Autism

Working together on outcomes.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social functioning. This impact varies widely on a spectrum that ranges from mild to severe.

A child’s ASD diagnosis may trigger a range of emotions for parents and family, including shock, loss, and disbelief, or even relief and understanding. While there is no cure for disorders on the Autism Spectrum, early intervention, supportive therapies, and family counselling can make a huge difference to the lives of children with ASD as well their parents.

Our multidisciplinary team have extensive expertise in working with children with ASD as well as their families. We offer supports to assist your child’s educational, communication and developmental needs. Our evidence-based techniques and interventions will help your child better manage their symptoms and live life to their highest potential.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

ASD is a condition related to brain development. While people with ASD share traits related to social communication, repetitive behaviours and sensory issues, the symptoms and their severity are diverse and vary enormously between individuals.

As Dr Stephen Shore (Autism advocate and International speaker) who has autism himself, aptly points out;

“If you’ve seen one person with autism, you’ve seen one person with autism.”

What are the Symptoms of Autism

Autism begins in early childhood. Many children display symptoms within their first year. However, they may also emerge between 18 and 24 months, even after a child appears to develop normally during their first year.

Children with ASD are likely to exhibit unique patterns of behaviour. Some learn quickly and have normal to high intelligence, yet have difficulty communicating and adjusting to social situations. Other ASD children may have trouble learning and be of lower-than-normal intelligence.

Some common ASD behaviours and signs are:

Fails to respond when you call their name or appears not to hear you at times.

Prefers their own company, resists cuddles and retreats into their own world.

Lacks facial expression and doesn’t make eye contact.

Doesn’t speak or has delays when learning to talk.

Can’t start a conversation or keep one going.

Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions.

Appears unaware of other people’s emotions and is unable to express their own.

Inappropriate social interactions.

Prefers to stick to a “routine” and is anxious or has a tantrum if it is changed.

Has difficulty interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions or tone of voice.

Difficulty regulating emotions.

Rigid thinking.

What are the Causes of ASD?

The number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder is increasing. However, experts largely believe that this is because of a combination of better means of detecting ASD, and earlier ASD screenings and interventions. There is no single known cause of ASD, but it is largely considered to be more genetic than environmental.

Genetic

Genes appear to play a part in the emergence of ASD. For example, genetic disorders such as Rett syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome, have been associated with ASD. Certain genetic changes (mutations) can also be inherited or occur spontaneously. These factors may increase the chance of ASD occurring in children.

Environmental

Extensive research has been conducted regarding the role that environmental factors play in the formation of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The environmental factors studied so far include (but are not limited to) medications, pregnancy complications, vaccines, and air pollutants. So far, despite extensive research, there has been no definitive link established between ASD and any of the aforementioned factors.

Other risk factors for Autism include:

  • Your child’s sex—boys are four times as likely to develop the disorder than girls.
  • Family history—there is an increased risk of having a child with the disorder if there is already a child with the family with ASD.
  • Other medical conditions—a higher-than-normal risk of ASD is associated with other disorders including Fragile X, an inherited disorder that causes intellectual problems; Rett syndrome, a genetic condition that mainly occurs in girls which causes slowing of head growth and intellectual disability; and Tuberous Sclerosis whereby benign tumours develop in the brain.
  • Extremely premature babies—babies born before 26 weeks may have a greater risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Parents’ age—although more research is required, there may be a link between older parents and children with ASD.

How We Can Help

Direct Focus Solutions is determined and focused on providing effective therapies and interventions for children with ASD behaviours. One of our strategies is to build their self-confidence and allow them to express themselves through learning and imaginative play. Our holistic, multidisciplinary approach to ASD therapy incorporates different disciplines including psychology, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and even neurofeedback in some instances. We also implement educational strategies to enhance children’s reading, writing and maths skills, and work with them at a pace appropriate to their skill level.

Our expert team of specialists offer a variety of effective Autism therapy strategies and supports in order to promote the best possible futures for people with ASD.

Call us to arrange an appointment at one of our offices in Sydney or the Illawarra. For your convenience we also offer Telehealth consultations, which may be more suitable for your current circumstances.

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy; I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Art Williams

Contact Us

Look forward to a better life without addictions and get in touch with us. Find out how we can help and book an appointment at one of our of clinics in Sydney or the Illawarra. Alternatively, book a Telehealth appointment where you can meet our professionals remotely from the comfort of your own home.

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