagination
- Avoid using sarcasm and common sayings
- Predict situations where subtle social signals may hinder comprehension of narratives
- Give the students choices within the lesson
- Create an environment of trust so that the student can ask any question, no matter how obvious the answer may seem
- Urge the student to take a break if they feel overwhelmed-maybe participate in a 5-minute table tennis game, a short run around the garden, or a mini basketball game
Available Therapy and Tutoring Options for Individuals with Autism/ASD
Neurosensory offers two options to support individuals with autism, allowing primary, secondary, TAFE, university students, and others to access our services.
Enhancing Learning with In-Person Therapy/Tutoring for Autism/ASD
Creating a welcoming learning environment that is less formal than a typical school classroom is a key aspect of in-person tutoring. Our therapists recognise the value of routine for individuals with autism and are empathetic to the difficulties they encounter when trying to modify deeply ingrained yet less efficient behaviours.
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.
Convenient Online Options for Therapy/Tutoring and Learning Support
We are aware that attending in-person tutoring and therapy may not be feasible for everyone due to factors such as geographical limitations, lack of transportation, and other commitments. However, our skilled therapists are adept at delivering sessions that offer both structure and variety. We value the understanding that learning is not solely a mechanical process but relies on the development of personal relationships.
At our services, we adopt a holistic approach, treating each individual as a ‘whole person’ and seamlessly incorporating social awareness and language development into the sessions. Our online ASD option guarantees that students with autism and other disorders can still receive suitable interventions from the convenience of their home.
If you or a loved one are in need of learning assistance following an autism diagnosis, our team of autism tutors is prepared and available to provide support.
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.
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 stress that we cannot formally diagnose people, but we can refer them to someone who can if our assessment reveals a possible diagnosis.
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.
Another option is to schedule a consultation with us at Neurosensory. During the consultation, we can address the concerns you have, provide screening assessments, offer a preliminary report, and guide you towards the appropriate providers for a formal diagnosis if necessary.
As part of an ASD assessment for a child or adult, you may be required to undergo:
- Consultations (with yourself, your child, and/or with other primary guardians)
- Assessment of developmental timeline
- Observation of your (or your child’s) interaction with others
- Diagnostic assessments (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.
Despite the fact that autism can be detected in some children at 18 months of age or even earlier, the average age for diagnosis is usually around three years old. Children who have a family history of autism, such as a sibling or parent, are often assessed at a younger age compared to others.
Some 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.
It is important to note that while some individuals may exhibit numerous signs of autism, others may only display 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.
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
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.
How Can the NDIS Support Individuals with 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 also assist people with their 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 assist students in navigating the challenges that education and schooling may pose for individuals with ASD, especially in areas such as organisation, disruptions to routine, varying expectations, and comprehending teacher instructions. Our multisensory approach facilitates the connection of abstract concepts to tangible and visual models.
This is especially important for people who struggle with processing the nuances of language as 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.