Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
(Note: Early intervention has been proven to be effective in supporting those with ASD.)
It’s common to see early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a child’s first two years. And in these years, it’s especially important to watch children’s social communication development.
For example, in the first year of life, parents of babies later diagnosed with ASD notice their child’s lack of interest in other people. Many of these babies don’t make eye contact with their parents while being held or during nappy changes. The lack of other behaviour like smiling and gestures is also a sign that a child isn’t developing in a typical way.
In the first two years, other signs might be a child not responding to his name, or focusing narrowly on activities like lining up toys.
Signs of ASD become more noticeable in the toddler years, as children are expected to start talking and playing with other children. Children with ASD might not be interested in playing with other children, or might speak in an unusual way – for example, in a monotone.
Signs of ASD in older children and teenagers might become noticeable when a child has difficulty adjusting to new social situations in a school environment – for example, staying on task, understanding and following instructions, making friends, and having age-appropriate interests.
Diagnosis usually involves many specialists and professionals testing and assessing a child – this is called a multidisciplinary assessment.
There’s no single test for ASD. Instead, ASD diagnosis is based on:
- watching how a child plays and interacts with others – that is, how a child is developing now
- interviewing parents
- reviewing a child’s developmental history – that is, how a child has developed in the past.
Children who are diagnosed with ASD get a description of how severe their symptoms are and the amount of support they need. This ranges from ‘needing support’ to ‘needing very substantial support’.
Services for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
StGiles’ therapists can support you and your child to learn skills to participate and reach their full potential through the following services:
- In Burnie, StGiles Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre is a national leader in Autism services and can support you and your child to learn skills to participate and reach their full potential.
- In Launceston and Hobart our multi-disciplinary team approach can provide assessment and ASD programs.
- StGiles’ Development Assessment team – speech pathologist, psychologist and occupational therapist – can help with diagnosis
- Psychology team statewide
- Occupational therapy team statewide
- Speech pathology team statewide
- All Ages Leisure and Inclusion programs like Studio Space
- Goal directed therapy
- Support for transition to preschool and school
- All Ages Toy Library in Launceston and Hobart