Autism (ASD) Assessment & Providing Multisensory Learning Support in Hurlstone Park
Enhancing Learning for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Who is Impacted by Autism (ASD)?
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.
What is Autism?
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.
Harnessing the Power of Multisensory Learning for Autism/ASD
Our experience has shown that the multisensory approach yields results for individuals with autism. This approach is gaining significant recognition and research focus worldwide, particularly in its implementation 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.
Empowering Individuals with Autism/ASD through Multisensory Therapy/Tutoring
Mainstream education is primarily focused on meeting the needs of the majority and may not effectively engage students with autism and related conditions. At Neurosensory, our therapists and teachers employ a personalised approach that embraces the unique interests of these students, considering them as opportunities for enhanced engagement and growth. Our approach is characterised by its organic, creative, and structured nature.
By demonstrating our appreciation for their interests, we observe an increase in the self-esteem, confidence, and self-expression of our students.
How do our MSL Therapists and Tutors Support Students with Autism?
Our approach involves encouraging them to:
- Create a consistent schedule for every class
- Merge the student’s hobbies into the learning experience and inspire innovation
- Steer clear of sarcasm and everyday idioms
- Foresee scenarios where subtle social hints may complicate the understanding of fictional stories
- Offer the students alternatives within the learning experience
- Create an environment of trust so that the student can ask any question, no matter how obvious the answer may seem
- 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
Available Therapy and Tutoring Options for Individuals with Autism/ASD
To ensure accessibility, Neurosensory offers two options for supporting individuals with autism, catering to primary, secondary, TAFE, university students, and beyond.
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.
Within our learning spaces, we offer a multitude of engaging hands-on materials that go beyond conventional paper and pen activities. We are cognizant of the stress that schooling can impose on students with learning difficulties and disabilities. At Neurosensory, our approach is designed to remove the fear of failure and cultivate a positive mindset. We acknowledge the limitations of concentration and advocate for short breaks accompanied by movement to rejuvenate the mind. By fostering interactivity and creativity in our lessons, we facilitate improved retention of skills and information for our students.
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 view every individual who seeks our services as a ‘whole person,’ and we integrate social awareness and language development seamlessly into our sessions. Our online ASD option ensures that students with autism and other disorders can access appropriate interventions from the comfort of their own 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.
Autism Assessments for Both Adults & Children
Autism diagnosis can be a complex process, as there is no single medical test available for conclusive determination. Instead, diagnosis is based on the observation of behavioural symptoms. Many individuals with autism intentionally conceal their symptoms as they attempt to conform to societal expectations. This tendency is especially prevalent among girls and women, often leading to later diagnosis and intervention.
At Neurosensory, we offer screening assessments and facilitate referrals to psychologists, paediatricians, and psychiatrists if there is a possibility of an autism diagnosis. Some of the assessments we utilise as guidance include the Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL2) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Additionally, other professionals may employ assessments such as ADOS-2. It is worth noting that new assessments are being developed to address the limitations of older ones, as they may not effectively diagnose individuals who are ‘highly functioning’ but face significant challenges due to masking symptoms.
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.
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 refer you to the appropriate providers for diagnosis if required.
During an ASD assessment for a child or adult, you may be requested to undergo:
- Interviews (with yourself, your child, and/or with other primary carers)
- Examination of developmental background
- Monitoring your (or your child’s) communication with others
- Assessment for diagnosis (including TOPL-2 and SRS)
Indeed, the earlier autism is detected, the smoother the individual’s life journey may become. It may also contribute to a stronger sense of self-esteem and self-awareness, granting them an identity they may have previously lacked. Additionally, a diagnosis may facilitate access to financial assistance and support services for families.
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.
Signs of autism encompass various behaviours, such as: not responding to their name, not engaging in pretend play, avoiding eye contact, struggling to understand emotions, becoming distressed by minor changes, displaying obsessive interests, avoiding or rejecting physical contact, engaging in repetitive movements like hand flapping or body rocking, exhibiting hyperactivity and impulsivity, having a short attention span, displaying unusual sleeping and eating patterns, and showing 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.
Promoting Encouragement and Nurturing in Autism Learning
Numerous studies and research have demonstrated that individuals with autism often possess attributes such as strong long-term memory skills, precision and attention to detail, strict adherence to rules, independent thinking, intense focus (particularly in relation to their interests), and a preference for visual thinking. Our ASD-adapted tutoring at Neurosensory aims to embrace and nurture these attributes, as we believe they contribute to your individuality and distinctiveness.
What Support Can be Accessed Through the NDIS for Individuals with 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.
Please let me know if there is anything else you would like to ask about this topic. I’m here to help!
Are You Ready to Explore the Possibilities of Multisensory Learning?
At Neurosensory, we help students deal with the challenges that education and schooling may 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 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.