‘You don’t look autistic!’ What not to say if someone discloses they are autistic

By bobb | Sat, 18/2/2023 - 11:44

When Ashleigh Keating worked as a primary school teachers’ aide, she would very rarely tell the teachers she supported she was autistic, even though her students often had the same disability.

Her reluctance was based on widespread ignorance and stigma around autism. She observed teachers did not have high expectations of autistic students, bad behaviour was blamed on autism and if a staff member was a “little bit of an interesting character”, it was assumed they must be autistic.

Kids with autism don't need to be cured, guidelines say

By bobb | Sat, 18/2/2023 - 11:35

Children with autism should have their neurodiversity embraced rather than it being seen as something that must be cured, new national guidelines say.

The federal government on Thursday released Australia's first national practice guidelines to promote the education, participation and wellbeing of autistic children and their families.

The guidelines feature 84 recommendations for practitioners to ensure there is effective and consistent support available to children up to the age of 12.

AO for Woodend’s Professor Tonge

By bobb | Fri, 10/2/2023 - 16:25

Bruce Tonge’s ground-breaking work in child psychiatry over five decades has focused on autism spectrum disorders and behavioural and emotional disturbance in children with intellectual disability.

The Woodend-based Emeritus Professor has been named an Officer of the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day Honours in acknowledgement of his service to research and education in this field.

Prof Tonge’s career began in 1970 as a young graduate of medicine at Monash University, when he first developed a keen interest in both paediatrics and psychiatry.

Wondering about ADHD, autism and your child’s development? What to know about getting a neurodevelopmental assessment

By bobb | Wed, 8/2/2023 - 08:03

Adam Guastella, University of Sydney; Kelsie Boulton, University of Sydney, and Natalie Silove, University of Sydney

With childcare and schools starting the new year, parents might be anxiously wondering how their child will adapt in a new learning environment. Some parents may be concerned about their child’s development or that they need specialised support.

One in five children have a developmental vulnerability when they start school. And one in ten will meet criteria for a neurodevelopmental condition, such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Average wait time for autism assessments in children is over 3 years

By bobb | Wed, 8/2/2023 - 07:48

New research has revealed that children wait 3.5 years on average for neurodevelopment assessments.

The largest study of needs of families requesting neurodevelopment assessments found that the average time for families waiting on a completed assessment for their children was 3.5 years in public services. This wait time started from when parents first noticed a concern to when they received a comprehensive assessment.