I've spent countless hours searching for decent information about Autism. What are the signs? How is it assessed and when should kids be assessed? What services are available? What are the therapies used? Do other parents feel completely ill-equipped to deal with this? What do I do now we have a diagnosis? So on this page you will find a list of links to information I found helpful when I didn't have a clue what we were dealing with.
Please note that I am in Australia and some of the information - particularly the rules about how to obtain a diagnosis, funding, and the availability of services - will only apply to those in Australia. Where possible I have provided links to international sites that may provide further information applicable to your area.
What the hell?
Your child does stuff that other kids don't do. Like lick the walls, refuse to eat anything other than white food, scream if someone touches him, or be very delayed in speaking. They may appear social but have strange fixations and routines and cannot deviate from them without meltdowns. They may not be able to - or be interested in - making friends. They may not realise you are completely not interested in every minute detail of every episode of Star Wars. (sigh) They may freak out because a tiny bit of jam has touched their bread. They may not be able to tolerate loud noise, tags in clothing, or stimulating environments. And you may wonder what the hell is going on with this kid and why is he barking at everyone???
On 1 July
2013, the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) is in operation,
with different criteria against which to assess people for Autism
Spectrum Disorder. A new edition is released every 12 years and in this
release the categories of Autism, PDD, PDD-NOS and Aspergers no longer
exist. Officially, one is no longer an Aspie. One has Autism Spectum
If you want to check whether your child meets these new criteria, Here is a fact sheet explaining the changes.
Tony Atwood is a world-renown and highly respected authority on Aspergers. He works out of Brisbane and has authored several excellent books. He has a very large collection of quality links.
Aspergers in females:
Tony Attwood: Girls and Women Who Have Aspergers
Aspergersgirls: Aspergers traits in females
Aspergersgirls: Females With Aspergers Syndrome Non-Official Checklist
To access professionals for an ASD assessment, visit your GP. Organise a Mental Health Plan and an Enhanced Primary Care Plan. These give you Medicare funded visits to a psychologist and other health professionals. In Australia a dual diagnostic assessment must be done. This means you need a psychologist and a speech therapist together, or a paediatrician and a psychologist. The assessment process will cost you around $900 with around $300 back through Medicare. Alternatively, you can also go on the public health waiting list and get it done for free at the major teaching hospitals. You will be looking at a 12+months waiting list. Suckage.
Visit your state's Autism Agency for a full list of accredited psychologists and speech therapists who are approved to diagnose ASD.
Post diagnosis. What do we do now?
(Applicable to Australia only)
Visit Autism Awareness who have resources on everything related to having a child with Autism, including a great directory of other organisations.
Positive Partnerships is a wonderful program run by the australian government, but their information is applicable to all. They provide FREE training for families and carers and the workshops are also available online free of charge. When I went to their workshop I learned a so much it made my head spin and confirmed what I had intuitively known about F-Man all along. There is a large amount of information on their site including Fact Sheets.
Register with one of these Autism Support Organisations:
They provide clients with access to services, in-school supports, ipads, social groups for children and advocacy.
Autism Queensland Inc.
Autism Victoria trading as Amaze
Autism Association of WA
Apply for financial assistance (Australia):
Helping Children With Autism Package
Early Intervention Services
Income support available for Carers.
Register with a Carer's Support Agency:
Join an online support group:
Facebook pages and groups for parents with ASD kids
Shop for therapy resources:
If your child is at school, consider a Individual (or Negotiated) Education Plan IEP/NEP:
(links to come soon)